When the time came to write the ‘About’ section of my profile, I quoted Didion’s passage, then added: ‘But now we have internet dating. ’ The Didion bit sounded unpleasant, so I replaced it with a more optimistic statement, about internet dating restoring the city’s possibilities to a life that had become stagnant between work, subway and apartment.
Users posted photos: ‘A customer could choose to show himself in various favourite activities and clothing to give the viewing customer a stronger sense of personality and physical character.’The business plan cited a market forecast that suggested 50 per cent of the adult population would be single by 2000 (a 2008 poll found 48 per cent of American adults were single, compared to 28 per cent in 1960).
At the time, single people, particularly those over the age of 30, were still seen as a stigmatised group with which few wanted to associate.
I sat on a stool at the centre of the bar, ordered a beer, and refreshed the feeds on my mobile. A basketball game played on several monitors at once. I allowed myself a moment’s longing for my living room and its couch.
Then I pretended to watch the game on a monitor that allowed me to look the other way. I refreshed the feed that indicated whether other people in the neighbourhood were sitting alone in bars. An OK Cupid Locals invitation has to start with the word ‘Let’s’:‘Let’s go now you and I’ always comes into my mind, but I’ve never broadcast an OK Cupid chat signal, I just respond. Every era has its own utopian possibilities: ours is the chance to make our lives more bearable through technology.
It turned out that Kremen had once driven, or been driven, into the river. In Miami Kremen recounted the genesis of his ideas about internet dating to a room full of matchmakers. If he could create such a database and charge a fee to access it, he would most probably turn a profit.