Ariely points out that typical online dating websites break people down into “searchable attributes” such as height, weight, income, and political views.
These websites operate on the mistaken assumption that people are easy to describe on the basis of such attributes. You might be able to describe the wine you drink, but that doesn’t matter very much.
But, however, it is widely unclear how these different competing logics – the ideal of romantic love on the one hand, the principals of efficiency and economic rationality on the other – are actually interwoven in the practice of online dating and how people deal with the contradictions and ambivalences that may appear as a result.
It’s the full experience of spending time with someone that tells you whether you like a person or not.
Sixty years ago if you were of marrying age, you’d most likely select someone based on how your parents felt about it; how healthy the person appeared to be; how good/moral their character appeared to be; and how stable their economic resources appeared to be. These are the types of questions and answers we consider when we study dating and mate selection.
Now of those, how many would you be attracted to as a date and how many can you tell just by watching them that you’d probably never date?
Nielson research last year found most Australians (51 per cent) had either tried online dating or would consider doing so.
This is fast becoming the mainstream way singles find each other. I covered many of the topics I find myself discussing each day with my dating clients.