Dating in america 2016
You write that dating protocols change so quickly, and thus inspire a lot of anxiety and bewilderment.
I think that’s a lot of people’s experience of the new digital dating culture, and we could really use a social and historical guide to help us understand where we are. I think there’s still a huge gap for comprehensive, deep thinking about these subjects.
Companies like IAC — which owns Match, OKCupid, and Tinder, along with 42 other "dating products" — have perfected the art of profiting off our hunger for love, sex, and companionship.
But dating has always been a lucrative market for the cosmetics, fashion, and entertainment industries, among others.
Our conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Eliza Barclay: What you point out is how, even from the early days of dating in the early 20th century, we've talked about it as a form of shopping -- and as a game.
But when you think about why other people don’t date, it’s also because they don’t have time and they have children. EB: The history of dating in America, as you tell it, starts when the first generation of women leave the confines of the home to work in cities at the beginning of the 20th century.
Suddenly men and women have this opportunity to meet and mingle unsupervised by their families.
You call that the shopgirl era — because many the first women daters were salesgirls in department stores.
MW: There isn’t that much writing treating these subjects seriously. Indeed, I think not treating them seriously has its own conservative effect, where it doesn’t give people the opportunity to think about the social roles they’re being handed. EB: One thing that seems different today is that before, there was more of a limited window of youth when people could have this experience of meeting new people before settling down with one of them. The median age of first marriage in the US for men was 29.2 and 27.1 for women in 2015.
Now you can perhaps do that endlessly — it’s more socially acceptable to stay single and keep dating your whole life. In 1970, it was lower [23.2 for men and 20.8 for women], but it hasn’t actually been rising constantly.