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The demolition of the Third Avenue Elevated subway line set off a building boom and a white-collar influx, most notably of young educated women who suddenly found themselves free of family, opprobrium, and, thanks to birth control, the problem of sexual consequence. transferred the answers onto a computer punch card and fed the card into an I. In the beginning, was restricted to the Upper East Side, an early sexual-revolution testing ground.Civilization, in its various guises, had it pretty much worked out.Society—family, tribe, caste, church, village, probate court—established and enforced its connubial protocols for the presumed good of everyone, except maybe for the couples themselves.The criteria for compatibility had little to do with mutual affection or a shared enthusiasm for spicy food and Fleetwood Mac.Happiness, self-fulfillment, “me time,” a woman’s needs: these didn’t rate.You fall prey to the tyranny of choice—the idea that people, when faced with too many options, find it harder to make a selection.

Men were asked to rank drawings of women’s hair styles: a back-combed updo, a Patty Duke bob.

Online dating sites, whatever their more mercenary motives, draw on the premise that there has got to be a better way.

They approach the primeval mystery of human attraction with a systematic and almost Promethean hand.

As for romantic love, it was an almost mutually exclusive category of human experience.

As much as it may have evolved, in the human animal, as a motivation system for mate-finding, it was rarely given great consideration in the final reckoning of conjugal choice.

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