Online dating economy
“It’s unprecedented.”For most of human history, the choice of life partner was limited by class, location and parental diktat.
In the 19th and 20th centuries those constraints were weakened, at least in the West.
Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.The internet is the primary meeting space for same-sex pairings, whether casual or more than casual: 70% of same-sex relationships start online.“This is a very big shift in how people find their partners,” observes Reuben Thomas, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico.The bicycle increased young people’s choices immeasurably; so did city life.But freed from their villages, people faced new difficulties: how to work out who was interested, who was not and who might be, if only they knew you were.
The husbandry involved was, potentially, that of “A gentleman about 30 Years of Age, that says He has a Very Good Estate”; the trade was an offer to “Willingly match himself to some Good Young Gentlewoman, that has a fortune of £3,000 or thereabouts.”The personal ad went on to become a staple of the newspaper business, and remained so for centuries.