Man Theory – Dating In the Information Age, Part II. – Before the Millenium
In the days of William Wallace, courtship was a much more difficult task. In addition to keeping up with all of the latest Twitter feeds on the most up-to-date chivalrous tactics, one must also had known how to ride a horse, handle a sword, speak several different languages, and lead a revolutionary army against an imposing neighboring government! Thankfully, over the centuries, many of these tactics have fallen by the wayside, however a few still remain.
While the internet had been in existence for decades, the 90s gave birth to the first public online services. Places like Prodigy, CompuServe, and America Online became household names. For the first time in the history of man, one could create an entire virtual persona completely different than their physical self. Social chat rooms appeared where you would sign in and people would send you private messages with phrases such as “a/s” which meant “Age/Sex” then proceed. Although unknown at the time, this would become something big! Someone had the idea, “What if I could make money off of this?”
The answer came in 1995 when Match.com was born and the era of Cyberdating was officially launched. Now singles could take a “personality” test consisting of likes/dislikes and meet others with similar interest. Instead of spending weeks and months going on “dates” the old fashioned way where you might meet someone at a bar/party, you could now see at a glance all of a persons interest. What could be better? If she doesn’t like Sci-Fi and you love them, NEXT. If he doesn’t like Chocolate and Richard Simmons, NEXT. The possibilities were endless and millions flocked to these dating services such as eHarmony.com over the years.
But with it, a growing, unspoken layer of confusion started to arise. Just what did these relationships really mean? Is an online relationship a real relationship? Could a few e-mails back and forth make you a couple?
These questions are still being asked today.
In addition to the cyberdating realm, other services were also blossoming in the 90s.
“W W W DOT P L A Y B O Y DOT COM”
Did I spell it right? I double checked. My heart raced as I clicked to see if it was true. For years, there had been stories and rumors of pornography on the internet. From the second our internet connection had been set up, my Dad had barely made his way up the stairs before the thinly clad women appeared before me. Even though it was the early 90s and I was still in middle school at the time I happily agreed to being 18 and I CHOSE to enter. This was the start of a healthy and lengthy relationship between internet pornography and me and one in which all of my friends would became intimately familiar with for years to come. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t learn how to clear the web browser “History” until a few months later. FAIL.
Whether you are using Smoke Signals or the latest Google Wave, people are going to find a way to use technology to communicate and as a result, how we interact with each other. While some view technology as harmful to relationships and leads to misinterpretation, others view technology as helping us stay-in-touch. How has technology changed your dating life?
Coming up next… Part III.