Magazine article about online dating
Once upon a time, wealthy families considered matrimonies akin to mergers; they were coldhearted business opportunities to expand a family’s financial power.
Even in the late 19th century, marriage was more practicality than rom-com, whereas today’s daters are looking for nothing less than a human Swiss Army knife of self-actualization.
In sociology-speak, our relationships were “mediated.” In human-speak, your wingman was your dad.
Derek Thompson: The future of the city is childless But dating has changed more in the past two decades than in the previous 2,000 years, thanks to the explosion of matchmaking sites such as Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble.
They were lamentations about the spiritual bankruptcy of modern love.
Bryan Scott Anderson, for example, suggested that the rise of online dating “may be an illustration of heightened isolation and a diminished sense of belonging within communities.”It is true, as Rosenfeld’s data show, that online dating has freed young adults from the limitations and biases of their hometowns.
In almost any other period, this project would have been an excruciating bore.
That’s because for centuries, most couples met the same way: They relied on their families and friends to set them up.
For gay couples, the figure soared to nearly 70 percent.
My family story also serves as a brief history of romance. But they’re supplanting the role of matchmaker once held by friends and family.
For the past 10 years, the Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld has been compiling data on how couples meet.
With the declining influence of friends and family and most other social institutions, more single people today are on their own, having set up shop at a digital bazaar where one’s appearance, interestingness, quick humor, lighthearted banter, sex appeal, photo selection—one’s is submitted for 24/7 evaluation before an audience of distracted or cruel strangers, whose distraction and cruelty might be related to the fact that they are also undergoing the same anxious appraisal.
Read: A psychologist’s guide to online dating This is the part where most writers name-drop the “paradox of choice”—a dubious finding from the annals of behavioral psychology, which claims that decision makers are always paralyzed when faced with an abundance of options for jam, or hot sauce, or future husbands.