Today the authorities tell us that courtship is in crisis. But when Moira Weigel dives into the history of sex and romance in modern America, she discovers that authorities have always said this.
Ever since young men and women started to go out together, older generations have scolded them: That's not the way to find true love. The first women who made dates with strangers were often arrested for prostitution; long before "hookup culture", there were "petting parties"; before parents worried about cell phone apps, they fretted about joyrides and "parking".
Dating is always dying. But this does not mean that love is dead. It simply changes with the economy. Dating is, and always has been, tied to work. Lines like "I'll pick you up at six" made sense at a time when people had jobs that started and ended at fixed hours. But in an age of contract work and flextime, many of us have become sexual freelancers, more likely to text a partner, "u still up?"
Weaving together over 100 years of history with scenes from the contemporary landscape, Labor of Love offers a fresh feminist perspective on how we came to date the ways we do. This isn't a guide to "getting the guy". There are no ridiculous "rules" to follow. Instead Weigel helps us understand how looking for love shapes who we are and hopefully leads us closer to the happy ending that dating promises.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Nick on 23-09-16
when I first bought this book, I was thinking it was going to be about how hard relationships can be, and how to work on them to make them better. I was surprised when it turned out to be more about the history of dating and American cultural norms behind it. the book was so informative, I loved it. it was very sociologically oriented to study the dynamics between two people who are dating or married. It was quite enjoyable.
at times, it was kind of hard to follow whether or not the narrator was reading a quote from another study or not, but other than that, I would highly recommend it.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
By Gillian on 14-02-17
Not Meant To Be Useful, But Quite Fun
"Labor of Love" isn't a how-to book, so don't go in expecting that. Rather, it's a historical look at dating and the way we flounder around looking for that fleeting something.
In earlier times, a couple was focused on the same goal; nowadays we look within ourselves seeking to have something gratified, never understanding that it's what we bring to the table and to our culture that matters.
This book covers everything from "calling" on someone to "hooking up" (and boy does college mess with our dating code, or what?) From Girls Gone Wild, to the AIDS epidemic. From "settling" to speed-dating to dating apps to geo-location.
It's not a heavy in-depth read, but it sure is interesting, and Kyra Miller delivers it decently enough with plenty of tongue-in-cheekiness.
By the way? Weigel thinks the best way to change our culture is by banding together and organizing. As somebody with PTSD from my dating years, if I ever go back out there, I say we Unionize...!
31 of 36 people found this review helpful