Lovedating123

Let Me Take You on an Online Date ............................................................................. A ‗Typical‘ Online Date ................................................................................................. Discourses of love that emerge are largely couched in the ―pragmatics of desire‖ (Constable, 2003: 133), meaning that the identified (and purportedly different) desires of both men and women in my study coalesce around the quest for love. Task #1: Creating a Profile ..................................................................................... This kind of everyday, often mundane search for love provides a unique window onto selfing practices that are largely left unspoken, taken-for-granted, and thereby granted the status of ‗natural‘ acts by stable subjects.

The Effects of Biomedia on Love ................................................................................ Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women, 1991 Once considered the province of the hopelessly nerdy, online dating has gone mainstream.

.................................................................................. We must purge ourselves of the natural and prepare to enter fully into what we ourselves have built, the manmade, the artificial, the artifice, the construct, the trick, the joke, the song. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment.

While much has been said about the role of online dating in transforming the nature of intimate relationships and love in Canada and beyond (Bauman, 2003; Ben-Ze'ev, 2004; Brym and Lenton, 2001) there has been no systematic study of the pursuit of hetero-romantic love online as a practice of both the everyday and of gendered selfing. Online Dating As Practices of Everyday Life ................................................. Introduction .................................................................................................................... 2 The Canadian newsmagazine W-Five (a CTV production) produced an episode entitled ―Risky Business‖ (2007) which purportedly looks at the ―[m]illions of Canadians use Internet-dating sites to look for love. And some find something far more dangerous - con artists and sex predators lurking in the shadows of cyberspace‖ ( 4 However this love is aimed at and reserved for particular kinds of properly gendered subjects which, in practices of online dating, ―(re)produce and (re)inscribe certain structures of gendered power and inequality‖ (ibid. The pursuit of love online is not seen as a benign or benevolent human motivation but rather one way through which emotions such as love can be seen as performative and orienting (Ahmed, 2004).

In January 2007, I began an eight-month investigation into the everyday practices of urban professionals online dating in Vancouver, Canada to study what role new media play in producing particular kinds of gendered selves through the pursuit of love online. Implicating the Researcher in Research about ‗Intimate‘ Topics .................................. Embodying the Thin ‗Ideal‘ ........................................................................................... Orientation in Ahmed‘s usage is about posing the question of ―the ‗orientation‘ of ‗sexual orientation‘ as a phenomenological question‖ (2006: 1); that is, seeing sexual orientation as a ―matter of residence; of how we inhabit spaces as well as ‗who‘ or ‗what‘ we inhabit spaces with‖ (ibid.).

Abject Pleasures and the Quest for Appropriately Gendered Selves ........................... Gendered Stereotypes: Reformatted to Fit Your Screen .............................................. Reversal of Fortune: How Women Re-Gender Online Dating .................................... Homing In on ‗Happy Endings‘ .................................................................... Some projections about the future possibilities for meeting, mating, and dating in this technologically-mediated manner consider online dating as a signal of the ―birth of a new society‖ (Brym and Lenton, 2001: 5), but one that should be heeded cautiously because in this new ―liquid modern‖ world, the unsatisfied computer dater can ―always press delete,‖ meaning that connections, romance, and love are all the more ―fragile‖ and fleeting (Bauman, 2003: xxi).

Introduction .................................................................................................................. Some projects focus specifically on the successes and failures of this emergent form of technologically-mediated relationship formation as well as the emotion-work and levels of commitment involved in this seemingly ―new‖ dating form (see Ben-Ze‘ev, 2004 and Baker, 2005).

Daniel‘s Story............................................................................................................... In January 2007, I began an eight-month-long investigation into the 1 The ‗i‘ in internet is not capitalized throughout this analysis in order to acknowledge recent scholarship that attends to the internet (which is now even recognized by some as ‗internets‘ or ‗interwebs‘) as not one monolithic space or an entity that influences its users through sheer exposure (Baym et al., 2004: 300), but rather promotes a vision of the internet that privileges its use. (2004) suggest that it is the pursuit of ‗social and cultural goals‘ by and through the internet that should provide the ―starting point for analysis rather than totalizing measures of all Internet use‖ (ibid. 2 everyday practices of urban professionals online dating in Vancouver, Canada in order study what role new media play in producing particular kinds of gendered selves through the pursuit of love online and relatedly, what this can tell us about the contemporary meanings of love as a useful theoretical concept within feminism and an enduring social practice.

Multiple Excesses as Inappropriate ‗Aphrodisia‘ ........................................................ While love has been considered in the study of online dating, there has been no systematic study of the pursuit of love by way of online dating as a practice of both the everyday and of gendered selfing.

Filtering Fragmented Selves........................................................................................... Out of my forty heterosexuallyidentified participants, ninety-five percent (thirty-eight individuals) were motivated to online date to find their ―soul-mate‖ or life-long marriageable partner.

Contingent Authenticities............................................................................................. Love emerges as the prevalent social practice/motivational goal that guides the heterosexual dating practices of the forty participants included in this study.

Task #4: First Date .................................................................................................. For example, sociologists such as Zygmunt Bauman (2003) and philosophers such as Aaron Ben-Ze‘ev (2004) warn us that if we fail to ―integrate cyberspace successfully into our romantic relationships…it will cost us dearly‖ (Ben-Ze‘ev, 2004: 248).

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