Dating and the Internet II

Back in December, Scott wrote about internet dating. I’m single again, and as I’m hardly likely to meet anyone sitting in an office in Toowong by myself writing a thesis, I’m giving cyberdating a go. I don’t want to write about my experiences, as I don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy (including my own!), but I do have a few reflections of my own. One good thing about it is that you can search for potential partners based on a range of variables – including things like level of education and politics. But I think this also comes with a negative – it very much resembles a checklist based on “ideal” criteria whereas the wonder of another person you’re attracted to often transcends it. My other thought is that while lots of people are time poor, and it’s often been said that the “traditional” ways of meeting a partner are no more, there is a certain sense in which online dating commodifies the search for a partner. In Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds, sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues that we’ve come to see relationships as somewhat ephemeral, and our pair-bonding behaviours resemble patterns of consumption. But Bauman’s a notorious pessimist (appropriately so for a Weberian), and I’m happy to report that I’ve been in touch with some fascinating people, and it’s all good so far as far as I’m concerned. And it’s kinda handy for net addicts who like writing!

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Be careful about those variables – my old boss wrote a list of her ideal man when her first marriage ended. She found a man who she dearly loves, who fulfilled all her “selection criteria”. Sadly, she had forgotten to list “sense of humour”.

Oh, and by the way, Mark, is it possible that you’re procrastinating?

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Actually, I’m not Zoe. I normally fess up! The whole idea of renting a space with aircon and no internet access and no-one to talk to is working really well – I’m getting lots done and benefitting from treating it like a job – hence I’ve got my nights free!

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Well, that’s alright then.

Happy hunting.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Or now that Troppodillo has turned into quite the artistic salon of late Mark, you could just cruise the comment threads looking for a soulmate based on their choice of literature, music and film.

And Evil Pee can give you advice on how to avoid predatory entanglements, where they’re only after your, ahem, DNA. Bonus!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Nabs, yep, we’ve been awfully confessional at late at Troppo in our new literary/cultural mode.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

So what Internet dating agency are you using, Mark (he asks casually).

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Follow the second link, Ken.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

How old are you again (he asks equally casually)?

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

A gentleman never asks, Ken. Mid-30s, shall we say?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I’ve never claimed to be a gentleman (and seldom been accused).

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Well, I did say I was protecting my privacy, Ken :)

jen
jen
2022 years ago

Mark, he’s gotcha.

Thankgod I thought he was a closet!

Best of luck

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Cheers, jen!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jen and I both reckon that luvmuffin is definitely the one for you. She’s a fun-loving girl who loves pets and actually has some (although she doesn’t say what sort). It looks as if she probably can’t read as such though, which might be a problem. But then again you do enough of that for both of you. Conversation around the dinner table might be a bit one-dimensional, but then she probably has an equivocal view of post-modernism too.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’m touched by your and jen’s solicitude.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

You’ve kept him occupied all evening. He’s been leering myopically at your dating site for hours.
Since you started broadcasting your love life strategies my arse is right out the window. I am the washing machine that cooks only. As far as Parish is concerned 794 in the bush is better than one coughing, sneezing and nose blowing at close quarters.
The relationship is wrecked. Luckily I have the Super Size Me Singles Site to keep me company in my lost, cold, wheezing, loneliness, despair and rejection.
And Susy Khruse is a remarkable woman. She introduced us and then wished she hadn’t and hasn’t spoken to Parish since. I guess that makes her a kind of recalcitrant dating agent.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

It’s after midnight (EST) so it looks like jen and Ken are about to get all Woolfish again.

Who’s up for bhindi mix, popcorn, vodka, rum and fruit-based mixers – and a comfy seat with a good view of the screen?

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

‘…online dating commodifies the search for a partner. .. our pair-bonding behaviours resemble patterns of consumption.’

These are separate things, though. The search for a partner has always been ‘commodified’ in traditional societies, whether in the fiorm of arranged marriages, ‘coming out’ balls, or some other social gathering geared to matching. If payment of a dowry doesn’t make a wife a commoditry, what does? But that’s got nothing to do with relationships being ephemeral, hedonistic or consumption-like. On the partnerships forged in these traditional partner markets were for life, overwhelmingly a form of investment rather than consumption.

The ephemeral, hedonistic type of relationship has also always had elements of a commodity market. But this type of relationship in the last three decades has been evolving rapidly as women have become more independent. Previously men ‘bought’ hedonistic sex from prostitutes, mistresses, and workplace underlings. Now it is negotiated on much more equal terms, and men are expected to supply pleasure and fun rather than just money and patronage. That’s what’s new about the dating game, not that it’s a market, nor that it’s hedonistic.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Sorry. ‘On the partnerships forged..’ should read ‘On the contrary, partnerships forged..’

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

oh dear oh dear. I now have images of Ken and Mark hooking up over the net.

http://www.domilog.be/media/183/20040823-cybersex.jpg

dk.au
dk.au
2022 years ago

For those interested, the paper Mark mentioned in the first post on internet dating is available here:

http://www.tasa.org.au/conferencepapers04/content.html

blank
blank
2022 years ago

“If payment of a dowry doesn’t make a wife a commoditry, what does?”

I must say I have never understood the principle behind the dowry. Why should the father pay the groom to enslave his daughter?

Bride Prices make sense. In the agrarian societies where it is practised, the bride’s family is losing a productive worker, and the groom’s family is gaining one, with extra services thrown in.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Good point. I meant bride price. I guess dowries are paid in societies where parents invest much more in boys than girls in a given socioeconomic stratum. If you want your daughter and your grandchildren to stay in the same stratum, it’s only fair that you compensate the groom’s parents for their greater contibution to the new household’s human capital.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Told ya, Mark.

If yer on a blind date and looking for a designated dick watcher, Evil Pee’s yer man…sorry, male person.

And when the conversation flags, as it will when you discover she works in marketing, Evil Pee can pick the ball up with all his enthrallingly endless stories of being milked by harpies, houris and harlots.

I can see the poster.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Evil should worry less about sperm theft and more about brain theft.

Christian McCrea
2022 years ago

Mark, love your blog – gone back to this post, which I loved. Good luck in the cyberdating game!

(this is from comments in my blog, I mentioned this post and said something like this:)

I’ve met a good number of people who I’ve had relationships with over the internet, in some cases maintaining some of the communication in public forums. (that doesn’t work very well, by the way.)

I’ve had (and have) crushes on bloggers, which is so strange when you want to believe that no you can’t replicate the real experience of someone’s charisma, these words are only an object of expulsion. That, however, does not account for the writing pleasure of a relationship between writerly people. Aphorism becomes saccharin. Debate becomes saccharin. Love blooms between comment threads, even. Self-knowledge and knowledge about self are more likely to be deconstructed. Zygmunt Bauman is great, but he misses the point when he looks at ephmerality, it is awareness that is the issue. Cyberdating (and meeting real dates in the cyber) forces the issues that were always there to the forefront, to the spoken and written. More of the wet hand touches the plastic sheet.

… also, it should be said I’m attracted to artists, theorists and dilletante of the wired world, so *maybe* I’m predisposed.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks, Christian!

On blogger crushes, if anyone wants to email me, you know where to find me :)

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

jeezus, Mark, you’re a blog-slut:-)

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

for the record. I do not have a crush on Mark B.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Nabs has no reason to be jealous, Francis…

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Like I’d be jealous of what that Jesuitical bimbo with his well-trimmed beard and trim figure, encased in a wasp-waisted, calvary-cut trouser, single vent, pinstriped suit, got up to online. Aside from his ahem “arrangement” with the Black Pope, he’s a free man…in this world.

Crap tie though.

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

now i know i’ve been away a couple of weeks – yes, no, it was nice thanks – but things have gone wierd in the sphere – miss tits and mark’s online courting enterprise and WA election results.

MEANWHILE – Cheney runs amok!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

When politics become too depressing to write about, wbb, we retreat to panem et circenses…