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While every generation will lament anew the fact that finding love is hard, history seems to indicate that this particular social ritual never gets any easier or less exciting.In , a new book documenting the history of dating in America, Moira Weigel, a Ph. candidate in comparative literature at Yale University, confirms this lament: Since dating was “invented,” it has always been an activity that required a lot of effort.

Your mother and aunts would no longer take care of courtship for you.Lam: Has this social ritual been tied to work ever since? Weigel: Yes, I would say that dating has been tied both to work and to the consumer economy ever since it was invented—in a number of different ways.Perhaps the most obvious is that what people do on dates changes as the economy changes.So around 1900, the best date a girl working at Lord & Taylor’s in New York could have imagined might have been to go to Coney Island.As movie theaters got more and more popular, going to the movies became a classic date.Practically speaking, the rhythms of our workdays change the ways we meet one another.

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