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The newest additions to the dating game

January 22, 2015
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

When Adam and Eve took up their short-term residence in the Garden of Eden, there was no competition for attention. One man. One woman. An easy match. But, as we know, that was Paradise.

Since then, males and females have had a never-ending struggle to find a suitable mate among the available supply.

Down through the years, there have been changes in the approach, but the basics have remained the same. Men are often swayed by looks and personality. Women are drawn to partners who have good prospects for the future and are interested in a long-term commitment.

But, whatever the two sexes are seeking, the greatest difference in today's world is the time involved in the search. Like everything in the post 2000-era, the dating game is often stripped down to the absolute minimum time frame.

Today, at least in this country, there are none of those long, well-chaperoned courtships of the 1700s and 1800s. No longer does dear old Dad interview the prospective son-in-law about his intentions. No longer does the suitor ask for the damsel's hand in marriage.

Those who study the dating scene have reported that humans are still seeking the attributes they've always been drawn to, but they're putting far less time into the process.

Proof of this is the ever-growing number of Internet sites devoted to bringing together hes and shes who are searching for mates.

Another indication of the fast-paced match-up scene of today is the concept of "speed dating."

This idea has been described as "short meetings of three to seven minutes in which people chat, then move on to meet another date." After these brief encounters, participants make note of the people they would like to meet again, then longer dates are arranged.

Not only have match-making websites and speed dating entered the picture, but I recently learned of a new concept added to the mix.

A variety of "dating consultants" are now available to provide clients with proven dating strategies. Such basic advice as never talk politics or religion, don't share too much on the first date and be confident are among the wise insights passed along by these "expert instructors."

In the early days when time wasn't a factor in courtship, such information was provided to love-struck men and women by parents, grandparents and maiden aunts. Unlike such generational wisdom given by loved ones, today's "dating consultants" charge from $5,000 to $10,000 to prepare the eager singles.

Since the concept of "consultants" has become an inescapable part of life, "experts" have emerged to guide us mere mortals through everything from how to chose a doctor or lawyer, how to buy a car or decorate a home even how to prepare the Thanksgiving turkey. It's no wonder some enterprising folks would address the challenge of how to succeed at dating.

I can't help but wonder at the changes that have taken place in this dating-to-mating game. Since the long-ago techniques of mate matching were successful enough to result in marriages of 40, 50 and 60 years, perhaps slower was better.



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