Love sucks. That seems to be the general consensus among girls on this campus. As the weather gets warmer – raising temperatures and shortening skirts – spring’s onset appears to lack the romance usually inherent in the season. Even Facebook, the gospel of collegiate life, reflects a level of cynicism; more than 1,000 members from the University display their relationship status as “single” or “it’s complicated,” which amounts to a whole lot of Friday nights spent alone.

Sarah Royce

How can this be? With a student body of nearly 40,000 intelligent and diverse candidates, where has the love gone?

Perhaps the problem is not so much finding someone as it is finding someone worthwhile. This feat is more difficult than it seems, for in a world where alcohol-induced random hookups – best reserved for Welcome Week – and watching illegally downloaded DVDs in a dorm room constitute courtship, it’s no wonder that finding that meaningful relationship can be nearly impossible.

A common argument is that women are single because of their own doing. My guy friends are quick to preach that University women are presumptuous snobs whose inflated egos and demands cannot be satisfied by anyone. Not only that, but, economically speaking, wining and dining a girl does not ensure men a positive ROI (return on investment – a euphemism I’m sure most of you can figure out by yourselves). Translation: Why buy the cow when you can get the chickenhead for free?

There is a difference between being realistically selective and holding out for the unattainable, but the notion that there is something wrong with having expectations is ridiculous. Our entire lives, as both men and women, we are taught to strive for the best – to aim for the highest grades or most prestigious jobs, and this is no different. Sorry, but no matter how you slice it, a date at the Union Subway does not translate into a trip to a quaint French bistro.

Of course, the business world has responded with a host of cures for the lovelorn. A deviation from established mediums like match.com, the next generation of e-romance offerings is a bit more unorthodox. Chemistry.com, a subsidiary of match.com, was started by a “biological anthropologist and expert in the science of human attraction” and utilizes a patent-pending personality assessment. By answering hard-hitting questions about inkblots and the length of your ring finger in relation to the index finger, you can find a love match. I suppose my stubby ring finger explains why all of my matches were 40-year-old men from central Michigan. Another unique scheme is AirTroductions. It pairs up travelers with the same flight itineraries for an on-air introduction. Perfect for multitaskers, along with that pack of peanuts you can snag a soulmate. Unfortunately it’s not clear how the service accounts for lengthy flights or unforeseen delays which, given a bad match, could be a problem.

Perhaps the most brutal trend in nontraditional dating is the background check. Traditionally, if you wanted information on a mate you would have to secretly tap into the local gossip network, probing friends and exes. But with sites like Don’tDateHimGirl.com and WomanSavers.com, sifting through your significant other’s dirty laundry has become surprisingly easy. Largely female-centric, these services list men who have cheated on their partners including pictures of the culprits, so that others are saved from having the same experience. So much for leaving the past behind. I visited both sites and, luckily for the men of this campus, did not find any students listed, although anyone dating a Tim B. from Ann Arbor should be wary because he allegedly “cheated three times and lied continuously throughout an eight year relationship.”

For college students and the larger population of 89 million single adults in this country, it’s unclear how technology will redefine the art of dating. Hopefully the benefits of speed and convenience will not overshadow the most important facet of relationships – making a genuine, lasting connection with another human being.

Krishnamurthy can be reached at sowmyak@umich.edu.

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