Hospitality

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Women more often invite other people to dinner than men do, and are

invited more frequently by others as well. The same pattern applies to

offering a stay in one’s house and staying with others oneself: women

offer and receive more of this type of hospitality than men. Offering

one’s house to other people temporarily is for most people a matter of

course, if enough space is available. With dinners this is different. Some

dinners are merely serving sociable ends by offering the opportunity for

the exchange of friendly feelings, or moral or practical support to other

people. On other occasions, however, feelings of being obliged to others

prevail: many dinners serve to keep family or friendship ties alive, or to

fulfill one’s duty to reciprocate.Hospitality, then, is not a purely altruistic

giving activity. Nothing is more obliging than being invited to dinner. It

is therefore very unlikely that the cycle of gift and return gift is closed

after one round.