Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Season of Love or Dating

Or maybe seeing all of those scantily clad people just causes naughty thoughts. But, that's not the point of this column. However, I do want to say a few things about dating and mating seen from a sociological persepctive. You'll see that what we like to think of as an individual decision is largely a product of social forces.

"So, my decision to date someone is largely a result of social forces and not my own efforts? That's crazy! I can choose to date or marry or just fool around."

I know it seems like that's all true, but hold on just a minute. Many factors seem to be in play here. Some, like shyness, are psychological or perhaps a result of neurophysiology. Then there is dumb luck, that most powerful and unscientific of all social forces. Maybe your quarry is in a bad mood, overloaded with work, or in a relationship. You odds of success just got flushed down the toilet. At least with that individual. Happily life presents us with plenty of other opportunities (interesting, potentially available people) to pursue and thus reinforce our feeling of being in control of our own love lives.

Another interesting tidbit: I've read in at least two dating related publications that a woman decides within 90 seconds if a man will ever see her naked. I have serious reservations about whether this claim can have any basis in reality. What about other factors that come into play, like a budding romance, strong sexual urges, efforts by the man to present himself as a good partner, a succesful attempt by the man in question to overcome a lackluster first impression? What about continued, skillful efforts to manipulate the woman's emotions? In many cases, perhaps, none of these factors will make a significant difference. Nevertheless, one is forced to conlcude that things aren't so simple and controllable as we would like to think.

Oh, and about fooling around: What behaviors constitute "fooling around"? What woudl you do? Is oral sex a sin? If you are young, under 21 for instance, have you developed the social skills necessary to convince someone to fool around with you? Are the women you usually interact with likely to go along? Are you going to be able to reorganize your social calendar so as to bring you into contact with women who will fool around?

I hope this blog has given you some food for thought as you go out there to "score".

Stay tuned - I'll have more to say on how social forces affect our everyday decisions.


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