The Commercialization of Dating

According to onlinedatingpost.com, the dating industry is a $1billion dollar market, consisting of 850 date sites in 2005 alone. From the beginning of the decade industry revenues increased year over year by 70% but slowed down by 10% in 2006 to $649 million,and the industry is projected to grow by 8% until 2011, according to Jupiter Research. On average most sites charge about $35 dollars a month. Match.com has 1.3 million members, and earned $350 million dollars in 2007. The other major player in the industry is eHarmony.The company generates annual revenues of $200 million dollars with a 30% yearly growth rate, has 17 million members, 230 employees, and produces about 90 marriages a day that have so far added 100,000 children to the population, courtesy of onlinedatingpost.com.

interracial-dating

The cost of dating extends beyond the date sites, indirect costs of dating such as money spent on dinners, contraceptives, and extra money spent on gas to drive to meet with a date, can accumulate, increasing the cost of dating beyond the $35 dollars a month one spends on the membership. One friend of mine who dated quite often told me he had to cut back on dating, because paying for dinners ended up costing him between $100-$200 dollars a week. He also mentioned, sometimes he would spend up to $200 dollars on one date alone.

Dating is a lucrative business that may be recession proof. Even in economic downturns people will continue to search for love. Although the growth of the dating industry is slowing down, this does not indicate people will stop searching for love, especially dealing with date sites. If people are returning to more traditional avenues of meeting someone, such as bars, date sites may have to start forming partnerships with bars to sustain or increase their membership base. Advertising on bar menus and sponsoring single’s nights may be coming soon.

Date sites are businesses that sell memberships to people searching for love, or just people looking to improve their social life, by meeting someone new. In selling memberships there is advertising, and advertising may lead to false impressions. eHarmony for example, admittedly is rather methodical in its approach to matchmaking and 90 marriages a day stands as testimony that they may be doing something right. However, the impression provided by the commercials, is that eHarmony is the site to go to if one wishes to seriously meet someone for a long term relationship. The questionnaire potential eHarmony members must fill out is lengthy and takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.The 436 item questionnaire includes, questions about one’s sexuality, activity level, and religious preferences. According to USAToday.com, eHarmony rejects less then %10 of its prospective members, and that includes people who have been married four or more times,and those who are in their early twenties.

Speaking from experience, after about 30 minutes of careful reading, my application was rejected, because eHarmony could not find a match for me. I felt disappointed as I asked myself, ” How could this be?” ” I thought they had a good way of matching people up? ” Although eHarmony is successful in producing marriages, one is likely to say the advertising is misleading after spending 15-30 minutes filling out an application only to be rejected. I also signed up with Americansingles.com, and after emailing about about 20 people, with no response, after a while I stopped checking the site. About 5 members emailed me, 1 of them was 50 years old, and 4 out of the 5 lived out of state. One appeared to be spam, but I sent an email to her anyways because she lived in Tampa, Fl. There was one member who left her phone number. I called her, and I left a message, but she never called me back.

Besides the date sites, there are books about dating that add to the commercialization of dating. These books provide tips and dating philosophies enabling one to perform well on dates. Dating from this method is reduced to perspectives. Consider this site’s perspective on dating for example. http://www.alovelinksplus.com has a link, “Best Conversation Topics For Dates”, that outlines how to converse with women on dates.The author of the site, David Deangelo mentions, making fun of celebrities, and other people on dates, are good conversation topics that could inject humor into the situation. This method may have worked for Deangelo, but not for others. Some suggest simple conversations about life ,movies, and work are good enough to keep things interesting.

With all the advertisements about dating, some may feel that they have to date, and that being single is problematic. My close friends date heavily and they do not like being alone for too long. This may be due to basic loneliness that is not all related to the advertisements, but being reminded through advertisement that someone is out there waiting for you can be quite burdensome, especially if a person does not like being alone. However, these companies cannot stop advertising because people feel pressured to date. Finding someone takes time. Many seeking love have to date quite a number of people before they eventually meet someone as a life long companion.

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Sanctioned Racism: Contempt for Interracial Relationships

Would you tell this half black, half white girl that you don’t believe in interracial marriages? Would you admit that the thought of your offspring dating someone of another race makes you nauseous?

Does the thought of your baby girl bringing home a black man make you cringe? If so, would you tell me?

Would you tell this half black, half white girl that you don’t believe in interracial marriages? Would you admit that the thought of your offspring dating someone of another race makes you nauseous?

As a black girl growing up in an all-white, dusty California town, I heard it more than once: “I’d date you, but my parents just don’t believe in interracial relationships.” At the time, too young to understand the implications of such a statement, I would nod my head, reassuring my friend that I understood and wasn’t upset.

It wasn’t until years later, that I understood what my friend’s parents really meant by that statement.

Here in America, you would be hard pressed to find a white person who would use the “N” word, at least in front of a black person. Incredibly though, many in this country have little problem admitting that either they, or their parents, have issues with interracial dating. These individuals will often accompany their belief with a disclaimer stating that either they, or their parents, are not racists. They might talk about the diverse friends that they have, or how interested in other cultures they are. They might even defend their parents by describing how “warm” or “nice” they are. Occasionally, though, these individuals will give an honest assessment, and admit that it isn’t so much that their parents are old-fashioned, but that they are either blatantly racist, or sadly ignorant.

Where does this socially accepted aversion come from?

It isn’t just whites that loathe mixing their lineage. Blacks and other races feel the same way. These people often feel “betrayed” when one of their own dips outside of sanctioned territory. They label them “traitors”, making great assumptions about the type of people they are: “Black men that date white women are intimated by women of color.” or “White women are easy.”

Others are threatened. White men are often challenged by angry black men for dating one “not” of their own. Ironically, half of the time, these black men are also guilty of dating outside their race.

So why do people do this? More importantly though, why do we accept this not so subtle racism?

“People fear what they don’t know.”

Man, that phrase is getting old. More likely, people fear what they have ignorantly made assumptions about. People don’t want their white daughter dating a black man because they believe black men are deadbeats and will cheat on her. People don’t want their white son dating a black girl because “what will people think?”

What all of these ignorant fools don’t seem to understand is that the success of their child’s union with another is not determined by what race they are, but by the values and morals they both share. What these bigots also don’t seem to comprehend is that anytime a family merges with another, regardless of race, there are going to be differences, oftentimes great. Instead of sheltering their children from dating outside of their race, they should be ensuring their child knows how to choose a valuable partner. That is what will ensure a happy and successful union.

Perhaps then we can rid America of this blatant racism.