Dating Now Vs. The ’90s: A Blog Inspired by the Buzzfeed Video of the Same Name

Dating Now Vs. The ’90s.

 

I am that guy in the video, still hopelessly stuck in the ’90s and pining for that lost age before the internet and texting. Whether you accept it or not, the rapid and unprecedented explosion of high-tech innovation and market saturation has fundamentally changed the way we date and meet new people–romantic or otherwise. The ’90s were a doorway, if you will, between the traditional ways we had courted for centuries, and a brand new, fast and easy way to practically custom-order romance in lives filled with commitments, but short on time. In the Buzzfeed video, Dating Now Vs. The ’90s, a woman and man debate the merits and shortcomings of dating in the ’90s vs. today. One subtle idea that the video raises is that now, more than ever, we slavishly adhere to the silly notion that progress has delivered us into an age of skills and solutions unquestionably superior to everything that came before. Perhaps it is human nature to render the accomplishments of the past as quaint and/or something always to be improved upon. We must be careful not confuse the word ‘easy’ with ‘better’ or ‘faster’ with ‘successful.’ We must frankly evaluate the tools we inherit, and recognize when not to reinvent the wheel or throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Was dating in the ’90s better or worse than today? Does it have to be either or? For the purposes of this essay, my aim is to probe both sides of the debate, and draw conclusions based on how the scale tips and favors.

I contend that the ’90s were an instrumental transitional decade for the world–America, in particular–and that during these years, dating began to change some, while mostly staying the same. It was a decade on the cusp of something big, and thus, it had little responsibility to the decade before it, and could only wait anxiously for what was to come after. During the ’90s, there was a certain frivolity and abandon that changed dating from its more traditional past, while still holding onto much of its old-fashioned charm. At the very least, people had to use more traditional means to meet someone–a mutual friend referral, the bar scene, shared activities, academic flirtations, work affairs, etc. What dating sites there were were organized by phone, or in pre-arranged singles events. There were matchmaking services that tried to match personalities based on likes and dislikes, but there was nothing as nuanced and precise as an eHarmony, for instance. Finding love was a lot more analog and chemical, rather than digital and algorithmic. This all changed when the Digital Age arrived, and had no problem easily brushing aside the slight and quaint angst of the ’90s–a decade who anxiously sowed the seeds of a technological new world order, while being completely unprepared for how quickly they would be forgotten, and how thoroughly irrelevant those Grunge-filled years would be compared to the future of a second and more far-reaching Industrial Revolution. The world changed in an instant.

Now I’m the first to admit that I sometimes have an uneasy feeling about the ubiquitous role of technology in our lives, and am quick to observe the negative consequences it may have, despite its many obvious virtues. But we all know those, right? I don’t have to write an essay about how cool it is that I can send a text with directions to my house, rather than call someone from my old-fashioned landline to their old fashioned landline, and thus eliminate a two-minute conversation about nothing more than directions. We all know the innovative miracles we hold, touch, hear, and see everyday of our relatively new digital world. We know that, whereas I waste everybody’s time trying to raise questions and start conversations about what we can do to safeguard ourselves and our children from the potential harms and pitfalls inevitable in any new technology. Think about it: for the first time in history, we have an unprecedented amount of processing power in our hands, with little to no guidance on how to use it morally, responsibly, peacefully, altruistically, harmlessly, etc.  We have the divine at our fingertips–whether you belief in God or not, you can at least follow my metaphor–and with such power, we can actually (literally) give life or take it, depending on the device. I may sound hyperbolic, but honestly think about the myriad uses of your phone–to call, text, save information, take pictures, take video, surf the internet, do online banking, write reviews, etc, etc. All those things can be used for great good, neither good nor bad (most of life), or dastardly deeds like bringing down world banks and committing fraud, while taking a video of a car wreck and capturing a burning baby inside to post on YouTube later. Okay, that was meant to be dramatic, but you get my point. These are loaded weapons we all are carrying, and when we bring them into our dating lives, we always run the risk of having our technology unintentionally work against us, and even burn us quite sorely.  We just need to think about the role of a third and objective computer or digital program being a mediator / facilitator between singles, and how much we want a mechanical and inorganic presence to figure into the most intimate and organic of all human rituals: love. Love is already a fickle arena, and one might find technology adds a whole new set of unforeseen complications and difficulties. Then again, so does the barbaric and often fruitless mating ritual performed at bars and clubs every night, involving poorly worded and roughly uttered pick-up lines and come-ons. Does anyone really expect to meet their future spouse in a place like that, and in such a crude manner? Obviously they (we) do. That’s probably why half of us are there.  Although, I suppose we dream of something a little more sophisticated — we probably all have dreams of James Bond chatting us up with his urbane wit and roguish good looks, and buying us martinis til our head spins. I mean, duh.  I’m not even gay, but I have some variation of that dream myself. Shaken, not stirred, thank you very much. Haha.

Yet somehow, with all these devices to help us today,  I still got more play in the ’90s than I ever did since. Even taking into consideration all our poor choices and low standards during the Grunge Age (Haha!), there was still something…dare I say ‘better’….at least more organic, that my personality craves and thrives on still today. I wonder at the ubiquity of technology in dating today. Where does the device stop, and we begin? Are we in a post-talking and meeting naturally age? We’re obviously not going to turn back the hands of time, and nor should we. We are living in an age of great promise and technological wizardry, which naturally renders the past quaint and obsolete, as the automobile did the horse.

There is nothing wrong with using our instruments to help us in just another area of our lives: romance. However, I wonder if it’s possible for technology play a supplemental role or even a significant one, while not being the primary instrument of connection. This has always been the root of my dilemma. Can we use our tech safely, efficiently, and smartly, in a way that enhances and aids our lives, without supplanting the human part of the equation? We must always tend the store, and be vigilant that our servants and instruments of ease and convenience don’t become our masters, and enslave us. Mentally, of course. Our increasing dependence on them does put us at risk of becoming enfeebled and unable to endure pain, loss, failure, or defeat. It seems like technology has a way or bringing people together, while simultaneously dividing them apart. We are closer, but perhaps understand each other less. When we are in physical proximity of a person, we have a greater degree of success at judging and evaluating a person based on their body language, voice, actions, etc. We are globally closer, but in some ways, personally further away. People are encouraged to intermingle and find topics and groups of interest, and are often drawn in by the safety and connection engendered by similar interests and like-mindedness. But we must always be careful that we don’t allow ourselves to be duped and fooled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Of course, the Internet is full of wolves. If only this gift we all received had come with a guide book, disclaimer, or preferably, directions. We are set adrift in the Wild West of our day, and it is an often rough and tumble lawless place, where it often seems like the best and brightest of us are scammed and bamboozled by every fifth person we encounter. Or personality, rather. There are no people on the internet, but personas, avatars, and carefully constructed constructs. Now everyone knows that even the Old West had swindlers and flimflammers, who were always looking to scam another sucker. The Internet simply has a more sophisticated version. And sadly, you can’t see these ones. The Internet Dating Industry has probably satisfied over half of its subscribers. It’s a multi-billion dollar business, so someone’s getting happy (while most are getting sad, of course). I’m not suggesting that the dating industry is a racket or loaded dice game. I think they probably want to find you a match. Of course, then they lose a customer. But your happiness spreads to everyone you know, and you are suddenly Match.com’s new ad campaign. Ten new customers. It’s an algorithm, but it ain’t rocket science. These sites know how to match people, because they have complex processors and data bases able to process innumerable scraps of data about you and everyone else on the site (and probably the information of other non-members, which they’ve bought off a third party)  They are in the science of matchmaking. But humans are well-equipped with their own built-in gadgetry. The human pheromone is still not fully understood, but that only seems appropriate, given its ineffable and wily charms and potency. This clever, but elusive foe, has been adding and canceling out potential mates for…well…let’s just say tens of thousands of years. We are made of it, and secrete it, and in an ideal world, we’ll expose each other to it, in person. Naturally, we still have pheromones as we type away at our computers, but part of me can’t help but think that the first time I meet my next partner, there is something chemical in, as Star Trek would say, ‘First Contact.’ Are we losing the potency of naturally produced chemicals intended to work as a cocktail in conjunction with those we first meet? For that matter, perhaps everybody we meet is subject to our love litmus test, regardless of whether they are a suitable or desirable mate. Therefore, I cannot help but wonder whether First Contact made over the Internet is stronger, weaker, or about the same as a more organic face-to-face encounter. I don’t know the answer to that. It’s probably unquantifiable. However, it does seem like something is lost when a potential couple plays this back and forth messaging, in which they divulge everything (see: as much as they’re comfortable with) about themselves, but have only laid eyes on probably outdated pictures of their amour potentiel. Now, in full disclosure, I have dated online and even met an ex-girlfriend through a dating website, but that only seems to make me more unsure of my feelings of their efficacy. To me, there does seem to be something inorganic, fake, hasty, shallow, deceptive, and simply ineffectual in pairing people together through algorithms and thinking that having enough mutual foods in common is going to somehow make us compatible. There’s simply something fundamentally unsound about pairing people based solely on a binary series of 1s and 0s. I am not suggesting that technical wizardry such as that, has no place in romance. I just wonder whether it should be a starting point. In the course of several weeks, we think we know everything about a date we’ve never even met, but we all understand that websites and screen names can only go so far, and the most important ingredient is the first date. Such rites of passage have always been nerve-wracking, and probably were from the dawn of time. I can easily picture a cave man on his very first date…terrified to meet Krag at a club, and then terrified to club her if it’s a love connection. First dates were no easier in the ’90s or any other previous decade, however, there was a kind of bare and exhilarating anticipation that can only come from a) meeting someone for the first time; b) essentially knowing nothing about the person across from you and a wealth of topics to explore; and c) the physical intoxication of pheromones, other libidinous chemicals, eye contact, body language, comportment, courtesy/chivalry, politeness, ability to communicate, etc. that we can only experience in person. There is something more charged, dynamic, and unknown in not having communicated by email for weeks, not having shared pictures and playlists, Yelp suggestions, and silly cat videos. Those are all wonderful little perks to being a human being in the 21st Century, but those are simply more 1s and 0s, and when added all together, even the aggregate doesn’t begin to define who we are, and how we carry ourselves as human beings. Sure, you can find that out in various dates that follow the digital foreplay, but it will never be that same spark that can only exist when you start to see a mate in the eyes across from you, or conversely count the minutes until you can politely (or not) creep away. In the ’90s and past decades, that often meant men paid for a lot of dinners that were either enthusiastically devoured, or left hardly touched. What I’m describing was often painful and undesirable by every stretch of the imagination, but the reward came in finding pearls where you weren’t even looking. Of course the destination was the most important goal, but it seemed that there was virtue and payoff in the journey there. The work and sometimes strife was a reward unto itself. Although I rarely abide by my own belief, I do think there is much benefit in how you get there, and the work you put in. Those turbulent and uncertain years of my late teens/early 20s were not always easy, but I’d like to think they built character and made me the person I am today. I cannot help but think that the ease and efficiency of online dating and all the devices we use to court each other (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc) are poor imitations of the beautiful complexity that is the human mating ritual. I know it’s a new method or take on an old theme, but there is something fundamentally different about this. Meeting a girl you’ve been set up with at the Sadie Hawkins Dance is A LOT different than sending naked pics of yourself, via Snapchat, to a guy you’ve just met online. For one thing, as my grandmother would have said, ‘Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?’ Indeed, we are all getting very candid glimpses of each other, but nobody knows anyone any more deeply or substantially. Are we all giving away the milk for free, without the experience and satisfaction of milking the cow ourselves? Okay, that was a mixed metaphor and a flagrantly unsubtle sexual innuendo. I apologize. You see…if you only knew me from my blog posts, you would falsely assume that I have nothing but dirty entendres and cheap laughs in my arsenal. In fact, I have many witty and high-brow bon mots, jests, rejoinders, jibes, and quips. All still dirty though. 😛

Apart from online business ventures, Internet dating is one of the most dangerous and deceptive areas of the internet. Should we not do it? No. I’m not suggesting that. I currently have dating profiles out there myself (with little success). Everyone today knows that the Internet is a place that can be fraught with danger. Parents know this better than anyone. I’m simply suggesting that we have to do double-duty, by not only looking out for deceptive and dangerous individuals in the dating world, but also understanding that even the best ones are only a flimsy representation of themselves. Perhaps their photos are not them or woefully out-of-date. The bio is impressive, but actually is untruthful thru omission, and sounds a little too good to be true. We all do it. As I alluded to earlier, our avatar is only a snapshot of us, in all the right lighting and on just the right day. What I’m saying is that we must be careful that our online personas don’t become us. I know this all too well, and have pushed the envelope in the past and sometimes tested the patience of those who read my words–both family and friends alike. And I am remorseful for some of the things I have written online in the past. I was always passionate, albeit sometimes a bit misguided. Again, that was a snapshot of me at a particular time–a bad one, at that–but not representative of all that I am, and everything I believe.  Just as I don’t deserve to be judged for my ‘worst’ day, nobody online deserves to be praised or worshipped for their ‘best’ day. Internet profiles are just that — us in profile. We can only see a very limited perspective of a person, and what we see isn’t always what we get. I’m not suggesting that we throw away internet dating. I think it is valuable, in its own special ways. For instance, in a time of challenging workloads, increased distractions, and personal pursuits, we have very little time to date the bygone traditional way. The Internet provides a very efficient means of meeting people. I’m simply saying that we need to be wary of some magical silver bullet, that is going to solve all our romantic needs. Sometimes being introduced to someone, meeting somebody out in the world, or pursuing someone more organically, might be more satisfying than trying to narrow your searches down to the type of food a potential partner might eat. There is something to be said for the good old fashioned face-to-face interaction I described above.

In addition to safety concerns and misrepresentation (either purposeful or inadvertent), I sometimes find this whole high-tech-dating business to be cold and inaccessible. For instance, I can’t think of anything creepier than that software that uses your cell signal to find people in your proximity at a bar/club who are also into [fill in the blank interest]. I know it’s a digital way to find like-minded people, but there’s still something unnatural about the whole thing. There’s something to be said for all the failure that comes before romantic success. We’re becoming so allergic to failure and do whatever we can to insulate ourselves from its contagious effects.

Of course, I sound like I’m blaming the digital age, when in reality, I just got old, lost my hair, gained some pounds, lost my game, and became obsolete. LOL. It’s probably easier to blame technology than myself or circumstance. Like the guy in the video, I’m nostalgic for a time and a way of life that just doesn’t exist anymore. Although, in actuality, that guy is young enough to be my son, and the beloved ’90s he pines for actually belonged to his parents or older siblings, and therefore he is only arguing a theoretical idea, not a tangible nostalgic memory. Ergo, this non-emperical premise is untested and especially weak in the hypothetical. Sadly, that young buck is not even old enough to remember MY mad, mad, mojo game of the most fabulous Grunge Epoch (his loss).  😉

The Internet is a curious place of extremes and contradictions, and seems to be a place where people come to gorge themselves, and want to know everything about a persona…to a point. In truth, most of us don’t really want to see anything too intellectually rigorous, starkly substantial, or emotionally vulnerable or confessional. With all of these, I mean them in their purest and most dense form–a mile deep, you might say. However, at its worst, the internet is a mile wide, but only an inch thick. It has seemingly everything you could possibly desire, but more often than not, only gives you soundbites and headlines, and rarely digs deeper. Of course, I am generalizing, and there are plenty of great hard-hitting sites that address topics, news, events, people, etc. in full and with probing inquiry. But by and large, the vast expanses of the Internet are filled with news, entertainment, special interest, and other similar sites, all devoted to providing all the latest and hottest headlines of any given area.

It may be helpful to accept that even the most sophisticated algorithms and matchmaking engines cannot make a dating site any more than what it fundamentally is — an unfathomably fast database and search engine which pairs people based on mutual interests, dislikes, philosophies, beliefs,  etc. Such a machine is impressive, but is innately flawed by its one overwhelming deficit: it can’t smell. I mean that it can’t smell your favorite type of flower, the perfume you wear the most, the musky and intoxicating scent–really undetectable to the untrained nose–of pheromones and other libidinous chemicals that inexplicably capture that prehistoric and reptilian part of our brains. Such time-tested and evolved human engineering has improved upon itself for millennia, and is the instinctual barometer and thermometer we use to measure the pressure and temperature of the room and exactly how our date is affecting that–for good or for bad. It’s in the smell, and in the eyes, the touch, and even the taste that we find love and stake proverbial claims on optimal partners. It’s savage and prehistoric, and it’s the animal still in us, that no computer will likely ever be able to truly replicate. So of course, it’s all right and good to subscribe to a service that tries to use numbers instead of the senses we were all born with, but we have to accept that one is not properly a substitute for the other. eHarmony may have all the tools and wizardry, but the sleek efficiency and numbing effectiveness of a human being at this stage in our evolution is unparalleled. We are the most impressive machine. And when the day comes when that changes, we better all be looking over our shoulders. Haha.

Now that I’m practically culturally irrelevant in this youth and tech-obsessed age, dating sites for guys pushing middle age might seem like the perfect place to hide all my inescapable flaws and all the things I’ve inevitably lost since I was a younger man. Or gained, as the case may be. Haha. Yet, I would rather be as digitally candid as I can be, while hypocritically admitting to having old and glamorous pics of myself up and of sculpting my words carefully to craft a profile that stands out. Guilty as charged. At the same time, I have always been painfully honest and outspoken (as my friends, family, and frequent visitors painfully know), and that often applies to my dating profiles or other means of technology I use in the dating game. My words are often flowery, overly articulate, intellectual, and undoubtedly intimidating. And of course, I seem to find it necessary to mention my three degrees and all the places I’ve lived and traveled. Clearly, I’m trying to impress would be partners, but I often think I only end up poisoning the well. Even as I carefully craft and manicure my online persona to be the most attractive and engaging profile out there, I realize that I am at odds with my slavish devotion to telling the truth and my insecure tendency to draw attention to it. Meanwhile, even as I come across as boasting and superior, I am, in reality, not representing myself accurately or effectively. In person, I may sometimes come across that way, but never would someone take away those negative impressions, if they heard it from my lips directly. No matter how hard we try, there is a filter (or lack thereof) that doesnt perfectly capture our tone, meaning, voice, and humor. Of course, there is the oxymoron of me loving words and language as a tool for communication and expression, but not always knowing how to wield them successfully. It is also that toxic blend of insecurity mixed with the very real pressure and expectation to be attractive, fascinating, and engaging to all your readers. It is that perfection paradigm that has permeated our social consciousness. I know I’m not alone, because I see such conflict and poor communication in most people out there. In posts, profiles, dating bios, blogs….everywhere. Sometimes it is due to insecurity, but often it has to do with shockingly poor writing skills, not helped by fast and abbreviated texts, a reliance in spell check/autocorrect, and inadequate or ineffective grammar and English language education. What I am saying is this: I have three degrees, have taught AP English, have taught at the middle school, high school, college, and adult education levels, and yet I still have spotty grammar, often fail in capturing a conversational and accessible voice, and constantly over-edit myself–often with worse results! If I struggle and fail so epically, imagine what many other people with less education or more uneven training are doing, and how they are mangling words and misrepresenting themselves left and right. No wonder we have become an increasingly functionally superficial and shallow society, when we conspicuously lack the grammar and language skills to support a world suddenly overrun with devices whose primarily function is to transmit the written word!!! If language is the currency of thought, that puts us in very real danger of bankrupting ourselves intellectually. And I don’t mean writing theorems on relativity, but the basic higher level cognitive skills we need to survive and thrive. If our words fail us, so will our ability to make meaning and express ourselves deeply. We went from people talking on phones and in person, with very little need to write daily, to suddenly all these platforms that function through the written word. We simply did/do not have the skills to maintain and engage in lengthy, substantive conversations. Twitter wisely limits us to 140 characters. Texts are really only effective and welcome in small chunks and grade-school simple language and bastardized abbreviations. Our FB posts tend to be no longer than 200-500 characters, if that (unless you’re me, and write short novellas). We live in a world newly re-baptized by the written word and we are swimming (drowning?) in communication we haven’t quite mastered, and aren’t always triumphant with. And you might rightly say, that is the learning curve of every new technology, and we will master language, or more likely, reinvent it for our purposes in time. Language isn’t fixed, by any stretch of the imagination. It certainly flows, and grows, and transforms, and evolves quicker than the human beings that use it–and ultimately shape it.  My point is this: if language is so imprecise and unwieldily in person, imagine what our words are doing online, and how others perceive us. I know this well, and foolishly decide to write on, despite what other people might think. My words have failed me extravagantly in the past, but I write on. That is the only way I can improve and refine my words, and hopefully deliver meaning more artfully. I understand that the world is not populated by aspiring and accomplished writers, but that literacy and ability to effectively communicate through the written word seems more imperative than ever before. My point in all of this, is that language is imprecise, inaccurate, deceptive, and corrupted by users who lack the skills, are careless, or purposefully use subterfuge to manipulate words in their favor. These are some very real dangers to both online dating, or using social networking and media to meet and find potential partners. Even using texts and Snapchat to flirt poses its own inherent risks.

I know this much: my online avatar may be confusing and inconsistent at times, but it almost always closely resembles myself–with the exception of some glamor shots and bio-boosting. Yet, at the same time, it isn’t me at all. It’s simply a sliver of what I was thinking in one infinitesimal moment in time. In reality, avatars are more like a kind of Darth a’Vatar, who is compelled to talk tough, act confident, huff and puff in intimidating ways like the real Darth Vader, but all the while hiding his true self.  While secretly behind the shiny black mask-helmet (avatar persona/profile), Darth a’Vatar can hide his true appearance online, and never reveal that underneath all that, he is nothing more than a weak and pudgy, squishy, bald, and scarred dad after all. None of us know what any of us look like on the Internet. I’d like to think that most of us are young Anakin Skywalkers more than old Darth Vaders, but we just can’t be sure. Until we meet. Technology is a wonderful blessing, but we should never forget what makes us human. Perhaps nowhere else is this more important than in online romance. eHarmony and other sites have provided remarkable results, and show no sign of slowing down. I’m not here to deride or denounce online romances or using tech in the dating game. My job is to simply raise questions, engage the public, and get people thinking about how we can more responsibly integrate this flood of new innovation into our lives. Technology has its place beside us, in our hands, underneath us, but should never be totally above or in place of us. Now is the time to evaluate ourselves in this ridiculously fast-paced high-tech world–romance included–and honestly assess whether certain things we’re doing are harmful to our dating lives, and actually more time-consuming and exhausting than the ‘old-fashioned’ approach. Are we making smart decisions about how we meet and stay connected to those we love? Are these encounters real and substantial?

I may sometimes be too harsh on technology, but I’m really only preaching the adoption of responsible safeguards to help us more smoothly integrate this tech into our lives. For instance, I prefer to use aluminum foil to wallpaper my house and wear as a protective helmet against extra-terrestial radio waves transmitted by our alien-engineered technology. That’s just one simple way to protect against the evils of High-Tec digital invasions. Haha.*

I’m actually not dating at the moment, and don’t desire to right now, but I may in the future, and it sounds like the future is now. As I stated, I’ve been on several dating sites, and I know they work for some people. In fact, I expect indignant messages from people that have been happily married for years, and met online. Yes, of course there are success stories. I’m not arguing that. Or that technology can’t be effectively used to navigate romance. I’m just saying…well, call me old fashioned, or a hopeless romantic, but I do think we need to be wary of how far we let technology be the primary romantic intermediary in our lives. There’s something to be said for the good old (nearly always bad) one-liner pickup lines we’ve probably all used or heard in bars. There’s something to be said for pheromones and chemistry that can only ever be captured in person. There’s something to be said for surprises, and going in blind and learning about a person in person, for the very first time. There’s something sexier and not seeing it all before you even meet. There’s something enigmatic in that energy and chemistry that can only take root in the natural and organic synergy that develops between two people that are undeniably attracted to each other. There’s something, nay, everything in that natural magnetism and approximation to another beating heart and nimble brain, that the often imprecise, manufactured, and stilted use of words and technology can never hope to capture. We are still animals, and sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Or at least, the old ways with the careful and tasteful help of all our modern tools. We haven’t quite found that balance.

Perhaps the biggest excuse for using dating sites or other new age solutions, is TIME. As the number of hours required in the average workday decreased or stayed the same, and our vacation time increased, we somehow took on even more work at work. We now stay later and longer, and workdays are often followed or preceded by trips to the gym, child transport, errands, etc, which often pushes dinner back to 7 or 8, and those last few hours before bed are mostly spent surfing the internet, watching TV, or reading. This doesn’t take into account the book club, the Yoga class, the family counseling, etc, etc. The single person sees no less of a hectic schedule, and oftentimes, packs even more in. So when and where do we expect to meet other like-minded singles? How can we possibly find viable opportunities to meet and get to know people we may wish to date. That seems to be one those burning questions in the paradoxical landscape of dating in America today. We simply don’t have time. Of course, that is a much larger question. To those people, I would simply say, why? It seems to me that if work is that demanding and consumes that much of a person’s life, perhaps that is not a healthy or productive endeavor. That, of course, speaks to a much larger issue of Americans and their compulsive work ethics and goal-oriented, competitive natures. As for all the other conflicts in their lives, I would have to ask how important romance and finding a mate is to them. If a person cares more about their spinning class than making the time for romance, than I would question their priorities. If you make time for romance, I am quite certain it will make time for you.

Technology is a gift and a miracle, bestowed upon us all. It makes our lives easier, fuller, and richer. It certainly has a role to play in dating, and is unstoppable and irreversible anyways. We live in an exciting age. Dating has never been so fresh and varied. The Internet, texting, and other communication tools offer exciting potential. At the same, there are perils and pitfalls, and what we may consider fresh, new, and exciting, may not always be better than what came before. Perhaps the ’90s weren’t so bad after all.

*I’m sure some people are now thoroughly convinced that I am off my rocker. Ah, sarcasm, satire, and irony…where have you gone? Oh yeah, humor also doesn’t work well online. And if my sick and twisted sense of humor doesn’t translate well over the internet and I never get another date again, well…at least the internet is good for something else.

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