Entries in dating scripts (5)


The Sadie Hawkins Effect: Gender Role-Reversals in Dating

Imagine that a guy and a girl are at a party, and one approaches the other and strikes up a conversation. Chances are that when you envisioned this scenario, you assumed it was the guy who approached the girl. That’s because we have what psychologists call behavioral scripts, or a sequence of events that we typically expect to occur in social situations. In most cultures, expectations or norms about male and female dating behaviors (e.g., guy approaches girl) are so entrenched that there are special days or dances where the script is flipped. On Sadie Hawkins Day (traditionally observed in early November) or at a Sadie Hawkins Dance, women have the opportunity to break social conventions by asking men out on a date or to a dance. To study dating behaviors like this, researchers have used the somewhat unique experience of speed dating.

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Talk is Cheap, and He Was Too

A guy recently asked me to split the dinner check with him. It was our first date. I immediately wanted to yell “Cheapskate!!” at the top of my lungs, grab my purse and run. How could I have that reaction, considering that I am a strong, independent woman? I was so upset with myself. It might help to review the event in greater detail to better understand my reactions.

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Direct is Best: Forget About Playing Hard to Get

Traditional flirting strategy tells us that a woman attracts a man’s attention by impersonating an immovable object and smiling in his direction. Smiling is good. Smiling is an approachability signal that beckons “come hither”1 to the object of our desires and is perceived as being attractive.2 Unsurprisingly, women smile more when interacting with a man they find attractive.3 While she displays her expensive dentistry, what is his modus operandi? Again, traditional flirting strategy would dictate that he saunters over to her and says, “You must be a parking ticket, because you’ve got fine written all over you” But, do men and women have such different ways to show interest and attraction?

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Women: Take Control and Get a Date

Men often take a more active role than do women in initiating heterosexual relationships, and this difference may reflect a broader difference in how much control men and women feel they generally have in life. When women recall a recent past event they felt they had control over, they report increased intentions to initiate dates to a level that equals men’s typical relationship initiation intentions. Perceiving control is an equalizer when it comes to dating. 


MacGregor, J. C. D., & Cavallo, J. V. (2011). Breaking the rules: Personal control increases women’s direct relationship initiation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28, 848-867.


The Third Date Rule: Fact or Fiction?

“This is our third date, and we both know what that means.”

“We do?”


On a classic episode of The Big Bang Theory, Howard learns about the third date rule – the idea that the third date is the “sex date,” the date when it is deemed appropriate for a new couple to have sex. Is this a dating rule that people take to heart (or to bed) or is it just another urban dating myth? 

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