I recently attended a European (read: interesting, and forward thinking) conference called Hyper Island for my digital advertising job. Hyper Island explored the relationship between the Internet and advertising, particularly in social media. One of the speakers mentioned that the Internet has sparked the biggest cultural shift since the industrial revolution.
During the discussion, I pondered how much the internet has changed the dating world. And then I moved on to wondering what other entities or inventions changed dating through time. Here's what I came up with:
There were a number of movements that minimized the influence of religion, and empowered scientific and societal shifts. For example, Darwin's theory of evolution challenged the notion that women were created from a dude's rib. It turned us into animals essentially; and proposed that we choose mates — a dark haired mate, or a mate with a huge bank account — due to unconscious natural selection.
Even the first words muttered on the telephone were "date-like." Bell said to his assistant: "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." OK, so he wasn't asking him on a date, but he would eventually shape how we date: Getting a phone number became part of the modern mating ritual. In the old days it was written on a piece of paper in a bar, and these days it's punched into a cell phone.
The "Free Love" movement was originally a rejection of marriage, but also kick-started sexual liberation. It ushered us into modern times: decades of decadence and excess followed in the wake of the conservative '50s.
One of my favorite Eddie Cochran songs, "She's Somethin' Else," chronicles a dude wanting a particular car that will help him land the lady he fancies. Cars are dating vehicles: a cool one makes a guy more attractive. In high school, cars helped us get to our dates and provided a place to make out.
A deadly disease sobered society after the free-wheeling '70s. The best way to prevent this disease was through abstinence. I'll forever blame AIDS for my horrible sex life growing up. I wish I grew up in the '70s. AIDS doused the intoxicating flames of the '60s with a deadly reality.
Nowadays, people can meet online, making the world much smaller. I'm sure the Internet has saved many a long distance relationship that would have died before Skype and email, but it has also complicated communication in dating. We have so many choices.
Googling someone can reveal deal breakers before you even go out with a person. And of course, you can stalk someone seamlessly across the internet if you choose that creepy course. We have yet to see all the changes that the Internet has brought to dating, and I think it's the biggest change in dating since secularism.
What do you think has changed dating most drastically?