In the last 5 years, the mechanics of courtship have been further expanded
(or hampered, depending on how you look at it), by the advent of online dating.
While the move to the Internet took some time, currently one in five singles now looks for love on the Web, which has led to an interesting shift in dating patterns.
Where traditionally, men filled the role of the pursuer, the anonymity of the Internet
has allowed women to pursue their heart's desire in complete safety online. A recent
study indicated that "women pay to contact men as often as the reverse, which is quite
different from behavior in telephone-based dating system" (from Wired magazine).
The trend of singles making a Web connection continues to increase, as the percentage
of North American singles who have tried Internet dating has grown from 2% in 1999 to
over 10% today. (from Canadian Business, February 2002). More than half of online
consumers (53%) know someone who has started a friendship or relationship online,
and three fourths of 18-24 year old online consumers (74%) say they do.
There is still plenty of room for traditional matchmakers to thrive however, and only
time will tell which industry wins out in the end.