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Certainly, the particulars of the encounter seemed perfectly selected to underline the limits of contemporary patriarchy’s ability to mystify dating along the usual idealized bourgeois lines.The emasculating presence of “three babies” points to an already-existing burden of potentially precarious social-reproductive work on side.At the same time, where love is concerned, money is supposed to be ‘no object.’ Given that money is finite, when love has failed to germinate by the end of a date, the politics of the ‘bill’, ‘tab’ or ‘check’ becomes a freighted matter. Reluctance on the part of the masculine figure to shoulder it – given the endurance of patriarchal power in society – communicates a low assessment of his interlocutor’s value.

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One cannot escape this symbolic grammar, on a first date, simply by willing it away.

The possibility of not being deemed worth ‘buying into’ disproportionately affects women, well outside of the bounds of the date itself.

And the repercussions of this core economic dynamic in dating are powerful.

Donning high heels can express the very opposite of anxiety, but the point is I don’t think I’ve seennot wearing high heels.

Thanks to the banal tyranny of the couple form, commodities that mediate an encounter?

I do not have the available data on this ‘in real life,’ but from my experience of the show it seems it is never the straight women, who almost unanimously state – in interviews backstage – that they expect a man who “knows how to be a gentleman,” which is to say, who pays the bill.The set venue, his magic laboratory, is his brokership, an exclusive trading floor.Under the influence of his twinkling Gallic smile, contenders consent to expose their blushing faces, courtship strategies, unconscious class markers, table manners, and nervous tics to our gaze on a blind date on national television.In the final interview – when asked side-by-side if they “want to see each other again” – Elle generously offered: “we’ll definitely see each other again as friends.” To this, Marc said “maybe.” He called Elle “high maintenance,” and then, as she choked him awkwardly from the side in a reconciliatory hug he did not want, he repeated “hard work …hard work.” referred to the incident as “billgate.” Commentators bemoaned how a male working-class single father of three had been squeezed dry by some unashamed party-girl.Whether or not the majority of the men have learned about this criterion of success or failure from first watching That said, departures from this script aren’t uncommon and can sometimes elicit violent backlash from other men.

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