Two fascinating articles (Brooks, who points to Yang) on how how technology has so fundamentally changed the ways we seek both one time and long term partners. I've tried the Grindr iPhone App described below by Yang (its GPS feature doesn't work worth diddly... it told me a handsome guy was 2,000 ft. away, and after we began to set up a meeting, he turned out to be in Iowa!). It is clear, as noted by Brooks, that all this technology "seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust."
So there’s this iPhone app called Grindr. It’s a GPS-enabled social-networking service for gay men. It tells you how many feet away a possible hookup is standing. Each profile comes with a picture, a tagline, the relevant stats, and a declaration of interest. You scroll through a column of heads and torsos arranged in descending order of proximity, tapping on the ones that seem promising and chatting with the ones who want the same things you do. As you make your way through the city, the menu of men reshuffles, and the erotic terrain updates in real time.
Has the search for erotic gratification ever been so efficient? Until recently, being a cad or coquette took a lot of work: You needed to buy a little black book, and you had to go around filling it, and then you had to schedule your calls for a time when the target of your seduction was likely to be at home. The less-self-assured daters in New York faced the sickening anxiety of the first phone call, or the cold approach in the bar. There were palliatives designed to help people cope—the newspaper personal ads, the paid dating services, the dirty videos and magazines—but they were generally understood to be the province of weirdos and losers.
No more. The social technologies that assist in dating and mating today are more than palliatives—they’ve changed the nature of the game. If the cold approach is more than you can deal with, put up a Craigslist ad, or join OkCupid, Manhunt, or Nerve. If the phone call makes you nervous, send a text message. And while you’re at it, send a text message to a half-dozen other people with everyone’s favorite late-night endearment: “where u at?” If nothing works out and you find yourself alone at home again, simply fire up XTube or YouPorn and choose from an endless variety of positions to help you reach a late-night climax.