August 18, 2010
December 1, 2009
Speed dating! If you think it’s a relic of the go-go late ‘90s — guys in fleecewear chatting up these ladies — or a mating practice of the hopelessly superficial and fidgety, you may want to try “deep dating,” like UK Guardian journalist Christine Ottery.
Whoa, slow down there, vivid imagination! The practices themselves amount to some G-rated physical affection and soulful eye contact, but it sounds like the attitude behind them is pretty solid: instead of mindlessly chattering away, potential partners get to connect on a slightly more “real” (and even spiritual) level than on a typical coffee date.
As Ottery writes:
Most of the sessions involve long periods of eye contact. Terrifying and liberating all at once, this is like skinny-dipping in someone’s irises, flinging off societal mores as you go.
Of course, eye contact is a big part of courtship whether you’re deep dating or not. Scientists have found that men gaze into the eyes of women they find attractive for twice as long as those they don’t. The researchers also said that women don’t use come-on eyes as much at first – and interpret this as a mixture of mistrust and the fear of ending up a single parent. I take it as a good sign, then, when I can stare somebody square in the peepers after just having met them.
Apart from the extended eyeballing and some pretty innocent body contact, not having to chat someone up is a sweet relief and makes for a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. And once each individual mini-ritual is over, partners talk to each other, trading a mash-up of insights and giggles. Hawken tells me this can reveal, in a short space of time, the things you need to know about your suitor: “Can they listen? Are they sensitive to who you are? Are they able to talk about their feelings?”
Although Tantric dating hasn’t made a big splash in the States yet, I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, we’ve still got that relic of the no-go ’00s—the cuddle party.
April 2, 2009
Speed dating may seem like a waste of (tiny microcosms of) time, but some researchers at Indiana University recently found a way to put it to good use: By having subjects (male and female) watch tapes of numerous speed-dating interactions (male-female), they measured which gender seems to be more adept at picking up on flirting cues, both come-hither and get-outta-here.
Turns out, it’s a draw.
“… [M]en and women were shown to be equally good at gauging men’s interest,” says the study, “and equally bad at judging women’s interest.”
So apparently it’s hard to get when women are playing hard-to-get. Score one for feminine mystique!
“‘The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men. Those women were being flirtatious, but it turned out they weren’t interested at all,’ said lead author Skyler Place, a doctoral student in IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences working with cognitive science Professor Peter Todd. ‘Nobody could really read what these deceptive females were doing, including other women.’ ” (”These deceptive females?” Sounds either coldly anthro-scientific, or the opposite, like he’s gonna go on to say, “YOU made me do this study, Linda, YOU did!”)
Here’s something else I’m having a hard time getting. Behold this little nugget:
“Researchers expected women to have a leg up in judging romantic interest, because theoretically they have more to lose from a bad relationship [ital mine], but no such edge was found.”
An icky amount of such cavalier sexism has been coursing through the “scientific” studies I’ve read of late. This one’s so broad I’m not even sure which presumptions are being referred to: That women don’t have time on their side? That they often wind up financially lesser-off post-divorce? That they’re all just, y’know, thisclose to tripping over the line into full-blown nutso?
If you’re as worked up as me, unwind by playing your own Meta Match Game.