Sex Might be Easier to Find These Days. That Doesn’t Mean Love is Too by Nell Frizzell
- It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of good fortune must be in want of sex with a man who doesn’t use the smiling turd emoji.
- This week, the historian (Link): Lucy Worsley set petticoats aflutter when she tried to argue that dating in the modern world simply doesn’t have enough obstacles to achieve the “slow exquisite torture of love” found in great fiction.
- That Jane Austen could not write her novels now, in this age of Grindr and Tinder, “when bored singletons search for one-night stands with a few clicks of their mobiles”. Which is, of course, as ironic as any passage from the creamy pages of Pride and Prejudice because the frontline of modern dating is nothing if not a churning, pitted wasteland of judgment, etiquette, deceit, dismissal, disappointment and, worst of all, choice.
- …Some of us may no longer have the great obstacles of overbearing fathers, dowries, social hierarchy and family disapproval (although, God knows, many still do) but we have instead prioritised the enormous obstacle that is ourselves and our own opinions.
- Without a codified checklist of suitable marital attributes we’re left to try to work it out for ourselves. We’re supposed to dredge up from our gut or loins or heart the certainty that this person is The Person. Which is far from easy when you’re scrolling through a potential dance card of 50 million people…
- …Also, let’s not pretend that the obstacles to love have really changed so much. When Austen wrote in Mansfield Park that “life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings”, she was essentially describing Tinder.
- When Austen wrote in Persuasion that, “to flatter and follow others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment”, she could well have been refreshing her empty OKCupid inbox.
- We are cruel, judgmental, dismissive and quick to criticise.
- … We swipe left simply because we don’t like the wallpaper someone’s standing in front of in their profile photo.
- So let’s not go pretending that ours is an era free of slow, exquisite torture. That we don’t still look to our friends as a balm for the pangs of disappointed love. That happiness in marriage isn’t, in many cases, entirely a matter of chance.
- That single people no longer worry about income, grammar, social status, parental approval, beauty, truth, dancing or how to cope with the heart-draining reality of unrequited love. The search for romance is the same as it ever was – we just don’t do it in corsets any more.