This article, link via Begging the Question, has a fairly in-depth analysis on the trend of internet dating, and what the author considers the two factors most responsible for the death of courtship, “the demand for total transparency and a bias toward the over-sharing of personal information,” which “encourage the erosion of the boundaries that are necessary for the growth of successful relationships.” She points out that with all the information available electronically and the advent of Internet dating, there are fewer opportunities to get to know someone slowly, to find out about their life through shared social connections, even to find mutual attraction with someone you share a word with at the coffee shop or whose eyes you meet on the subway.
It’s interesting to me because I feel like, while there’s no denying that using only email and carefully cropped photos, almost anyone could probably find a “connection” on an Internet dating site, there seems to be no substitute for that nebulous little thing called “chemistry.” As the article points out “There is a danger in relying wholly or even largely on science and technology to answer these questions, for it risks eroding our appreciation of the ineffable things—intuition and physical attraction, passion and sensibility—by reducing these feelings to scientifically explained physiological facts.” There is no feeling like just seeing a person that normally you wouldn’t think twice about and realizing that all of the sudden you want to hear them laugh or you feel your stomach give just the tiniest flutter. I think that it seems like more of a challenge to win someone over in person by being funny and smart than by sending carefully crafted and edited emails meant to convey a “more” and “better” version of yourself than you will ever be able to live up to in a real-life relationship. Aren’t the imperfections what make people kind of interesting?
Anyway, I liked the article…I’m not sure I believe (or want to believe) that “courtship,” even in a modified sense, is dead. But I agree that the face of dating is changing in a way that probably would have seemed like something from the Jetson’s when I was a kid, and now seems to be on the verge of widespread acceptance. Of course, maybe all of this is why I'm 29, single, and seeking a full-time Cabana Boy.