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Dating is a 20th-century concept, and although gentlemen paid the bills when courtship first went out on the town, ladies still had the urge — or the sense of fairness, or the desire to be encouraging — to be hospitable.Reciprocation took the form of such offerings as home-cooked meals, an aunt’s unused theater tickets and hand-knit argyle socks.There was no dating in the 18th century, or, for that matter, in the 19th.Respectable ladies were courted by gentleman who paid calls on them at home, which meant that the ladies’ parents bore the expense of whatever refreshments were needed to keep them at the task.Dear Miss Manners: I would like to know the correct way to entertain the opposite sex when the woman insists on being a “friend” and not a “date.” A woman who became a widow two years ago, and evidently is still in mourning, does not want to use the term “dating,” so she would like to go for meals with me but feels I should pay the entire check.I told her that as she insists on our being friends and not dating, that the situation changes and that she should split the check with me. And, as a friend, I wouldn’t even get a good night kiss since I wouldn’t be considered her date. Gentle Reader: You had Miss Manners on your side until the good night kiss.While I enjoyed reading your profile, I do not see us as a couple. I think it’s very rude to ignore someone’s personal communication to you.Jane Austen would be aghast at the behavior of her gender in the 21st century! Could you be confusing her with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who allows no room for context when she issues directives?
Online solicitations, where no response need be made if there is no interest, are equivalent to the latter.
Miss Manners leaves it to you to explain this to your friend, only asking that you omit the part about kisses.
Dear Miss Manners: When did it become rude to visit without calling first?
Some (Miss Manners can hardly refer to them as gentlemen) had other ideas of how ladies could reciprocate.
Possibly this was because they already had enough socks.
However, it smacked of the ugly idea that what we used to call ladies’ favors could be bought for the price of a meal.