Romance in America has been as roiled by the recession as the oil markets, judging by the various articles the Associated Press has published on the subject in recent months. Just last month, the news service told us that no one was dating. Too expensive. Too awkward. Today, they're telling us that everyone is dating, that two-tops are clogging up Chicago restaurants and attendance is up at speed-dating events. Shit is volatile.
Moreover, the extreme instability in the dating market seems to have given rise to a disturbing trend: an overabundance of Crap Relationships. According to our highly scientific theorem, developed at the University of Our Ass, the number of Crap Relationships tends to spike at both the top and bottom of the market. At the height of a boom, people enter into boring and unsatisfying relationships based on greed. At the bottom, they are propelled into them by exhaustion and fear.
For instance, as the founder of dating site OkCupid tells the AP, during a down market, dudes simply give up:
The way he figures it, a man can spend $100 buying drinks at a bar trying to pick up a stranger and leave with little more than a cold shoulder. But, when he's in a relationship, a Saturday evening can be as simple as Thai noodle takeout, Netflix and some fun under the covers. All in all, Yagan said, that's "more bang for your buck."
This kind of attitude not only diminishes the value of the male in question, it also damages the partner who, owing to the ingestion of carbs and the sight of the former's hairy and porcine belly, will likely become fat and depressed. They will then carry their trauma into a future relationship, making that person miserable, etc., etc., possibly ad infinitum.
This is not, we should say, strictly a male phenomenon. Women are also settling, such as Mili Thomas, a 28-year-old graduate student in New York, who admitted that since the recession began, she has opened up the door to lesser suitors:
[S]he now spends time with men who didn't show up on her radar screen before the recession. Among them: a Ph.D. who would have been nixed because he lives in New Jersey and an employee at a marketing firm who wouldn't have made the grade because he is two years her junior. "I figured this was the best possible time to explore other options since people's lives have been turned topsy turvy," she said.
Of course, unlike with the financial markets, buying low is not the golden rule in the relationship market. As we see it, the probability of a recession romance working out is extremely low. Even if both of Mili's suitors somehow fail to notice that she called them second-rate to an international news service, there will still come a day when the markets stabilize and she suddenly realizes she's in fucking New Jersey. Similarly, when the noodles turn cold and the lights come on, OkCupid's customers may realize that they were not in fact stabbed by a cherubic angel, but bitten by a bear. Our advice: Sit this round out. Though some people may profit, for most, trading in a turbulent market will only result in painful losses.