On Valentine’s Day, one is absolutely the loneliest number. It helps if you can make plans with some single friends, but most people would prefer to be out with their perfect person.
My grandmother used to say, “There’s a cover for every pot.” But what do you when you can’t find your cover? As Forward editor Jane Eisner recently wrote in an editorial, many 30- and 40-something American Jews are single, and likely still searching. If you’re not Orthodox, you’re not turning to a shadchan. You have JDate, and you have mutual friends.
Recently, a series of major articles have raised the alarms on the demise of dating and marriage. Alex Williams’ New York Times piece “The End of Courtship” lamented the death of traditional, chivalrous dating, and Amy Webb’s Wall Street Journal story encouraged women to stretch the truth in their online dating profiles lest all the good men pass them by. In response to Dan Slater’s new book about technology’s effect on dating, “Love in the Time of Algorithms,” The Atlantic ran a series on online dating and whether or not it’s destroying monogamy. Each one heralded the end of romance, flowers on a first date, and all that Hugh Grant movies taught us to revere and expect.
However, even after my many negative 21st-century dating experiences, I don’t think dating and romance are dead; rather, they have evolved.
What people talking about the death of dating often forget is that for a long time, marriage existed primarily as an economic rather than romantic institution (see Stephanie Koontz’s Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage for more specifics). Dating has already evolved in response to economic and social changes to be more informal and varied in its ultimate romantic goal. For some, marriage isn’t even the endgame.