News stories about online dating
Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling or, God forbid, something I’m buying, like a lot of people in my generation—those in their 20s and 30s—I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice.
If this mentality pervades our decisionmaking in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?
I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life.
I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.
The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.
I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together.
The first girl, he said, was “a little too tall,” and the second girl was “a little too short.” Then he met my mom. Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year.
He quickly deduced that she was the appropriate height (finally! First I texted four friends who travel and eat out a lot and whose judgment I trust. Finally I made my selection: Il Corvo, an Italian place that sounded amazing. (It only served lunch.) At that point I had run out of time because I had a show to do, so I ended up making a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich on the bus.
“I met up with a girl who brought a binder full of laminated copies of her own poems, then asked me to read and critique them at the table.” 8. Then I found out that her nose ring is a weirdly shiny wart that she tries to pass off as a nose ring because she’s embarrassed by it. Without asking, she reached over and started picking toppings of my pizza. “I joined OKC four years ago hoping to hook up with a bunch of girls. I suggest we go to dinner and a movie at an Italian restaurant closer to her place so she can walk/bus, and I can do all the commuting.
Her friend went to her house, where Ashley had apparently left her phone, and her car and the front door was wide open. When she refused I said that I would and lo & behold, Ashley shows up. Didn’t know you cared about me so much lol.’ The next day I go to work. “I’m talking to this beautiful girl, and we eventually make plans to meet at a local pub. He had this weird look in his eyes that screamed ‘awkward 27-year-old that has never seen a boob and is creepily close to his mother.’ I sat down with him, and he put his hand on my leg. He just sort of chuckled and rolled his eyes and put his hand back on my leg.
I usually leave my phone in my truck until lunch, so when I went out for lunch at noon, I had 115 new texts and 48 missed calls. I slapped his hand away, stormed out of the theater, and he followed right after me going ‘What?
I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.
Eric and I weren’t digging into singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.
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“This woman seemed really cool; she was fit, witty, and had piercings. I spent a week messaging a few girls and decided to meet the first of these girls to put my plan into action. It takes me an hour to drive there, and I arrive at the restaurant before she does a good thirty minutes before our date, so I could be prepared.