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In spite of all the technological hoohah, familiar patterns do prevail: empathy breeds intimacy, expectation alienates, safety fosters communication, silence inspires defensiveness, the more things change, the more they stay the same: The process of selecting and securing a partner, whether for conceiving and rearing children, or for enhancing one’s socioeconomic standing, or for attempting motel-room acrobatics, or merely for finding companionship in a cold and lonely universe, is as consequential as it can be inefficient or irresolute.Lives hang in the balance, and yet we have typically relied for our choices on happenstance—offhand referrals, late nights at the office, or the dream of meeting cute.It’s fascinating if a little unsettling, and clearly a goldmine for social scientists.That said, while it may be a new context, the human heart is still the human heart and sexual politics can only ebb and flow so much.
They approach the primeval mystery of human attraction with a systematic and almost Promethean hand.
The term for this is “trading up.” It can lead you to think that your opportunities are virtually infinite, and therefore to question what you have. Most of the Internet dating sites still rely, as TACT did, on the questionnaire. A common observation, about both the Internet dating world and the world at large, is that there is an apparent surplus of available women, especially in their thirties and beyond, and a shortage of recommendable men.