Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating

Moira Weigel

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0374182531

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Does anyone date anymore?” Today, the authorities tell us that courtship is in crisis. But when Moira Weigel dives into the history of sex and romance in modern America, she discovers that authorities have always said this. Ever since young men and women started to go out together, older generations have scolded them: That’s not the way to find true love. The first women who made dates with strangers were often arrested for prostitution; long before “hookup culture,” there were “petting parties”; before parents worried about cell phone apps, they fretted about joyrides and “parking.” Dating is always dying. But this does not mean that love is dead. It simply changes with the economy. Dating is, and always has been, tied to work.

Lines like “I’ll pick you up at six” made sense at a time when people had jobs that started and ended at fixed hours. But in an age of contract work and flextime, many of us have become sexual freelancers, more likely to text a partner “u still up?” Weaving together over one hundred years of history with scenes from the contemporary landscape, Labor of Love offers a fresh feminist perspective on how we came to date the ways we do. This isn't a guide to “getting the guy.” There are no ridiculous “rules” to follow. Instead, Weigel helps us understand how looking for love shapes who we are―and hopefully leads us closer to the happy ending that dating promises.

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suspected that he was gay. He guessed right; the two became romantically involved and went on to found Paradise Garage, a legendary club in the West Village. As the disco craze seized New York, however, people went out less to mix with people they would not have met otherwise than to affirm their membership in a crowd that they belonged to already. You went out in order to be part of the scene that party photographers captured. Later you could smile and say, I was there. As being seen became

himself. In any case, the problem that GM had on their hands in the Era of the Steady was clear: The market for cars was saturated. How can you get people to keep buying new versions of a product that they already have? Dynamic obsolescence was the solution that Sloan and Earl came up with. Before the war, there had been a joke that anyone could afford to buy a Ford in any color that he wanted—as long as it was black. After the war, however, GM started making cars in many colors, releasing new

fields; she killed the chickens. She churned the butter; he took it to town to sell. But both were clearly engaged in the same endeavor. So were their children. It’s no accident that in English we call childbirth “labor.” After the physical burden of pregnancy and giving birth, there is all the work that follows: feeding and caring for your offspring, teaching them enough to get by and get along with others. You had children because you expected them to help you at work and to care for you during

a chat room, if you hit it off, you could start making appointments to come online at the same time and talk together. This opportunity could be life-changing. In some chat rooms, disabled singles who found it physically challenging to go out or hook up in real life, connected and fell in love. In others, queer teens who felt isolated in the homes they were growing up in could do the same. This was no small thing. By the time he graduated, one in six gay kids who went to high school in the late

level of their consciousness of today’s world as it really is.” In that world, these young women were extremely unlikely to marry men who would be able to support them. They would earn 59 cents to every dollar that their male peers earned, and if they headed their own households, they faced 70 percent odds of living in poverty. To make the most of their slim chance at a good life, they needed to develop a “flexible and aware mentality.” To help them do so, the directors of the Girls Club

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