In many countries it is expected that a man should ask a woman on a date. But in some other countries (Scandinavia, or the Wodaabe tribe in Africa) it seems to be the other way round (or at least the other way round is acceptable.)

I have noticed that when alcohol is involved women are more likely to approach men (apparently alcohol increases the level of testosterone in women).

Thus psychologically speaking, is this a cultural norm or something innate.

Also, mathematically speaking, it seems that it is better that only one gender does the asking. At least most mathematical models assume this. But is this decided biologically or culturally?

(And are there animals that differ in this regard?)

  • $\begingroup$ I think it is more of a cultural thing but it is an interesting question asking if there is a possible reason for the culture. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Jul 25 '18 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ It is certainly not "the other way" in Scandinavia. Of course, it is acceptable for women to ask men on dates, but it is not something that happens more commonly than men asking women, or even in equal frequency. I doubt that it really is "the other way" in any human culture that has ever survived (Although I'm open to being convinced). Saying something is due to "culture" is very not explanatory, because then the question follows: why did this culture arise? The existence of cultures need explanations themselves. $\endgroup$ – Eff Jul 26 '18 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ From an evolutionary psychologist perspective the prediction is obvious: this would be expected to be partly biological in origin. The short answer would be the differences in parental investment. Given that human females have an extreme investment associated with pregnancy and further raising the child until it is no longer helpless. It would therefore be expected that it's moreso the male's job to woo the female than the other way around (although both ways can coexist). See Darwinian sex roles confirmed across animal kingdom. $\endgroup$ – Eff Jul 26 '18 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Eff But in almost every culture women have longer hair. But this is surely a cultural thing as there are a few cultures where men have longer hair. There doesn't seem to be a biological rule for this. But it does help if men look different to women. $\endgroup$ – zooby Jul 27 '18 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ @zooby The difference between your hair example is that you said "almost every culture." Whereas I don't know of any very convincing case that there exists any culture where women do the majority of initial pursuing. But the point is that this is just one piece of evidence, you can look at the rest of the evidence if you wish. It is also what would a priori be predicted from an evolutionary model, mainly due to differences in parental investment. I don't know what a "biological rule" is. As a question this is not answerable, because there is no consensus on the matter. $\endgroup$ – Eff Jul 27 '18 at 7:03

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