by Brian Clarey
- Dating sites
In reading Eric Ginsburg’s cover story this week, “Okay, Cupid,” I was struck by changes in the dating scene that have transpired in the years since my own dating life ended back in 1998. There was no OkCupid back then — not even much of an internet to speak of. I met my wife the old-fashioned way: in a bar.
- Social media
So it goes without saying that none of the wonderful internet-enabled dating mechanisms were around when I was out looking for women, among them social media sites like Facebook, which I believe would have improved my odds considerably, especially during college. Our version of social media at Loyola in New Orleans was a series of benches in the Peace Quad where, if you sat long enough, every student at the school would eventually walk by.
- Ubiquitous cell phones
By the late 1990s, a lot of people had cell phones, but they had yet to even come close to critical mass among Americans. We still made booty calls, but you had to hope the person on the other end of the line was home when you placed them. We had phone-sex lines too, which were a total ripoff… or so I’ve heard.
While most reasonable people know that Craigslist is not the place to look for a date — or, for that matter, a job — there still is an awful lot of sex-trolling — ahem, I mean dating — going on. Back inna day, if you wanted to find this kind of action you had to look in the back pages of less reputable newspapers or go straight to the porn-shop bulletin board. And just like now, the odds were good but the goods were odd.
Tinder and other hook-up apps, which use photos and GPS to broker short-term romantic liaisons between willing adults, feels to people of my generation sort of like cheating. It’s as if everyone in the neighborhood willing to have sex on any given night was wearing a special nametag or something. On the upside, it was a lot harder to catch a venereal disease when I was dating.