Yet, numerous cultural and social interconnections, resonances, and ramifications link these events.
It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.
For Valentine’s Day, 1961, the cartoonist Charles Addams—of Addams Family fame—drew a futuristic cover for the New Yorker.
In 2016, dating apps are old news, just an increasingly normal way to look for love and sex. Of course, results can vary depending on what it is people want—to hook up or have casual sex, to date casually, or to date as a way of actively looking for a relationship.“I have had lots of luck hooking up, so if that’s the criteria I would say it’s certainly served its purpose,” says Brian, a 44-year-old gay man who works in fashion retail in New York City.
The question is not if they work, because they obviously can, but how well do they work? “I have not had luck with dating or finding relationships.”“I think the way I’ve used it has made it a pretty good experience for the most part,” says Will Owen, a 24-year-old gay man who works at a marketing agency in New York City.
Conservative political commentator and would-be presidential candidate Pat Buchanan infamously wrote in the February 4, 1983, issue of the that, “The poor homosexuals—they have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.” The 1980s was a culture caught between embracing and condemning the enormous social changes of the 1960s and 1970s.
Second-wave feminism, Gay Liberation, the sexual revolution, the hippie movement, and drugs-sex-and-rock-and-roll, all promoted personal freedom and pleasure.
I was born in 1986, which I would argue essentially makes me the quintessential ’90s child, coming into the decade as a four-year-old making some of my first television memories and leaving it as a jaded 14-year-old, certain that The Simpsons probably had “a season or two left, at best.” But one thing is certain: I watched a whole lot of TV.
In that decade, I watched some of the best shows, such as the aforementioned Simpsons in its heyday, and I watched some absolute dreck—I’m talking Street Sharks and SWAT Kats-type stuff here.
Although IV drug users, hemophiliacs, and heterosexual partners of infected men were also dying, the gay male community was publically identified—and blamed—as the cause of the epidemic.
Meanwhile, after decades in which same-sex marriage was regarded as either a homophile pipe dream or a heterosexist capitulation, attitudes began to shift. It is impossible to look at the twenty-two year long fight for marriage equality outside of the framework of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and equally impossible to look at today’s attitudes toward HIV/AIDS as unconnected to the cultural impact of the fight for marriage equality.
It explores the mid-twentieth century origins of computer dating and matchmaking in order to argue for the importance of using sexuality as a lens of analysis in the history of computing.