Rejection signaling -- An empirical
Recent ethological studies of nonlinguistic communication in courtship have begun to establish that a nonverbal signaling system may exist and be available to persons using facial expressions and gestures for negotiating sexual relationships (Birdwhistell 1970; Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1971; Givens 1978; Kendon 1975; Lockard and Adams 1980; Moore 1985; Morris 1971; Perper 1985) much as there is signaling between members of the opposite sex in other species. Indeed, despite verbal fluency, even in humans, courtship has been characterized by many experts as largely nonverbal (Birdwhistell 1970; Davis 1971; Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1971; Mehrabian 1972). In this regard, Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1971) used a camera with a distorted viewfinder to document flirting behavior in people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Givens (1978) described four cases of courtship behavior observed by him to document, in unacquainted adults, five phases of courtship: attention, recognition, interaction, sexual arousal, and resolution. Perper (1985) also has conceptualized courtship as a series of phases involving the active participation of both partners through approach, turn, first touch, and the steady development of body synchronization. He made note, however, of the fact that it was the woman's behavior that was more likely to usher in the next stage. Similarly, when Kendon (1975) filmed a kissing couple seated on a park bench he found that the woman's behavior, particularly her facial expressions, functioned as a regulator, modulating the behavior of her partner. Cary (1976) also has shown that the woman's behavior is important in initiating conversation between strangers. Both in laboratory settings and in singles' bars, conversation was initiated only after the woman glanced at the man. And Perper (1985) discovered in his field studies of couples in singles' bars that the woman was responsible for courtship initiation approximately seventy percent of the time. These findings echo data compiled on female selectivity in a variety of other species, including elephant seals (LeBoeuf and Peterson 1969; Bertram 1975), mice (McClearn and Defries 1973), fish (Weber and Weber 1975), rats (Doty 1974), gorillas (Nadler 1975) monkeys (Beach 1976), birds (Selander 1972; Wiley 1973; Williams 1975), and a few ungulates (Beuchner and Schloeth 1965; Leuthold 1966). Dominance by females in the selection process of a mating partner commonly has been ascribed to the legacy of anisogamy in that errors in mate selection are generally more expensive to females than to males (Trivers 1972). Therefore, the females of a wide variety of species, including humans, appear to assess the quality of potential suitors with respect to their inherited attributes and acquired resources. In some species, such as elephant seals, inherited attributes are highly desired in the pursuit of a dominant son (LeBouef 1974), whereas, in others, such as birds, high-quality territory control is important for the successful rearing of offspring dependent on scarce food resources (Barash 1976). Turning to humans, Heather Remoff (1984) found, through interviews, that women expressed a preference for partners who provided both emotional and financial security, factors she termed parental investment potential and resource accrual ability, respectively. Similarly, Daly and Wilson (1978) concluded from cross-cultural data that a man's financial status was an important determinant of his mating success. More recently, Buss (1989) found in a study of 10,047 individuals from 37 cultures located on 6 continents and 5 islands that men expressed a greater desire than women for young and physically attractive mates whereas women preferred partners who were economically advantaged. If women are, indeed, more responsible for the initiation of courtship interactions in their quest for...