This research covers a life time by the author in the behaviour of women in courting situations.

Early on he found the behaviour of girls baffling, as many men do. But trained as a scientist and in the methods of research, with subsequent experience in many other fields, he set about using these to unravel girls' behaviour.

Encounters & affairs were documented. Gradually distinct patterns emerged. As time went on, with increasing number of encounters and affairs, the number of new patterns reduced - towards a discrete set.

It suggested that most women, when placed in a similar courting situation, behave in a similar way. Perhaps some girls react more extremely than others (which may significantly affect the outcome of the relationship) - others may be more relaxed - but the behavioural patterns are similar.

The changing culture has not made much difference to the behavioural patterns described in the following pages. Some may have softened a little - but others have hardened.

The discrete set which emerges gives conclusions of sufficient importance for publication. Then with modern communication methods via the Internet we can see if readers can add data. At the present time we have probably documented most, and probably the main Syndromes.

We are not setting out here to describe why girls behave as they do, only how they behave in a given set of circumstances. The second study mentioned in the Preface may throw some light on this. The universality of these behaviours may well suggest that it is programmed into their make-up (some aspects of which will be explored in the second study).

We are not attempting the converse, namely the behaviour of men in courting situations, except when it occurs in our material. We do not deny this may be an equally important field of study. We do however give some suggestions, where relevant, as to what a man might do if he encounters a particular Syndrome "in the field".


The rules and rituals of courtship are very strict and complicated in all species. Without these rituals being followed, the sexes will not get together. This fact can be seen by observing a specie of animals which have been separated and undergone separate development over a long period of time. Although they may be biologically capable of reproduction, over many generations their courting rituals have gradually changed. If such groups meet up again, they don't understand each other's rituals, and do not get together sexually.

These courting rituals in man are equally elaborate and strict. The most obvious is the rule in our society that the man must ask the girl for a date. The advent of women's lib has done nothing yet to change it - indeed it may be stronger now than several decades ago. The girl may do other things - she may look at a man, she may occasionally smile at him, if she knows him already she may make conversation. But she won't go any further. Later on in the relationship she may take most of the initiatives - in sex or suggesting living together or marriage. This illustrates an important concept which will be discussed later - the rule of what is allowable or expected changes dramatically as the relationship develops. The man's initial offer can only be a date. If he suggests or tries something which would only occur in an affair which is weeks old the relationship may go no further. Whereas weeks into an affair the girl may well initiate such a thing if it is not already occurring.

Occasionally it may happen that two people's perception of where they have got to in their relationship differ markedly - and thus the behaviour of one is inappropriate to the other - and like our animals above they go no further.

We cannot minutely describe the rules of courtship. They will vary between different cultures - countries, and different strata in society. Much of the world still exists in the primitive state that we in UK emerged as recently as a couple of hundred years ago - that people marry who the parents decide - or earlier still by the rules of the tribe. There is virtually no courtship in these societies. We see the conflict when such immigrants come into countries like the UK and their children want to find their own mates - as they see other young people doing. In this section we will summaries the features of the boy - girl interaction in the form of the Catastrophe Theory, as described by Stewart (Seven elementary catastrophes, New Scientist Vol 68, p447, November 1975).

This theory has been developed in recent years as a way of looking at situations in which there is a sudden change. A bridge collapses when the load gets too much is an example. Or the proverbial straw which breaks the camel's back. There is such a sudden change in courtship, show in the diagram. Go to the Catastrophe Model