The fundamental selling point of online dating is that no one wants to be alone, and even cold-hearted skeptics secretly want true love. “Yet 47 percent of the unmarried adults who believe marriage is becoming obsolete say they would like to marry someday.” The point is tucked into a footnote, but more should probably have been made of it. You can be a closet swinger, an out-of-closet deviant, or a U. I underlined this one several times: “A woman’s desirability, measured in messages received, peaks at age twenty-one.
Just because we are moving farther away from traditional norms in practice, does not mean we are moving farther away from them in our ideals. At age forty-eight, men are nearly twice as sought after as women.”’s Alexis Madrigal wrote in an excellent response to an excerpt from Slater’s book (published in that same magazine), “It should also be noted: There isn't a single woman's perspective in this story. Or someone who was into polyamory before online dating. Instead we get eight men from the [online dating] industry.” Like most promises of the digital era, online dating hasn’t exploded all of the old norms so much as reinforced many and twisted the rest.
Although 30 million have dabbled with online dating, that number is surprisingly low for something that ten years ago was supposed to be a “fixture” of singledom. Perhaps decades of Hollywood plotlines that have programmed us to look for love at the crowded party or the local dog park have dampened the thrill of finding a perfect match with a few keystrokes. While it’s true that these dynamics exist offline, too, online dating makes it easy to eliminate whole categories of people by checking a few boxes.
Whether it’s yet another style-section trend piece or a shame-tinged confession that we’ve signed up for Match.com, we have yet to get collectively comfortable with the idea of looking for love online. These portals not only present the whole human grid of desire and stimulation but make that grid real and attainable, nonvirtual, bounded only by the limitations of curiosity and imagination,” Slater writes in his chapter about the proliferation of niche dating sites. Online dating lays bare the sexual economy in which some people (namely tall, white, wealthy men) are guaranteed winners, and others (black women, older women, short men, fat people of all genders) have a tougher time. As most online daters know, it's not the first date that's hard to get — it's the second.But if you're dating because you want a relationship and not just a date, making a connection and getting that second date (and third and fourth) is the whole point.Both Slater and Webb show (directly or indirectly) the problem with dating sites: they reduce people to their photos—followed by some hard numbers about age, weight, and income—so it’s no wonder online dating mirrors offline sexual dynamics.Despite her borderline-crazy, data-driven contortions, Webb comes across as more realistic than Slater, with his laissez-faire approach to finding love online.