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The New Dating Paradigm

By Christopher Schonberger

Paradigm Shift #1: The office is the new bar

There was a time when office romance was considered anathema to a successful career. “Business and pleasure don’t mix,” said the conventional wisdom. “Sex in the office is harassment, even if it’s consensual.” Just watch Jungle Fever and you’ll know what I’m talking about (though I think that Spike Lee may have been making a point about something else…)

But that was the ‘90s and this is 2007, the year when “getting it cracking in the office” is no longer frowned about across the boardrooms of America. In a recent New York Times article, Stephanie Rosenbloom discussed the growing number of HR departments that are actually supporting office relationships as a way to foster good morale. As Rosenbloom explains,

“Those who follow the evolution of the workplace romance say the stigma may be fading because the line between business and personal life is blurring among younger workers. They are working longer hours. Their workplaces encourage collaboration. And, of course, most single people are in the work force.”

Challenge! Despite what some people may think, unemployed people are not spending all that free time dating and hanging out. More often than not, they are depressed and anti-social. And while it makes sense that spending a lot of time on the job might push sexual tensions to fever pitch, that doesn’t strike me as a compelling justification for romance—in this sense, dating in the workplace is more of a solution to the difficulty of achieving work-life balance than any sort of romantic coup. Can you trust your emotions in the workplace? How does an “affair de cubicle” affect everyone else? And what role does caffeine play in all this? Just a few important issues to consider before you decide to sing “Take a Chance on Me” a capella to your co-worker

Paradigm Shift #2: Feminists are the new hot girls

The evolution of “feminism” from bra-burning to i-banking is one I’ll never understand. I’m joking, of course. But while I genuinely don’t understand what exactly the “modern feminist” is or looks like, science says that feminism may actually be a boon to heterosexual relationships. According to a study from Rutgers, stereotypes of feminists as “unattractive” and “sexually unappealing” are fading, perhaps because the spectrum of those who categorize themselves as “feminist” has becomes as vast as ever. Almost every girl I graduated with would categorize herself as “feminist,” but each one had a very different conception of what that meant. Though, surprisingly, none subscribed to Ali G’s definition

People are attracted by the “unknown,” and so maybe the mystique of the modern feminist is responsible for this phenomenon. Or maybe it just goes hand in hand with the proliferation of office romances. A “career-oriented” women—too often used as a descriptive shorthand for a feminist—is now more acceptable than ever. Indeed, if we went by this stereotype, every heterosexual office romance would require attraction to a feminist. Just something to mull over, and also an explanation for…

Paradigm Shift #3: Chivalry is dead

But at least hip-hop is alive...

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