“Love letters straight from the heart, keep up so near while apart…”
Do people actually still write love letters the way our parents and grandparents used to? Songwriters Victor Young and Edward Heyman of the song Love Letters probably lived in an era when it was de rigueur to compose an eloquent note to your loved one to keep the flames of love burning at high octane.
Today, the rule has changed. In the interest of the environment and for the sake of brevity and clarity, e-mails have taken the place of parchment letters. In grandma’s time, it was okay to write, “my dear fair-skinned maiden endowed with rare beauty, I give you my undying love and affection”. These days, we start our greeting with “hey!”, and if we have thirty seconds to spare, we may add “thinkin’ of you…what’s up?”
That’s just one of the signs of the changing world of dating. There are other signs…
Dating Game is a Changin’ – More Signs
Want more signs that this field is going through a kind of evolution that’s faster than what Einstein envisioned? You may have seen them yourself. If not, all it takes is for you to visit the dating sites on cyberspace. Browse through the subjects. We did that today, January 13, 2007, and these were the topics on the landing page of one site:
- Single in the Suburbs, Part 22 – Seriously, how much can be written about being single and living in the suburbs? If there were 21 parts before this topic, people must think being single in the suburbs generates enough philosophical discussion to merit 22 parts and more. Can this subject really rank up there with James Michener’s Hawaii?;
- Suddenly Single – We read the first two paragraphs of the article and it had nothing to do with being suddenly single at all. It was actually a woman writing for advice on how to deal with a situation that resembles something very close to couples swapping. You know, that story where a couple meets another couple, become good friends and do everything together, until one husband falls in love with the other’s wife and vice versa;
- Online Dating: Three Key Rules – On reading the article, the topic wasn’t so much online dating etiquette for the general dating population but was targeted more towards single parents dating other single parents. It was written by Rachel Greenwald who wrote that famous book, Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School. If we remember correctly, that book stirred some excitement among women of that age group who were still trying to snare a significant other.
- Gay Dating: Different Political Loyalties – This man is dating another man who meets all his criteria for the perfect match. There’s just one issue: his date is a Republican and he’s a Democrat – hard core Democrat to boot. It’s obviously an issue that has to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly, no matter how swell the relationship is going.
Strange topics, no? We won’t do a complete rundown here for you, but these are the kinds of subjects that are flooding dating sites and are conveying the message that dating is now categorized as a discipline, a science, a type of human exercise that’s subject to a defined protocol. Leaders in power abide by international diplomatic protocol, and it looks like the same is true for dating in the 21st century.
Someone should come up with a sort of Dating Declaration outlining one’s “constitutional” rights. With all the books published on dating and relationships, these developments are an indication that the world of relationships and dating has changed – radically.
Anything goes. What’s happening in the dating scene could make our grandparents shudder. Take that fellow who wrote asking for advice, profoundly troubled by the fact that he’s a Democrat and his love interest is Republican. We can’t see why the relationship can’t be allowed to flourish – he did say it was the perfect match. The only thing they should avoid is to VOTE TOGETHER. They can sleep, eat, dance, shower and pray together. They just have to keep the ballots separate. Is that so difficult to digest these days? Why, in heaven’s name, is it an issue at all? We’d probably be wasting our time trying to answer that question. Apparently, there will always be a handful of mortals who do make a big deal of it. So, unless you’re prepared to engage in a sociological discussion with us, we won’t attempt to do a mini treatise on the subject.
Would professors, perhaps, be willing to expound on the subject?
Changing the Change
Changing the change? No, it’s not a mere question of semantics. We’re not trying to be glib or engage in word play. We’ll explain.
Our online research on dating has revealed these facts: first, dating sites have raked in tremendous revenue because they focused on a market niche: human beings’ need to connect. Second, this market niche opened doors for diversification – diversification as a business strategy and a wealth creation tool. Third, instead of staying close to the traditional model; that is, finding a mate, dating sites now accommodate segments of the population that don’t necessarily want a mate but only want friendship via e-mail. They’ve closed their minds to dating, but enjoy the pleasures of e-mail exchanges. Fourth, because of this spirit of accommodation, site users now number in the millions: gay and lesbians have been included, articles and relationships coaching issues have been added, and there’s the “offshoot” business: health and weight topics, grooming, spa destinations, travel discounts, specialized, theme-based matching (“Jewish boy wants to meet nice Jewish girl” or “I’m a former military service officer excited to meet another military person”). The possibilities are limitless.
Talk about dating and residual by-products! We’re now getting to that part about explaining “changing the change.”
We were surprised when this site, supposedly based in Vancouver, pops into our screen. We won’t mention the name, but suffice it to say that it represents a refreshing change to the changing world of dating. From the point of view of site owners, a dating site is only successful in the number of users and the membership fees they generate. This web site does NOT charge any membership fees.
That’s why we say it’s a refreshing change. Rare is a site that won’t charge nickels, dimes and dollars for searching that significant other.
This one’s on the house.
It claims to be # 1 in Canada, # 6 in the US and # 9 in the UK. As to the question, how many new members do they get a month, their answer is “this is a meaningless number but our membership grows at about 7.5% every month.” They operate with four volunteers manning the site, 5.2 million user postings and over 200 forums.
The site attributes its success to the fact that it is free and manages to find the perfect match for members “without asking 436 questions.” Out of curiosity, we typed in some data, thinking that because it’s a free site, the turnout would either be dismally low (since it isn’t that well known) or outrageously high (because it’s free).
The results weren’t bad at all, for a freebie site. Our sense of humor was awakened when one of the results churned out this blurb from a man:
“…I weigh 200 pounds, black hair, blue eyes and am in good shape. I like working out at the gum 3 to 5 times a week…”
“Gum” was most likely a typing error and he meant to say “gym” but if he really meant it, that’s not so unusual a fetish. It does come close to kissing…and 3 to 5 times a week sounds about average.
The changing world of dating is really all about meeting faceless and nameless strangers, until one of the two online daters decides to put a face on the name. It’s about playing safe and dating blindly until…well…you believe that investing in a video camera and installing it on your computer is worth spending the extra dollars for.
The changing world of dating is about investing time, money or both, and taking a risk on an unknown commodity. The ability to turn that commodity into a human being whom you’d want to cherish and love forever lies in you and you alone.