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A Million First Dates: How online romance is threatening monogamy
January 29, 2013 12:38 PM   Subscribe

A recent Atlantic article magazine raises the question of whether online dating discourages long term commitment. This is not the first time Atlantic has raised concerns about online dating sites. In 2006, the tone of an article on the topic was neutral. Not so much in 2010, 2011, and more recently. But perhaps we just all need more data.
posted by bearwife (65 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's the link for the 2006 article.
posted by bearwife at 12:40 PM on January 29, 2013


I don't know, I went on one (1) online date and I married him. So.
posted by lydhre at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Like many Atlantic writers (*ahem* Caitlin Flanagan *ahem*) Dan Slater's pieces are less interesting by themselves than compared to the articles that are written in response to them.

The Atlantic was actually rather anticipating (perhaps even planning) this bit of sensationalism and was ready to go with a full section covering the responses. A bunch of them are better reflections. on online dating than the original article, but the most entertaining for me was Amanda Hess' takedown at Slate.
posted by bl1nk at 12:45 PM on January 29, 2013


It's worth pointing out that The Atlantic then got a bunch of people to write various other articles discussing and rebutting that original article.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:45 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meh. Whatever person gets into that mindset isn't worth being in a relationship with anyway.

Maybe the competition for suitable guys who want a monogamous commitment will be fiercer, but at least the guys who aren't monogamously minded can be more easy identified and put aside.

Time will tell. Plus, sperm banks and vibrators exist and they don't leave fingernails on the coffee table.
posted by discopolo at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2013


I don't know, I went on one (1) online date and I married him. So.

This lady went on one and got stabbed and beaten. So.
posted by discopolo at 12:53 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Monogamy could use some threatening. Then maybe the non-monogamous could feel a tiny bit less othered.
posted by Sternmeyer at 12:54 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


"I’m about 95 percent certain," he says, "that if I’d met Rachel offline, and if I’d never done online dating, I would’ve married her. At that point in my life, I would’ve overlooked everything else and done whatever it took to make things work. Did online dating change my perception of permanence? No doubt.
Hold on. His dating background gave him enough perspective to see that it was a bad idea to settle for his girlfriend when he was actually unhappy, and now monogamy is under attack? This is how dating is supposed to work. You're not supposed to marry the person you've been dating for 2 or 3 years, just because it seems like the thing to do and you've got nothing else going on. You're supposed to sift through a few people you don't mesh perfectly with, so that you'll know the real deal when you see it.

Moral panic indeed.
posted by Mayor West at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


“I often wonder whether matching you up with great people is getting so efficient, and the process so enjoyable, that marriage will become obsolete.”

Methinks not so much.
posted by ourobouros at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2013


This lady went on one and got stabbed and beaten. So.

So, anecdatally, online dating has nothing whatsoever to do with monogamy? If you're gonna be monogamous you're going to be monogamous no matter how you date.
posted by lydhre at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2013


And I seem to notice that by "monogamy" they mean some nebulous definition of long-term relationships, not monogamy as opposed to polyamory.
posted by lydhre at 1:02 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Online dating encouraged me to seek long-term commitment, because it meant I MAY NEVER HAVE TO USE A FUCKING ONLINE DATING SITE AGAIN.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:02 PM on January 29, 2013 [23 favorites]


So, anecdatally, online dating has nothing whatsoever to do with monogamy? If you're gonna be monogamous you're going to be monogamous no matter how you date.

You can be all kinds of monogamous. You can be a serial monogamist and divorce your current spouse when someone handsomer and more exciting comes along. You could be monogamous and committed for life to one person. You can be monogamous and drift from your spouse.

Monogamy isn't something that's synonymous to lifelong commitment. The latter only time and the opportunity to spend a secret night with George Clooney or Jon Hamm can tell.
posted by discopolo at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if this is a set up for next week's Atlantic advertorial: 'Unification Church Offers Simple, Forward-Thinking Solutions to the Problems of Contemporary Dating'
posted by mcmile at 1:06 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, "Jacob" didn't really sound like much of a catch to begin with, so I reckon 'online dating' is just accelerating his approach to 'dating'. Other people will have different approaches to dating, and will pursue them regardless of whether they meet online or offline.
posted by Kurichina at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


and the process so enjoyable

I do not think this is the process he thinks it is. There are actually people out there who find it enjoyable? Christ if someone offered me the perfect partner and I'd never have to online date again but I would have to be water-boarded for 30 minutes, I'd take the water-boarding.
posted by spicynuts at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'd guess 90% of my dates have come from OKCupid, and 0% of my actual relationships. And yet, after every breakup... back I go.

I will say, however, that going on a bunch of dates with complete randos has made me a lot more easygoing about the whole dating thing. My first several online dates back in the day, I was a nervous wreck beforehand. Now it's just another night out, with a guy I'll hopefully like, but if not, no biggie. The author of this piece might say that means I no longer take dating seriously at all, but actually it just means that on the few dates that actually have potential, I know how to fucking relax and not be self-conscious. So online dating, in a roundabout way, probably helped facilitate those other, non-online-dating-based relationships.

Online dating encouraged me to seek long-term commitment, because it meant I MAY NEVER HAVE TO USE A FUCKING ONLINE DATING SITE AGAIN.

Yup. I finally realized recently that I'd be perfectly happy if the next guy I dated wound up being my future husband- the idea used to be scary, now it'd be a goddamn relief.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know, I totally understand the impulse of "People are attracted to me and I used to not feel attractive, so online dating rocks!" And I can see how some good experiences would make the sometimes monotony of day-to-day relationships make the online hunt seem appealing.

But, and maybe I'm showing my age here, but even the possibility of occsaional new hot sex doesn't make the other bullshit of online dating seem attractive -- and I say this as somebody who met pretty much every amazing guy I met in the last 15 years that way, including the one I've been with for 7 years.

(On preview, what Afroblanco said.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:13 PM on January 29, 2013


I will say, however, that going on a bunch of dates with complete randos has made me a lot more easygoing about the whole dating thing.

You are a trooper. I ran into an endless stream of randos who want to molest me. They don't even want to know me, just touch me. It's gross and I'm done, and planning a Golden Girls retirement. I've lost all hope.
posted by discopolo at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


An immature (ostensible) adult is unable to manage his own desires in face of temptation? OBVIOUSLY the internet is at fault rather than human nature or a lack of self-reflection! This is the most words with the least content I have ever read, and I have graded college philosophy papers.

Also:
"Another online-dating exec hypothesized an inverse correlation between commitment and the efficiency of technology. “I think divorce rates will increase as life in general becomes more real-time,” says Niccolò Formai"
What is this I don't even
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


> Time will tell. Plus, sperm banks and vibrators exist and they don't leave fingernails on the coffee table.
> posted by discopolo at 3:48 PM on January 29 [+] [!]

True, but they don't also walk the dog, diaper the kids, take out the garbage, fix the car, work a full time job, and remember birthdays and anniversaries. I do and did.

I am actually quite curious to know, if I were miraculously transformed back to college age, what KIDZ2DAY would make of me if I acted toward women the way I think gentlemen ought to act. Would I be thought incomprehensible? Bizarre? Creepy? I went to hear the Venice Baroque Orchestra yesterday, and I would certainly have gone at 20--'smy kinda thing. I wore a coat and tie, as I would certainly have done at 20. I would love to have had a female accomplice on this outing. In a farking dress, please. As Roger Angell observed once (in the New Yorker), the vast majority of occasions for pleasant social intercourse between men and women take place with our clothes on.
posted by jfuller at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


jfuller...things are SO SO SO different now. it's all sex all the time. You could watch the show Girls for a glimpse, or you could come talk to my friend who is a junior high school guidance counselor on Long Island.
posted by spicynuts at 1:23 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are a trooper. I ran into an endless stream of randos who want to molest me. They don't even want to know me, just touch me. It's gross and I'm done, and planning a Golden Girls retirement. I've lost all hope.

Oh, see, this is part of it, cause once upon a time I was like "Oh noes I must impress this guy what if he doesn't liiiiike me," and now I'm just like "Hi dude! Here's me, and what's your deal? Oh, you're gonna be weird and gross like all those other dudes? Ok, toodles!"

So then, when the guy I met through mutual friends asked me out, I was still thinking "Hi dude! Here's me, and what's your deal?" So, in conclusion, thanks internet weird guys!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:23 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


This would be more of a problem for me if I could actually get dates off OkCupid. I made a few friends off the site but once I gained a few pounds I turned invisible. I'm pretty jealous of people who go on enough dates to have a choice.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:38 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Online dating is threatening monogamy. Monogamy has perpetuated the idea of people as sexual property and contributed to overpopulation. What is the problem again?
posted by tripping daisy at 1:42 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seems like so much pearl-clutching.
posted by adamrice at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2013


Monogamy has perpetuated the idea of people as sexual property and contributed to overpopulation. What is the problem again?

Meh. I'm pretty monogamous by nature in part because I could never muster the energy to have more than one relationship, so it's mostly about my comfort and less about seeing my partner as property. Also, a monogamous couple is going to have a lot less kids, yes, even if they Duggar it up, than some polygamous man+harem arrangements that produce small armies of offspring.

(Note, I know that polygamy isn't the only non-monogamous relationship arrangement, but it seems to be the more common one globally. Put the poly outrage away, I get it.)
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:56 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I keep hearing online dating has become a much more viable way to meet nice people than when it first started.

When I tried online dating about ten years ago, it was a fantastic way to meet... horny, damaged people who lied about their age, occupation, weight, and relationship status.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


things are SO SO SO different now. it's all sex all the time. You could watch the show Girls for a glimpse, or you could come talk to my friend who is a junior high school guidance counselor on Long Island.

I'm in my mid-twenties and my single friends' dating lives are definitely not "all sex all the time."

Then again I don't live in Long Island.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anecdata to the extreme, but online dating encouraged me to start trying to seek out long-term commitment.

After being one of those monogamy is for sheeple and sell-outs, maaaaaan! douchebags for roughly half my life, it took precisely two (2) OK Cupid dates for me to decide that a) my burgeoning faith in humanity has been all but destroyed and b) it turns out that what the sheeple are doing is what I want to do, too.

Unfortunately, without a real-life version of OKC's handy-dandy sorting mechanism, there is no way for me to know which men are willing to date a permanently nulliparous woman. After the OKC nightmare, I went on a semi-blind date where an otherwise very attractive, nice, intelligent, promising dude waited several hours to pull the good old "So, when do you think you might want to start raising a family?" card. He dumped me on the spot -- like, "Check, please! Good luck in all your future endeavors! Fare thee well!" -- after I responded with a look of slow-dawning horror and replied, "Uh, never?"

So... can all the childfree dudes out there (there's more than one or two of you, right? right?) maybe start wearing buttons depicting, perhaps, a diaper covered with a big red X or something? I am fairly terrified of navigating the dating world at age 30 knowing that most men around my age -- and indeed, most humans; pesky biological imperative -- are going to want to have children, and this is a major stumbling block en route to my selling out.
posted by divined by radio at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ok, back after having RTFA. Jacob sounds like a dud.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


That article cracked me and my partner up - The Atlantic isn't even bothering with a veneer of respectability these days; it's classic tabloid moral panic.

I love that the guy they picked as somehow representative is basically a colossal asshole, and has the temerity to blame online dating for his being a complete tool. Heavens to betsy, I don't know any guys who are like that, and never use online dating IN OPPOSITE LAND, WHERE EVERYTHING IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS.

Additionally the idea that "people stayed in shitty, unhappy relationships before! Everything was better!" is fucking bizarre. God forbid the Atlantic, I don't know, look at some census data, and stuff, try to make a case using evidence and the like. That would be too close to actual journalism.
posted by smoke at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm being imprecise with my words. I'm pretty sure I was talking about marriage and not monogamy... anyway, serial monogamists that I know seem to have less desire to have children. There is less pressure to settle down and pop out kids in their twenties because they're having a great time boning people and not having kids. Combine that with safe sax and birth control measures and we are at our lowest birthrate in recorded history.

Less traditional relationships, less children, more boning, more chance at surviving the 21st Century... I don't see too much wrong with the way we do consensual relationships in the States. People who want an online meat market know where to go. Christian singles know where to go. eHarmony is there for people who want to get married and can endure the apparently miserable application process.

What is wrong is the focus on sex and physical appearance on some of the sites, and sure, having a box for your ideal height and eye color can quickly turn things superficial. But humans are superficial. In A Time Before The Internet I knew people who had very specific requirements about eye color, income, height, and so on. There's a little magic lost in excluding the love of your life because they didn't put their income level in, but if you're already excluding by those criteria, you probably aren't interested in magic, and that's cool. I think most people get what they want out of those sites... that's why they signed up and continue using it.

Related: I decided to see if there was a stoner dating website. There is. And it's running a little behind schedule. The proprietor is not pleased.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


True, but they don't also walk the dog, diaper the kids, take out the garbage, fix the car, work a full time job, and remember birthdays and anniversaries. I do and did.

You're rare. An awful lot of women have to do all that and more, while working full-time without participation from husband, even if husband works a full-time job. It's rare to find a real partner. Even so, the wife will always get stuck doing more, investing more, and expending more energy, without much of a guarantee of full partnership or lifelong commitment.
posted by discopolo at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, without a real-life version of OKC's handy-dandy sorting mechanism, there is no way for me to know which men are willing to date a permanently nulliparous woman.

It's not a whole lot easier to find childfree women. And even then, "well-meaning" friends will, 99% of the time, try their best to sow seeds of doubt with, "Well, that's what she's saying NOW ..." And I dunno, maybe this is something people change their minds about? So whether you possess a Y chromosome or not, it's good to ask yourself if the person you're talking to is committed to being childfree, or if they're essentially saying, "Oh that's just so far away, I can't POSSIBLY imagine myself as a parent." The latter are probably more likely to flip.

As a sidenote, I was always annoyed by the profile options OKC gave me for "Children". Like, my choices were : "I have children", "I like children", or "I don't like children". But saying "I don't like children" makes me feel so heartless -- even though it's completely true! Why can't they just give you a "Children are okay I guess, I just don't want any of my own" option?
posted by Afroblanco at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


So... can all the childfree dudes out there (there's more than one or two of you, right? right?) maybe start wearing buttons depicting, perhaps, a diaper covered with a big red X or something? I am fairly terrified of navigating the dating world at age 30 knowing that most men around my age -- and indeed, most humans; pesky biological imperative -- are going to want to have children, and this is a major stumbling block en route to my selling out.

Check your friendzone. Not a snarky suggestion.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2013


As a sidenote, I was always annoyed by the profile options OKC gave for "Children". Like, your choices are : "I have children", "I like children", or "I don't like children". But saying "I don't like children" makes me feel so heartless -- even though it's completely true! Why can't they just give you a "Children are okay I guess, I just don't want any of my own" option?

How does anyone know if they even want kids without sizing up the partner they're with? I'd have kids if I found the right partner, but not if I didn't think my partner didn't have the right temperament to be a father.

Check your friendzone. Not a snarky suggestion.

Ugh, we put men in the friend zone because the thought of having sex with them makes us barf. How is this so hard for guys to understand?
posted by discopolo at 2:39 PM on January 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


No, I didn't RTFA beacuse it's from the Fucking Atlantic. Why does every article from that rag seem to make it here?
posted by repoman at 2:46 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, we put men in the friend zone because the thought of having sex with them makes us barf. How is this so hard for guys to understand?

Perhaps divined by radio has a friendzone with more criteria than "makes me want to barf when naked."
posted by tripping daisy at 2:48 PM on January 29, 2013



How does anyone know if they even want kids without sizing up the partner they're with?


Because that's what being childfree means? I don't want children ever ever ever, not with anyone. EVER.
posted by Violet Hour at 2:54 PM on January 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Perhaps divined by radio has a friendzone with more criteria than "makes me want to barf when naked."

Well, you never know. And she could always get drunk beforehand. That might help.
posted by discopolo at 2:55 PM on January 29, 2013


bl1nk: but the most entertaining for me was Amanda Hess' takedown at Slate.
That one's pretty on-target (she points out the original article relies on interview with a miniscule pool of male-only online daters - one, in fact).

Here's a better criticism: Not one single datum was revealed in the article to support the thesis. There are vague allusions to "experts" and "studies", but without tangible references that's just another way of saying "I asked both of my coworkers."

Just another bullshit fluff-piece about how X is going to ruin us all.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:06 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


From now on, The Atlantic should change all its headlines to BUY OUR MAGAZINE YOU STOOGES.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2013


I'm still waiting for the Atlantic article about how reading relationship articles in the Atlantic is the #1 threat to heterocentric breeder monogamous relationships.
posted by Skwirl at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Check your friendzone. Not a snarky suggestion.

Perhaps divined by radio has a friendzone with more criteria than "makes me want to barf when naked."

Really? Because this as a whole feels like snark.

Besides. The friend zone is a myth made up by bitter beta guys who didn't have the balls to ask a girl out, get rejected and move on with their lives.
posted by Talez at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


"You can be all kinds of monogamous. You can be a serial monogamist and divorce your current spouse when someone handsomer and more exciting comes along. You could be monogamous and committed for life to one person. You can be monogamous and drift from your spouse."

Conversely, you can be all kinds of polyamorous. In fact, your relationship patterns can look practically the same as it would look in a monogamous relationship... only without the lying and deception.

I have quite a few monogamous friends my age who I met back in college, but I'm the one with the longest active relationship... and at 7 years and two years and counting for my other live-in relationships, I am doing pretty well there too, considering.

I find that I have learned a lot more about finding and maintaining healthy relationships in general by not being monogamous. It's not all about playing the field. It's more about being honest to who you are as a human being.
posted by markkraft at 4:18 PM on January 29, 2013


Besides. The friend zone is a myth made up by bitter beta guys who didn't have the balls to ask a girl out, get rejected and move on with their lives.

This thread is sounding more and more like a fratire brainstorming session.
posted by tripping daisy at 4:27 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


discopolo said "in the friend zone because the thought of having sex with them makes us barf."

Oh. Then I have a friend who put his wife in the friendzone.
posted by surplus at 4:38 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is sounding more and more like a fratire brainstorming session.

You don't have to be a frat boy to not want to join in the latest sad meeting of "Lonely Hearts Anonymous". Some of us figured out that women aren't responsible for our own romantic misdaventures and grew up out of silly shit like the Friend Zone and the Ladder Theory. Then we chilled out, looked around and grew relationships out of common interests and mutual attraction instead of pining longingly for an idealized version of an unrequited crush.
posted by Talez at 4:45 PM on January 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


discopolo: How does anyone know if they even want kids without sizing up the partner they're with?

Quoted because I thought I was the only one who thought this way.

Could we drop the friendzone derail and get back to the "how much The Atlantic sucks" derail, because I've still got more material.
posted by Skwirl at 4:46 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Some of us figured out that women aren't responsible for our own romantic misdaventures and grew up out of silly shit like the Friend Zone and the Ladder Theory

Which is both a great feeling in and of itself, and a relief when you look back. But the beta/alpha thing is the same deal.
posted by postcommunism at 4:51 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, if by needing more data, you mean more dates, chalk me in to sacrifice my life for SCIENCE!

You know, just sayin'.

Somebody's got to do it and it might as well be me...
posted by Samizdata at 5:45 PM on January 29, 2013


> because the thought of having sex with them makes us barf.

Lie back and think of England :)
posted by jfuller at 5:46 PM on January 29, 2013


I went to hear the Venice Baroque Orchestra yesterday ...

If you take me to see the Venice Baroque Orchestra, I'll wear a farking dress. (Or to the Balearic Folk Orchestra. I'm not a picky date.)
posted by octobersurprise at 5:50 PM on January 29, 2013


When I tried online dating about ten years ago, it was a fantastic way to meet... horny, damaged people who lied about their age, occupation, weight, and relationship status.

Where can I find these people and why won't they respond to my messages!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


You don't have to be a frat boy to not want to join in the latest sad meeting of "Lonely Hearts Anonymous". Some of us figured out that women aren't responsible for our own romantic misdaventures and grew up out of silly shit like the Friend Zone and the Ladder Theory. Then we chilled out, looked around and grew relationships out of common interests and mutual attraction instead of pining longingly for an idealized version of an unrequited crush.

Not everyone's friend zone is based purely on sex. I have people in the friend zone who are there because they are long distance, or because they are preoccupied with their career, or because I don't think we could reconcile our political or spiritual views, or because I don't think they are quite over their ex. I'm even crazy enough to believe that some people aspire to grow out of separating others into "will fuck" and "will not fuck." So I suggested to someone that they take a look at their friend zone.

I thought that was a simple, practical piece of advice for someone looking for more than random chance. Perhaps I am wrong, and categorizing everyone else into "fuckable" and "unfuckable" tests the limits of the exploration of human affection for most people. It honestly wouldn't surprise me.
posted by tripping daisy at 6:06 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I've solved the childfree dating problem: simply wait until I am too old to have babies before I date again. Then nobody can insist that I am going to have any.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:07 PM on January 29, 2013


The friendzone totally exists, but it's men who put themselves there. The girl just happens to be The Wrong Girl For Him. When I was single, I learned how to always avoid the friendzone. For me to befriend a woman, she had to meet one or more of the following criteria :

1) I wasn't attracted to her
2) One or both of us was in a stable, long-term relationship
3) We were just so completely incompatible that the idea of a relationship would never even come up

If she didn't meet any of the above criteria, I'd usually try to date her. And if she turned out to be The Wrong Girl For Me, I'd just break it off and that would be that.

"Can't we be friends?"
"I enjoyed our time together, but I have a really busy life. Best of luck."

Bam. Friendzone avoided.

You could say I potentially missed out on a lot of friends that way, and you'd probably be right. But I've never been short on friends, and I know better than to befriend someone I may develop an unwelcome crush on.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


the wife will always get stuck doing more, investing more, and expending more energy, without much of a guarantee of full partnership or lifelong commitment.

Now that you've identified the ways in which every married man is an inferior contributor compared with his spouse, can you tell me what every married man's favorite color is? I need to buy some gift ties and the variety is astounding.
posted by Winnemac at 8:07 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't speak for straight people, but the internet and dating social media are the BEST things that have happened for queers ever. We can find each other in the first place, no matter how isolated geographically or culturally we may be. We can show our incredible diversities in safe spaces, before we launch into possibly dangerous territories. One of the factors making same-sex marriage a recent reality, after languishing for decades as a lesser lesbian/gay agenda, are the sheer numbers of queers who've come out, and queer couples who've met, due to the internet.

Data point: In the last two decades, ALL of my partners but two (both of whom I had met pre-internet but didn't connect with until the web was popular), I met online. Although I have had less time to devote to social in my 30s and 40s than I did in my teens and 20s, I have connected with almost 4x as many people due to online opportunities. Most of those people were/are very distant geographically, didn't know anyone in common, and didn't share hobbies or occupations leading to travel.

Long live internet dating (and its progeny, I can hardly wait)!
posted by Dreidl at 9:32 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


jfuller: "True, but they don't also walk the dog, diaper the kids, take out the garbage, fix the car, work a full time job, and remember birthdays and anniversaries"

I'm pretty sure "Jacob" wouldn't do any of those things either.

I kept reading and waiting for the part of the article that points out how online dating saved all these poor women from marrying a man and then spending the rest of their lives having to take care of him. The real winners in these scenarios were the women who avoided a lifelong commitment to this loser.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:51 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


"How does anyone know if they even want kids without sizing up the partner they're with?"

If I met a wonderful woman who wanted to have kids *AND* wanted to financially support them, while taking on the lion's share of the responsibility for them, then I wouldn't mind having a kid... but I know myself well enough to know that I do not want to be -- and can't afford to be -- financially responsible for anyone other than myself. That said, I like kids and would probably be a pretty good dad. I just don't want the burden of having one of my own. I have enough on my plate taking care of myself and helping the ones I love.

Now, if I can be pretty clear about how unlikely having kids is for my future, obviously, women can have their own fixed rationale for not wanting / being able to have kids, and know the answer that is right for them, without sizing up their partner.

That's the thing about feminism. Women can actually make enlightened reproductive choices for themselves without needing a single bit of input from even the supposedly most enlightened male.

Funny how that works, innit?!
posted by markkraft at 10:16 AM on January 30, 2013


"How does anyone know if they even want kids without sizing up the partner they're with?"

In this here society in which we live, I think this is a question that many people can answer without having met a partner.

I, for one, am not particularly interested in the role of motherhood as our society (and, some - but not me - would argue, biology) designs it. Doesn't take a partner to know that I've no interest in acquiring another full-time job full of schlepping and ferrying and shopping and doctor appointments and cooking and cleaning, etc. etc., for a person who's unable to do all these things his or herself. Kodak moments aside, what I see is eighteen years of extremely hard and tiresome work, the majority of which would fall on my shoulders (cf gender norms referenced above). I have nothing but admiration for mothers. And as it stands, my partner would make an amazing dad, but his capabilities do not change the fact that I would not make a happy mom. Ergo, I've always known I probably won't have kids.

(Sure, I reserve the right to change my mind. But it won't be because I "found the right guy," although I'm pretty sure I've done that.)

Speaking of aforementioned right guy - I met him on OKC, and we're happily monogamous, and commitment was his inclination as much as it was mine. That makes this article all the more a mindfuck for me.

I expect, were he to chime in, he'd say that the biggest WTF is Jacob's seemingly effortless ability to get a date every night he wants one. From my understanding, it doesn't work that way for most guys on OKC - even devastatingly charming ones, like my SO. (Ahem. Totally objective here, I promise.)
posted by artemisia at 10:31 AM on January 30, 2013


Oof, incredibly sorry for inadvertently inspiring the well-worn "friend zone" derail.
At this point, my "friend zone" consists exclusively of my girlfriends' boyfriends/husbands plus a sprinkling of men I am not related to but consider to be my family to such a degree that dating them would feel like incest. Oh, and all of them want to have children. (I trust this is an acceptable excuse for not mining my "friend zone" any further.)

I agree that it seems super-dubious that Jacob was practically drowning in appealing date prospects on a night-by-night basis.
In my very limited time on OKC, I found that it was very easy to find people who said they wanted to meet up for dates, rather difficult to find people who would actually follow through on said dates, and next to impossible to meet people who were not seriously misrepresenting themselves in one way or another -- for example, the guy who continously referred to his ex-girlfriend of over a year as "my fiancee," or the guy who said he didn't want any kids and then waited until we met to ask me when I would like to meet his 9-year-old daughter, who he promised was so irresistibly cute that she might change my mind about popping one out myself.

Without Essure or some other sort of intervention, I likely have another 15 godforsaken years of possible reproductive capabilities. If online dating won't save me from the ol' "So, are you gonna have kids? No? Why not? Well, you'll probably change your mind. Maybe you just haven't met the right--" [:throat-punch:] convo, what the hell will?
posted by divined by radio at 11:22 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


lydhre: "I don't know, I went on one (1) online date and I married him. So."

Two OKCupid dates then marriage for me!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 PM on January 30, 2013


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