You can probably picture a classic telenovela. It’s dramatic, full of scandal. Cheating husbands. Cheating wives. Sunset romance. Dewy-eyed heroines.
Perla Farías was a telenovela actress in Venezuela, and she was getting bored of the typical story. So when she became an executive at Telemundo in the United States, she decided to try something different. At the time, Telemundo was the underdog in the world of US telenovelas, always in second place behind the giant Univision. But Farías’s shows changed all that. They altered the landscape of Spanish language TV shows—and of all TV shows.
Great advice from Heather Havrilesky to a woman who gets obsessive crushes about unattainable men.
Then about halfway through I realized abruptly that Heather’s advice is relevant to more than just people in that woman’s particular situation. Heather isn’t just talking about romantic crushes. She’s talking about fantasizing about a better life and living in that fantasy world, rather than appreciating what you have and working to make your life better.
Heather gives great advice on her correspondent’s major problem. But she neglects a relatively minor point: The correspondent’s roommate needs to chill on the PDAs in the living room. Nobody wants to sit in the same room as that.
Ask Polly: Why Do I Always Want Unavailable Men? – Heather Havrilesky, New York Magazine
Today, we refer to a man inviting a woman to dinner as “traditional.” At first it was scandalous: A woman who arranged to meet a man at a bar or restaurant could find herself interrogated by a vice commission. In the 1920s and ‘30s, as more and more middle-class women started going to college, parents and faculty panicked over the “rating and dating” culture, which led kids to participate in “petting parties” and take “joy rides” with members of the opposite sex.
By the 1950s, a new kind of dating took over: “going steady.” Popular advice columnist Dorothy Dix warned in 1939 that going steady was an “insane folly.” But by the post-war era of full employment, this form of courtship made perfect sense. The booming economy, which was targeting the newly flush “teen” demographic, dictated that in order for everyone to partake in new consumer pleasures — for everyone to go out for a burger and root beer float on the weekends — young people had to pair off. Today, the economy is transforming courtship yet again. But the changes aren’t only practical. The economy shapes our feelings and values as well as our behaviors.
The generation of Americans that came of age around the time of the 2008 financial crisis has been told constantly that we must be “flexible” and “adaptable.” Is it so surprising that we have turned into sexual freelancers? Many of us treat relationships like unpaid internships: We cannot expect them to lead to anything long-term, so we use them to get experience. If we look sharp, we might get a free lunch.
But for all the hand-wringing, this kind of dating isn’t any more transactional than it was back when suitors paid women family-supervised visits or parents sought out a yenta to introduce their children at a synagogue mixer. Courtship has always been dictated by changes in the market. The good news is that dating is not the same thing as love. And as anyone who has ever been in love can attest, the laws of supply and demand do not control our feelings.
Sexual Freelancing in the Gig Economy – Moira Weigel, The New York Times