We live in a fast-paced world of instant gratification: a world of fast food, convenience stores, cell phones, and the Internet.
It is strange to think that many of our grandparents were born into a world without these disposable commodities and high-speed lifestyles. The Information Age has changed many facets of American life — from the ways we work and play to the ways we meet new people and interact socially. Technology has added a whole new dimension to our daily lives, making it possible to apply instant communications and online resources to our public and private lives. It hardly seems surprising that we have applied the same reliance on technology to the way we meet and (sometimes) the way we fall in love.
Susan, a Scottsboro single mom with two children, feels incomplete. From one perspective, she seems pretty successful: a good job with benefits, a well-kept little house in a nice neighborhood, two kids on the honor roll, and a late model Saturn that's almost paid off.
But Susan, who divorced her husband of twelve years nine months ago, is lonely. She's sick of the local single's scene, which she describes as, "nonexistent...there's not really any place to go, other than a bar...and that's just not my style. I don't want to tell my kids, 'Your mama has a new boyfriend. He bought me a margarita, and pulled the bar stool out for me...it was love at first sight.'"
Like so many other single parents, Susan works long hours and often has to make compromises between her job and her own personal life to spend quality time with her family.
"Divorce was not something I decided on lightly, let me tell you," she says. "But my husband and I couldn't see eye to eye on anything...it wasn't good for us, none of us. Especially the kids. But that doesn't mean I should be unhappy for the rest of my life, does it? I deserve to be happy, after that divorce."
Alabama has the sixth highest divorce rate in the nation, a fact that translates into a sizeable market share for online dating services. In the lucrative online dating world, Susan is both a potential customer and a way to pull in new customers.
"Women use online dating services, and in surprising numbers," said Emilio Lassiter of the MediaWatch/Net Group, a not-for-profit media analyst. "But men, ages 29-58, are the target audience for many of these companies. A company that advertises to men in this demographic has to have a sizable group of women interested in dating in order to compete. Therefore, women are often customers as well as a way to pull in other customers."
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