never married, over forty, a little bitter


Gender-wise, two characters stand out from the book: Jacob and Alexis. They reflect a popular stereotype: He’s happily playing the field and she’s struggling trying to find a guy who will stick around. Was that intentional? Did you find that to be the dominant gender script?

I would shy away a little bit from “dominant gender script,” just because I find gender scripts these days to be so varied and it’s hard to pin down a dominant one. But there was definitely a lot of thought — I interviewed over 100 online daters for the book, and obviously I don’t have 100 online daters in the book, so I put a lot of thought into who I used, and a big part of the decision had to do with how reflective the experiences of the characters are of the rest of the people I interviewed. So, yes, I did find their experiences and their opinions and thoughts reflective of large swaths of people I interviewed for the book.

near misses

Last year my online dating experiences looked a lot like this:

But even at its best, online dating was like this for me:

And with my spirits high, I go on these dates and hope for the best. More often than not, I have a good time; almost as often, there’s no second date. Online dating may make it easier to connect with attractive singles who share your taste in pop culture, but it doesn’t guarantee a lasting interest or deeply felt connection. And after awhile, I find my enthusiasm beginning to fade, as it becomes harder to gin up interest in meeting a stranger for an evening that’s unlikely to lead to anything of consequence. Unlike Jacob, the longer I engage in online dating, the more I find myself craving some semblance of genuine connection; the more I find myself desperate to find someone I truly, deeply like so that I can break free from the endless, exhausting parade of first dates.

Which brings me to the strange irony of my experiments with online dating: Though an online dating site landed me my first serious relationship, in the 12 years since, it’s never led to one again. Oh, it’s brought me brief flings and best friends and plenty of interesting experiences, but—despite the sense of possibility, and continued feeling of promise—it’s rarely paired me up with anyone I felt a deep, lasting connection with. Online dating may offer up the illusion of infinite choice, but it quickly reveals itself to be a world full of close calls and near misses. And though some may see that as a reason to continually dig in search of an endlessly more perfect match, to me, it just makes even the hint of real commitment feel all the more precious. And when I find myself in the presence of someone I actually, genuinely feel for, I’m hardly inclined to dive back into the morass of Internet dating to see if there’s anything better: no, when I find something that wonderful, I hold onto it and run as far away from the online personals as I possibly can.

going gaga

The chapter Gaga Relations: The End of Marriage in the book Gaga Feminism by J. Jack Halberstam is worth reading in its entirety, but here are a few choice bits:

In terms of principled opposition to gay marriage, some queer scholars have tried to expose the ways in which young people are led to believe that marriage and babies represent the only future within which they can live out their adult desires. And so, we lead young girls in particular to believe that they will be swept naturally along from one life-defining event to another– that love leads to marriage, marriage to babies, babies to family contentment, and that once in the shelter of the family, life will be sweet, simple, and fulfilling. And for some people, fairy tales really do come true. But for most of us, the arc along which our lives will play out will be considerably more complicated than this normal timeline implies. There will be stops and starts, ups and downs, and the family, rather than a sanctuary, may for many be a kind of prison that we assiduously avoid. p. 111

Marriage, the supposedly “big” event in the life of a young person, is, as so many feminists have pointed out, as much of an ending as a beginning… and for too many people, especially young women, alternative life paths are shut down, by themselves and society, almost before they have even been considered.
p. 112

Making the wedding into the money shot of the rom-com means raising and then overturning all objections to marriage in order to make the wedding meaningful, hard won, and a triumph
. p. 118

While screenplay writers get rich by feeding this shit into a machine and turning out one bad script after another, the marriage myth grows while the divorce rate rockets upward. Hell, we could all write these scripts in our spare time… they resist each other, break up, nearly get back together again but don’t and then do. pp. 120-121

spring break

I’m happy enough to stay living here into the fall as far as my personal life but the job may force me out of here sooner:

Why Companies Should Pay Attention

Data about the latter has been growing. Over 10 years ago the World Health Organization elevated the status of “workplace stress” (a broad term including the impact of unhealthy management) to that of a “worldwide epidemic.” Today, the impact of an unhealthy workplace environment on the employee is estimated to cost American companies $300 billion a year in poor performance, absenteeism and health costs.

Similarly, a report by the International Labor Organization back in 2000 found that work-related emotional conflicts were already costing the U.S. about 200 million lost workdays each year. Such conflicts are also one of the most common health problems in EU countries. A European survey found that 28% of workers reported emotional conflicts caused by work. Similar data have been reported by Canadian businesses. And in Japan, a survey found the percentage shot up from 53% in 1982 to 63% in 1997. All of these numbers are likely to have grown in the years since they surveys were conducted.

And, they may be just the tip of the iceberg. Workers often cite the physical symptoms, such as headaches, chronic pain or digestive disorders as their reason for taking leave, when untreated mental health problems are the underlying cause. In fact, research shows that emotional conflict can weaken the immune system and make people more vulnerable to a host of illnesses.

So companies have a clear stake in defining emotionally harmful management practices as a human rights issue. By not taking steps to create more positive, healthier environments they undermine the performance and commitment of workers through the lost workdays, diminished productivity and less innovation.