By Dennis Clemente
Expect the Anthro-Tech group at NYU’s Kimball Hall to make its meetup as current as it is scholarly. Last February 7, the group tackled the topic du jour—online dating and technology, perfect timing for Valentine’s Day.
It was only last month that the Anthro-Tech meetup group went back in time with Pride & Prejudice, and how technology was used there to untangle the romantic musical chairs of each character.
In this meetup, the two speakers’ contrasting background made for a comprehensive dissection of the age-old problem of hooking up and how technology eases (or does it really spoil it?) our quest in finding The One.
Professor Reuben Thomas, a sociologist at the City University of New York, shared insights in the study he was part of back in 2009, “How Couples Meet and Stay Together,” a national representative study of 3,000-plus American adults.
Elissa Shevinsky, CEO & co-founder of Jspot, talked about the current dating scene, especially the challenges facing women with regard to the total breakdown of men’s behavior online with their sexual innuendoes, which result in women’s complete frustration with dating sites.
Thomas says gay men, lesbians, and middle-aged heterosexuals are most likely to use their computers as matchmaking machines. “They rely less on family or even the workplace when it comes to seeking love.”
He emphasizes that people over 30 are the ones who meet partners online than twentysomethings. “Young people have more access to people their own age, especially at school,” he explains.
His most recent observation points to some dating preferences such as location calling it “cultural segregation” for the obvious convenience it provides.
Asked if there is a correlation to a couple’s relationship longevity to an online or offsite meeting, he most assuredly says no.
Online, though, Shevinsky says there are marked differences between heterosexuals’ dating behavior that needs understanding –why (women’s) in-boxes are always full, with some spams and all the crudeness in there, while some decent men can’t get responses at all.
Shevinsky believes she can better understand this problem in her dating site, Jspot. She took the meetup as an opportunity for her to announce the launch of Jspot on February 15.
It’s a Jewish dating site, but she recommends it for everyone. She says even she is open to the idea of dating non-Jewish guys. The dating site is available only on Facebook, which should perhaps make the site better regulated. Visit joinjspot.com to apply for a beta invitation.
The meetup launched into a lively discussion with questions from the audience running longer than the presentations. Everybody was almost unanimous in thinking that having read the same books (read: shared interests) is not a guarantee you will be attracted to the person once you meet him or her. In fact, the engaged crowd did not counter the perception of many that it takes people generally only a few, perhaps five, seconds to know, whether a person is The One or not.
The real mystery remains: It’s not how two people meet but how to keep them together after they meet.
The event was hosted and co-organized by Uma Anand.