January 1, 2010

The Capitalization of Love

SEX - In recent years it seems like love is constantly becoming more and more connected to money. Let's cite some examples:

#1. Online personals charging $XX / month.

#2. Matchmaking services charging an arm and a leg.

#3. People marrying for wealth and/or fame.

#4. People getting divorces over family finances.

Its no wonder people exaggerate their personal finances when filling out a form for an online personals. Everyone wants to marry someone rich because they're dreaming of all the financial benefits that will come with it.

The thing is there is a shortage of rich stupid people out there (excluding celebrities, because they're rare in the first place) who will marry people on short notice and then forget to ask their husband or wife to be to sign a prenup.

We live in a fast paced consumer culture these days wherein the internet is quickly becoming our primary source of communication. We can hire a mobile application developer to create program applications for our iPhone, we can get car insurance quotes online, order health products from a natural medicine clinic online, order ballet or classical music tickets... heck we can even order pizza or groceries online!

(Does anyone know a place where I can order a hamburger or a steak and have it delivered?)

And depending what websites you go to you could also get a Russian or Chinese mail order bride, a female or male prostitute for the night... or even a dominatrix if that is what you want... to say nothing of all the websites promoting their lines of sex toys, condoms, corsets, lingerie, dildos, etc. Thanks to the internet many of these products and services are now just a click away.

What it makes you realize its not so much about the commodification of LOVE, but sex as a commodity that can be bought, sold and traded.

And I am not immune to this. I have to admit I am a hypocrite. I own Goth Personals Canada and receive a cheque every year based on the number of people who sign up for free. Its not a lot, but it will help pay for my post-xmas credit card bill.

The thing however is money + sex = sexual slavery. Sex isn't supposed to be about money... its about having FUN. (I won't stoop to saying sex is about love between a couple, but frankly I see nothing wrong with platonic sex for the pure pleasure of it, with the understanding that both sexual partners are enjoying it.)

Recently there was a big scandal in Toronto because the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) turned down an advertising campaign that would have went on the sides of street cars and buses by Ashley Madison... for those that don't know Ashley Madison is an online company which promotes adultery and husbands/wives cheating on their respective others with other people's husbands and wives. Its essentially a personals website, but specifically for people looking to cheat. (Their tagline is "Life is Short, Have an Affair!")

And of course there's always a fee involved.

In contrast there are very few personals websites out there which are free (or supported by advertising)... two examples I can name are Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.

In the name of research (and possibly finding a date for Valentines) I've joined quite a few personals websites and determined very quickly that the pay-personals are essentially a waste of time and money. Why? Because very often you have to pay to send a message to someone you like, you have to pay AGAIN to receive a message from someone too. Thus even if you find someone on a particular personals site that you like, and you pay to send them a message, they won't actually be able to receive that message unless they also pay for it.

Thus free personals websites make much more sense for consumers because then they can choose to spend extra money for a premium listing (and the website makes money anyway off advertising revenue).

What are people really looking for?

Mind-blowingly good sex? (Which frankly seems to be a myth.)

Love and companionship? (The kind of person you want to spend time with, never get bored of and you can enjoy activities like trying Indian food, throwing snowballs at each other, entering Lenzr photography contests, counting down New Years Eve together [Happy 2010 by the way!], showering together (I presume sex will be involved), breakfast in bed, the joys of having children and of course growing old and decrepit together.

I think people have set really high standards for their love and sex lives, but at the same time we NEED standards because otherwise people would be getting married willy-nilly and getting divorces soon after (a % of the population is doing that already). Thus standards are there because we want to meet someone compatible, who won't be a waste of time and cause emotional trauma or end in divorce.

Perhaps that is why love is becoming so capitalized... because people are developing even higher standards (the magazines with "50 Ways to Please Your Man" aren't helping either) in such a way that they expect their ideal man to have the charm/sophistication of a celebrity, the good looks of a supermodel, and the sexual capabilities of a porn star (a lot of women out there will be sorely disappointed when they find out the average man only lasts 5 minutes)... taken in context those standards are ridiculously high.

1. Very sexy & good in bed.
2. Kind, Considerate & Affectionate.
3. Funny, Charming & Romantic.
4. Would never lie to you.
5. Rich to boot!

6. Has similar religious/political beliefs.
7. Likes pets / wants children.
8. Doesn't have any mental issues / gambling problems.
9. Is not an alcoholic or a smoker.
10. No annoying quirks or habits.

Wait there's more!!!
11. Is athletic / not lazy.
12. Can cook / do chores around the house.
13. Handy with tools / sewing supplies.
14. Similar artistic / musical tastes.
15. Doesn't make annoyingly long lists.

And in theory people could add to this list as much as they want. The point I am making some of these 'requirements' are going to have to be ignored if people sincerely want to find love.

You know when a friend of yours is dating someone and some of their family members / friends don't approve of the person? ("Oh, he's just not right for you..." etc.) And then they cite reasons as to why the person isn't right for them... well the truth is nobody is really "right" for anybody. Nobody is 100% compatible. But 90% is pretty damn close and the 10% that they disagree on things is the spice that makes marriage interesting.

People who find love should hold onto it, not just throw it away because their friends/family disapprove.

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