Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Well, I seem to be onto something here. Yesterday, ABC News announced a new documentary series, "Hooking Up" that vows to focus a critical lens on the "unpredictable world of online dating."
Interestingly enough, I was approached more than a year ago by a producer at ABC News when they were looking for women to profile in the series. At that time, I was working as a publicist for one of the largest online dating services, and a conflict in interest (thank God! Whew!) kept me out of the spotlight. ABC also was most definitely looking for women under 40 to profile in this supposed "documentary." (They eventually narrowed down to ten women in Manhattan in the prime childbearing years of 28-38.) I can predict, as well, that these women will all be gorgeous, rich, successful and telefenic, just as we all are in "real life."
This is excerpted from the ABC press release:
"HOOKING UP," A NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES FROM ABC NEWS, GOES INSIDE THE UNPREDICTABLE WORLD OF ONLINE DATING
Five-Part Series Premieres Thursday, July 14 at 9:00 p.m., ET
Once stigmatized as the last resort of desperate souls and lonely hearts, today internet dating services are a billion-dollar industry used by an estimated 40 million Americans.
"Hooking Up," a new five-part documentary series from the producers of the award-winning ABC News series "Hopkins 24/7," "Boston 24/7" and "NYPD 24/7," takes an intimate look at the sometimes bewildering, often hilarious, and occasionally frightening world of online dating.
Like the "24/7" series, "Hooking Up" puts a particular aspect of our culture under a microscope, focusing in this case on the yearnings, trials and tribulations of 12 Manhattan women. Their experiences - the connections, the rejections, the dating disasters - are a reminder that, for better or worse, every date is an adventure into uncharted territory.
The charismatic women in "Hooking Up" -- ranging in age from 25 to 38 -- explode the myth that online dating is for losers. Included in their ranks are a gynecologist, a hair stylist, a yoga instructor, a realtor and an opera-singer. Most speak anxiously about their biological clocks and the difficulty of finding Mr. Right in a city where beautiful women abound. They all say they believe the deck is stacked in favor of men. So they surf the internet hoping to meet a stranger who will turn out to be the most important date of their lives.
Yet their dating strategies couldn't be more different. Lisa, the doctor, initially conceals her name and occupation from potential suitors, because, she says, "if they know you're a doctor... they'll bring the engagement ring to the first date." Amy, the real estate broker, doesn't hesitate to tell dates that she's looking for a husband and the eventual father of her children. Reisha, a technology consultant, is determined that the next man she kisses will be the one she weds.
In theory the chance to screen a prospective date for compatibility, income and even basic literacy before meeting him allows reason to trump instant physical attraction. But if online suitors conceal their true motives and provide phony personal information, the fallout can be severe. After a sumptuous dinner, Sonja, owner of a health food store, discovers that her charming date refuses to keep his hands to himself once they reach his lavishly appointed penthouse. Most ill-fated encounters are more benign. When Cynthia, the hair stylist, realizes her date has misled her about his appearance, she bails out on dinner before the main course arrives. Another man literally finds his dinner finger-licking good, much to the chagrin of his date.
For every dud, there are also plenty of knights in shining armor. Yet chivalry doesn't guarantee success, and it may be mystifying to observers why certain men don't make the cut.
From the first online "wink" to meeting prospective in-laws, "Hooking Up" offers an unvarnished look at the rewards and pitfalls of 21st Century romance. If an infinite supply of bachelors is the upside to internet dating, sorting through them requires a decidedly unromantic, mercenary approach. But for those who persevere, the hope that they'll meet their soul-mate makes it all worthwhile.