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Weigel had a revelation: she was always turning to a man to tell her what she was after, and the institution of dating was to blame.

It trained women “in how to be if we wanted to be wanted.”Hence “Labor of Love,” an exploration of that training, in which Weigel reaches two main conclusions.

The monogamy of the booming postwar fifties offered “a kind of romantic full employment,” while the free love of the sixties signified not the death of dating but its deregulation on the free market.

The luxury- and self-obsessed yuppies of the “greed is good” eighties demanded that the romantic market deliver partners tailored to their niche specifications, developing early versions of the kinds of matchmaking services that have been perfected in today’s digital gig economy, where the personal is professional, and everyone self-brands accordingly.

Six months into their relationship, she discovered that he was seeing half a dozen other women, one of whom he’d been stringing along for two years. I’m a bit surprised at men’s openness to interracial dating.While I’ve personally dated women across the racial spectrum, I’ve only had a handful of clients who ever expressed preferences for women of other races.In our consumer society, love is perpetually for sale; dating is what it takes to close the deal.Her second conclusion is that the way we consume love changes to reflect the economy of the times.

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