Hookup culture isn’t the real problem facing singles today. It’s math.


The Washington Post
By Jon Birger
August 26, 2015

There’s a scene in “The Fires of Autumn,” Irene Nemirovsky’s novel set in 1920s France, in which a young war widow named Therese thinks she is being courted for marriage by her childhood friend Bernard — only to discover that he wants nothing more than a fling.

He, in turn, is baffled by her unwillingness to carry on a casual affair. Given the shortage of young men in post-World War I Europe — 10 million soldiers died and another 20 million were wounded, many grievously — Bernard wondered why would any bachelor want to settle down. “You want to have some fun?” he asks Therese rhetorically, “Fine. You don’t? Goodbye. There are too many women and they’re all too easy to make it worthwhile.”

I was reminded of this while reading Vanity Fair’s much-publicized piece, “Tinder and the Dating Apocalypse,” which naively blames today’s “hookup culture” on the popularity of a three-year-old dating app. I say “naively” because it’s not the first time some newfangled technology has been mistakenly blamed for young people having more sex.

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