Chapter 1: Introduction: From Arranged Marriages to Social IsolationChapter 2: Modernity, Romantic Love, and the Rise of ExpectationsChapter 3: Popular Romanticism in AmericaChapter 4. Expert Advice on Dating and MatingChapter 5. Self-presentation and Wish Lists in Printed PersonalsChapter 6. Looking for Love on the Internet: MassachusettsChapter 7. Looking for Love on the Internet: Nebraska and AlabamaChapter 8. Looking for Love on the Internet: CaliforniaChapter 9. The Entitlement to Happiness
In this sociological study of modern American ideals of romantic love, Hollander (sociology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; The End of Commitment: Intellectuals, Revolutionaries, and Political Morality in the Twentieth Century) departs from his previous focus on criticism of communism and the Left to examine the impact of individualism and moral relativism on the expectations of romantic relationships. He compares and contrasts 19th-century romanticism with American individualism and examines popular self-help books, print personal ads, and individual profiles on a popular online dating site. By studying self-promotion and descriptions of ideal partners in print and online personal ads, Hollander successfully identifies the desirable traits and characteristics sought by those looking for a romantic partner. He concludes that these attributes are often deeply in contention with one another because of the conflict that arises from individualism vs. the need for community. VERDICT While popular works have been published about personal ads and online dating, Hollander provides a unique scholarly examination about how they mirror contemporary American romantic ideals. Recommended for readers with a serious interest in sociology and contemporary American culture.
Here's something genuinely new under the summer sun: a book that can be enjoyed simultaneously by anyone with an interest in modern sociology — and by anyone who has ever read or placed a personals ad. Put differently, it's a book for everyone interested in understanding how, and why, the pursuit of love and sex today differs so radically from what came before....In the end, [Hollander] is among the few lately to have looked into the tea leaves of modern romance and found something new to say. He has said it, moreover, with a fresh eye, new insights, and a humane and at times even humorous heart. Fans of his previous work will not be surprised by having their high expectations met. But they will be pleased to see that this latest book is not only informative and interesting, but also entertaining as real sociology rarely is — in all, an extravagant accomplishment.
Hollander looks at the ways in which users of Internet dating sites present themselves and the ideal mates for whom they quest. A 'fun orientation' is the No. 1 quality most sought after, even in the religiously and politically conservative Midwest and South. Although many of the Internet romance-seekers claim to be searching for serious long-term relationships, few express much interest in the qualities that have traditionally denoted husband and wife material, such as being a good provider or skilled homemaker.
In Extravagant Expectations: New Ways to Find Romantic Love in America (Ivan R. Dee), Paul Hollander deconstructs upscale personal ads from both sides of the Atlantic.