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  • I have had zero positive experiences.

  • I go to the bathroom and I pull out my phone,

  • and he has texted me,

  • “I hope you're enjoying your peecess.”

  • It may seem like there couldn't be a worse time to be alive and single.

  • And then texted me asking me if he could come home with me.

  • Just a slew of, like, poor dates, and, like, mediocre dates, and s***ty dates.

  • But the truth is that for as long as it's been around, dating has always sucked.

  • It's the late 1800s.

  • These are the presidents.

  • This is how people dress.

  • This is the music they listen to.

  • And this is how single people get together.

  • I see you've already chosen your corner.

  • Better known ascalling,” it's the predominant mode of courtship among the middle class.

  • The basic setup of calling was that a woman would have hours when she was receiving callers

  • at home.

  • This is Moira Weigel.

  • I'm a junior fellow at Harvard University and the author of a book called Labor of Love:

  • The Invention of Dating.

  • The basic script is that a man shows up at your house,

  • asks whether you will see him,

  • and then you sit together in a parlor and sort of spend time together,

  • with either direct or sort of from-the-next-room family supervision.

  • Sounds super hot.

  • At the time, 75% of Americans lived in small towns or on farms.

  • If you think meeting someone at a bar is tough,

  • try finding a spouse in a town where you'd only encounter

  • a handful of potential partners in your lifetime.

  • And while it may seem like the way we date is dictated by things like love and affection,

  • it was actually driven by something far less romantic:

  • In America in the 1880s, 1890s, you have these floods of migration both from the countryside

  • to the city

  • and from other countries to the United States.

  • As the country industrializes, urban populations explode.

  • The population of New York increases seven times between 1850 and 1900,

  • and Philadelphia's goes up 12 times.

  • You only have people going out into public spaces and meeting and mixing in this way

  • that we call dating

  • once you have lots of young people moving to cities

  • and especially women entering the paid workforce.

  • Many women step outside their homes to work for the first time,

  • and that gives them exposure to potential suitors in a way they never had before.

  • Courtship shifted from something that happened in private, tea and supervised small talk

  • in your home,

  • to activities that happened in public:

  • going to restaurants, movies, and amusement parks.

  • From that point on, in order to meet somebody, you had to spend money,

  • and dating became entangled with the economy.

  • After World War II, the American economy flourished.

  • Between 1940 and 1960, the GDP soared from $200 billion to $500 billion.

  • The economic boom after World War II in the United States means that young people have

  • much more disposable income than they've ever had.

  • By 1956, there were 13 million teens with an average income of $10.55 per week.

  • That's the same amount of disposable income an entire family had 15 years prior.

  • And they wanted to spend it.

  • Unlike previous generations that were expected to help support their families,

  • this new generation had time for leisure and recreation.

  • This consumer-driven period was about affluence,

  • and the dating scene closely reflected that economic prosperity:

  • shiny new cars, rock 'n' roll, drive-in movie theatersand don't forget about

  • going steady.

  • There was no looking back after that ...

  • a disposable income and access to technology democratized dating for decades to come.

  • We're riding on the internet, cyberspace set free, hello, virtual reality.

  • Access to the internet meant access to more people.

  • From 1995 to 2005, the number of internet users worldwide increased from 16 million

  • to almost 1 billion.

  • As with every previous era of dating history,

  • there's sort of this new economic sphere, and romance and flirtation becomes part of

  • how it gets commercialized.

  • So chat rooms about sex or the opportunity to flirt with people online is a big part

  • of what's appealing about AOL.

  • By 1999, there were already 2,500 dating websites.

  • But the big moment came around 2010, when mobile phones started changing the way people

  • connect.

  • Because in the '90s, I think there's still this sense that the internet is sort of, you

  • know, it's cyberspace.

  • It's this other universe that lives in your desktop and that you go to sometimes and chat

  • with a stranger.

  • Once everyone is carrying a computer on their person at almost all times and our physical

  • and digital lives are interwoven, that really changes the dynamics.

  • It's no surprise that dating piggybacked on this explosive growth.

  • Dating apps, dating apps, dating apps.

  • According to a recent survey, 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 15% of American adults

  • use dating apps.

  • Grindr launched in 2009, Tinder in 2012, and now there are hundreds of dating apps to choose from.

  • So meeting new people has never been easier.

  • But does that make us any happier?

  • Dating is kind of a necessary evil.

  • The thing about online dating is that you don't trust anyone.

  • You get to pin your top hate or like, and this guyhates abstinence.”

  • Every new technology, every new kind of social practice, inspires anxiety

  • about how folks are meeting and pairing up.

  • So dating still kind of sucks.

  • But that's nothing new.

  • My name's Tian, I'm gonna be 25.

  • I'm looking for someone who...

  • comes from a long line of European nobility.

  • Absolutely, that is critical for me.

  • Someone whose family has land holdings

  • across, ideally, the south of France.

  • And will take me vacationing in their summer castle.

  • I'm interested in going to bed early, to wake up even earlier.

I have had zero positive experiences.

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B1 US Vox dating dating apps apps disposable income

How the economy shapes our love lives

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    Samuel posted on 2018/12/05
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