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Friday, November 9, 2012

FINDING A MATE

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Dating and matchmaking as another casualty of technology.

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I've been married to the same lovely lady for over 30 years now and if something were to happen to us, I don't think I would ever re-marry. Been there, done that. Not everyone shares my view though and desperately needs to be attached to someone. My wife and I originally met in high school, one of about five couples from our class who married their sweetheart. Others found their mate in college, others at work, or in the locale where they lived. During the 1970's, it was common to cruise the discos in search of love or whatever. In a way, it was reminiscent of SNL's The Festrunk Brothers (Czech Brothers) routine. There certainly was a lot of polyester back then. Disco though had a short life, thank God, and the bar scene was the predominant means to meet the opposite sex. This lifestyle could be rather expensive and lead to alcoholism and other problems, but it was what it was.

Today it's much different. People rarely socialize in group settings, dancing has diminished greatly, and people are stuck staring at their computer screens or texting on their smart phones. The bar scene is still active but not like it once was. For years, there were "Personal" columns in the newspapers for lonely people to find others. In order to save a nickle or two, a shorthand was used in the personals to describe people and their interests, such as: SWM, DWF, BMF, etc. The "personals" are still around of course, but the predominant means now is to seek companionship through social media on the Internet. Instead of writing and waiting for personals to appear in print, Internet dating services are the venue du jour. This is another example of how we are sacrificing socialization for speed and efficiency. People seem to prefer the Internet for their matchmaking as they can read the background and qualifications of a person, and see their photo. It also provides some pretty impressive sorting features in order to assemble a list of potential candidates.

If you are on the dating scene, you know there is now an extensive list of dating sites available to you. The big guns seem to be:


Interestingly, newer sites have been introduced based on your religious inclination, for example:


Even ethnic dating sites are now available:


And there is one tailored to seniors as well:


There are so many dating sites now, you can find one for just about any religion, ethnic background, or city and state. However, I struck out when I searched for Lithuanian singles who are with the Salvation Army. I guess there are still limitations.

I have met subscribers to these on-line dating services who tell me these venues are "snake pits" (their words) where people want to live in Fantasy Land. There seems to be a lot of people who want to travel to Europe, walk on the beach, drive around in luxury cars, eat at fine restaurants, or sip wine on the back of a yacht. They want someone else to pay for it of course. Unfortunately, there's no mention of fiscal responsibility.

Then there is "Speed Dating," a relatively new concept where men and women circulate in an organized manner whereby they are given a few scant minutes to meet and quickly determine if they find someone suitable for dating. I guess this was inevitable for a technology induced go-go world. We used to do something similar when we went dancing years ago. It wasn't quite as structured as "Speed Dating," but I think it was a lot more fun.

In bygone times, if you were single, your choices were either the bar scene, neighborhood parties, church groups, work, or you would have a friend or relative on the lookout for a suitable match for you. I'm not saying this worked any better than today, but I suspect it was more interesting. Today there are professional matchmakers who earn a rather handsome amount of money by teaming people up.

Despite all of the technological advancements we have made, dating and matchmaking is still a rough sport. People of both sexes agonize on finding the right man or woman. Even with these slick Internet based dating services, it remains difficult to find a suitable match. Rarely does the person live up to their photo or description on the dating site. What I find particularly comical about all this though is after a couple has finally secured a date, they go to a restaurant, sit down, order their drinks and meal, then spend the rest of the evening checking their text messages.

God how I miss the 20th century.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.