Love Is In The Depressed, Impoverished Air

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Apparently in a recession, no one wants to be alone. Good news for eHarmony!

According to the New York Times, romance is one of the few industries that’s booming. Online sites are up, matchmakers are booked, and singles events are bursting at the seams. It’s not hard to see why: dating this way is cheaper than going out on the town; less work means more time to devote to love; and more to the point, in times of uncertainty, people don’t want to be alone. Says one woman quoted in the article, “It’s an upsetting, depressing, scary time, and to have someone to relate to and to vent with would be nice.”

Priorities are different, too:

On Blackpeoplemeet.com, a site for black singles, the percentage of people listing “job” as a criterion when asked ‘What are you looking for in a partner?’ increased 18 percent from January 2008 to January 2009. (Other profiles are more direct: “Looking for a date for dinner, Dutch treat,” read one Match.com headline).

By contrast, other people quoted in the piece say that folks are now less materialistic and, perhaps brought low themselves by the economic reality, more inclined to look beyond a job title or paycheck – or arm candy.

The piece doesn’t mention it, but it seems like this upswing would help to remove the final remaining stigma from online dating. After all, at this point, beyond a drinks tab, there’s not much difference between online and real-life dating: the population is probably not dissimilar, the ratio of crazies to keepers pretty even, the chances of meeting the ‘real’ anyone pretty comparable. I’d call that a silver lining. It also seems likely that budget dating could speed up intimacy somewhat: are people more inclined to move up that more affordable cooking-and-video date, and all its implications? For that matter, does an increased interest in companionship extend to more sex? I couldn’t help but wonder – where’s our Depression-era Sex and the City when we need it, to decode the new language of love we’re all being forced to learn?

The Recession. Isn’t It Romantic? [New York Times]

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