Outsourced Romance

Soft-focus Washington Post article on what I guess you’d call dating consultants observes “And in a nation that relies on personal trainers and wardrobe consultants, outsourcing the search for love isn’t all that surprising.”

That seems backwards to me — long before there were personal trainers or wardrobe consultants, people were outsourcing the search for, if not love, then at least marriage. Arranged marriages being, of course, a very common practice historically speaking. And even as we moved into more love-and-romance oriented times, there continued to be a robust explicit infrastructure (often involving school- or church-based dances) to get people to date. Of course the “fix up” by friends is incredibly common. And even a person not interested in doing anything quite as heavy-handed as a fix up is still going to, if he knows two single people of appropriately matched genders and sexual orientations who he thinks might like each other, try to introduce them.

The strange thing isn’t the rise of businesses that cater to our strong need for third party support of romantic activities, the strange thing is the modern day convention of pretending to believe that people in some sense “should” get together through pure serendipity.