The things is, there are much, much bigger social forces at work in this country that could explain Jacob's love life than the irresistible charms of a well-curated profile.Take, for instance, the enormous shortage of college educated men in Portland, Jacob's hometown.Across the United States today, young women are much more likely to graduate from college than their male peers, a trend that's been compounding itself for a few decades now.
That's on par with New York, which is notorious for its lopsided gender ratio.
Even if you look at Portland's wider metro region, which offers up a larger singles population, the ratio is still fairly skewed,* especially compared to cities such as Austin, San Francisco, or nearby Seattle.
But could the mere fact that Portland has thousands upon thousands of surplus, college educated women be enough to keep men like Jacob from settling down?
Let's say you met an over-educated, underemployed, thirty-something man who seemed incapable of holding down a relationship, and who was known to date up to half-a-dozen women at a time after meeting them online.
If you had to come up with a single theory to explain his desultory love life, what would it be? His article in this month's Atlantic, "A Million First Dates," argues that online matchmaking services like OKCupid and e Harmony are so powerful that they are bound to infect us all with a collective case of romantic ADHD -- or, as he puts it, that "the rise of online dating will mean an overall decrease in commitment." The impulse to search for "an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse" will prove so intoxicating over the long term, he writes, that it could undermine the very notions of marriage and monogamy.
Of course, online dating has been around for a while now.
But Slater doesn't offer up much hard evidence that monogamy is actually becoming passe in this country, other than to point out that divorce rates have increased -- an oversimplification of what's happened in the past few decades.
Rather, he introduces us to Jacob, the pseudonymous thirty-something schlub I alluded to above.
Jacob is a dedicated Green Bay Packer's fan who is less than enthusiastic about the idea of a 40-hour workweek.