So I looked for how different kinds of people were doing those things.
For more than a century, she argues, romance has not only been a form of work but a set of practices shaped by the push and pull of broader economic forces.
Weigel traces the evolution of dating from the early twentieth century, when a morally anxious culture mistook female daters for prostitutes; to the affluent postwar era, when marriage rates spiked alongside ownership of cars and refrigerators; to the advent of speed-dating in a Los Angeles Orthodox Jewish community in the 1990s, which turned out to be an unlikely forerunner of online dating.
As a historian of film and media, I tend to think of “technology” in a very broad sense.
To my mind a bar is a technology, a way of organizing bodies in space and facilitating communication.
It usually involves going to a public or semi-public place (a bar, a restaurant, a fraternity) and consuming something as a form of selling yourself and shopping around for a partner.
A date is an ambiguous transaction in potentially romantic or sexual attention—an agreement to consider each other under these terms for a certain amount of time.
Cars appear in many of the movies that we’re screening, from ; countless filmmakers have used them to represent speed and intimacy, the sense of excitement and danger that surrounds modern romance.
One technology that does not feature in our series, but which now seems obligatory in any comedy that involves pregnancy, is the fetal ultrasound.
Screening films people might not necessarily think of as “dating movies” was the exciting part.
One of the points of my book was to think through definitions of dating, what different people say about it, and why certain things count.
Maybe the medium those stories will work themselves out in is television.