Two billion dollars. That’s how much online dating companies are expected to make in 2013 by helping lonely hearts find love on the Internet. The industry has been growing steadily for half a decade, so it’s no wonder that older digital yentas like Match.com and eHarmony.com are seeing competition from app startups like the enthusiastic Let’s Date, the gay and bisexual service Grindr, and the somewhat-forward Down (if you must ask the question “to do what?”, maybe you’re better off sticking with eHarmony). A number of these kinds of apps have earned the reputation of being meant for hook-ups rather than dating, whereas eHarmony and Match.com emphasize just the opposite: Both sites often crow about the number of marriages that started on their sites.
Hinge wants to be somewhere in the middle. It’s a “social app” that helps people find and rate friends of people they know on Facebook, which they say is better than the free-for-all on sites like OkCupid. ”Our goal is to create more high-potential first dates,” said the company’s founder, Justin McLeod, at The Atlantic's forum on small business on Wednesday.
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More than 20 percent of non-college grads are raising their kids alone.
In a few days, many college freshmen will be going home for the first time since August. They’ll retreat to what is comfortable – spending time with family, old friends, and for some, a high-school sweetheart. Thanksgiving will also be a time for big questions, particularly for those freshmen still in high-school relationships. Did they take advantage of their first three months in college, or did they lose out by spending too much time on Skype? During their first trip home, freshmen have to decide whether they stick it out with their first love, or succumb to what is known as the “Turkey Drop”— the phenomenon of high-school couples breaking up when they come home for their first Thanksgiving.
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In the wintry opening scenes of Catching Fire, the second film installment of the Hunger Games series, newly minted celebrity Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) tries to pose for a photo with her co-Hunger Games champion and putative boyfriend, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). She stumbles into the snow at first, but then she dusts herself off, rises, and begins waving to the photographers, arm in arm with Peeta. The camera zooms out to a neutral angle, giving audiences a sudden, somewhat startling reminder that oh, that’s right—Katniss is slightly taller than Peeta.
To some people, this may seem like a tiny or easily missed detail; in any case, it’s never even commented upon in the first Hunger Games film or the second. And to those people, I say congratulations and keep up the good work—because for others of us, the fact that the central pairing in the box office record-shattering Hunger Games film franchise features a woman who’s casually and unapologetically taller than her designated man is equal parts transgressive and reassuring.
Read more. [Image: Lionsgate]
Every year in late August, an envelope arrived from school with a document that would determine my fate for the next nine months: my schedule. I’d scan the page to see if I’d gotten any especially hard or mean teachers. I’d check out when my free periods were. And then I’d dash to the phone to call my friends to find out what their schedules looked like.
I wanted friends in my classes for a whole variety of reasons. I wanted people to share notes and study with; people to poke me when I started to drift off during an especially dry lecture; people to gossip with about the cute guys in the row ahead of us. I also knew that the more classes I had with my friends, the more likely we were to stay friends. You don’t have much control over your own time when you’re in high school, so if you’re not in class with your friends, it’s becomes easy to go days without really seeing them.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Sociology shows that my friends and I were right to obsess over our schedules. Researchers Kenneth A. Frank, Chandra Muller, and Anna S. Mueller found that classes have a tremendous impact on high-school students’ social lives—for better and for worse.
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An acquaintance gave a few of us a ride after the annual post-Yom Kippur feast. Stuffed with bagels, lox, kugel, and every kind of pound cake imaginable, the four of us chatted happily about life in D.C., past trips to Israel, and guilt over skipping religious services earlier that day.
And then the conversation turned to dating.
“Would you ever marry a non-Jew?” Sharon asked from the backseat. Answers varied; one person said she wasn’t sure, while another said she might consider marrying someone who was willing to convert. Debates about intermarriage, or marriage outside of the faith, are common in the Jewish community, but her question still struck me as remarkable. Here were four twentysomething women who hardly knew each other, already talking about the eventuality of marriage and apparently radical possibility that we would ever commit our lives to someone unlike us. This conversation seemed very “un-Millennial”–as a whole, our generation is marrying later, becoming more secular, and embracing different cultures more than any of our predecessors. If the same question had been asked about any other aspect of our shared identities–being white, being educated, coming from middle or upper-middle class backgrounds—it would have seemed impolite, if not offensive.
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If your relationship involves a lot of texting, it may not be the happiest of unions.
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What makes a significant other different from a very dear friend?
Well, besides that.
Facebook data scientists have developed a novel method for identifying who among a user’s friends is that person’s partner—and their work puts an empirical stamp on something that is perhaps intuitive: A significant other occupies a unique place in a person’s social network, one characterized not by “embeddedness”—the standard way of measuring a tie’s proximity—but by what the researchers call “dispersion.”
Here’s what that means: The number of mutual friends (“embeddedness”) is a reliable indicator of how close two people are. Simply put: You have more friends in common with your closest friends than with your acquaintances.
Read more. [Image: Rebecca J. Rosen]
Mary Margaret Fletcher had a flutter of worry recently. She’s getting married next spring, and plans to change her last name to her husband’s. But one day it dawned on her: “I was like, ‘wait,’” she said. “My last name is in my email address.’“
Fletcher, an archivist who lives in Vermont, is one of the roughly 80 percent of brides expected to drop her maiden name upon marriage. That decision has always been a mix of the personal and the practical. It requires a lot of legwork, including interaction with multiple federal agencies and a trip to the dreaded DMV. But it also forces women to think about how they’ll be perceived with a new name and, at some level, a new identity.
The proliferation of online profiles and the growing demand for digital presence has managed to complicate both aspects.
Read more. [Image: A screenshot of The Atlantic’s very own Eleanor Britton nee Barkhorn’s Facebook profile]
Good advice from someone who is terrible at dating.
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