The process of testing out potential mates, and of being tested by them in turn, can be gruelling, bewildering, humiliating.
Using another metaphor, Weigel compares the experience to being cast in a bad piece of experimental theatre: “You and a partner showed up every night with different, conflicting scripts.
You did your best.” This makes dating sound a lot like a recurring anxiety dream. candidate in comparative literature, film, and media at Yale; “Labor of Love,” a perceptive and wide-ranging investigation into the history of dating in America, is her first book, sprouted from the seed of unpleasant personal experience.
You’d have to be a masochist not to try to wake yourself up. At twenty-six, she was involved with an older man who was torn between her and an ex he hadn’t lost interest in.
Every so often, one of his paramours would catch on and alert the others.
Then he’d block them all on social media and begin the whole thing again.
In our consumer society, love is perpetually for sale; dating is what it takes to close the deal.