Labor of Love:
The Invention of Dating
in conversation with MEREDITH GOLDSTEIN
This event includes a book signing
May 23, 2016
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome writer and Yale PhD candidate MOIRA WEIGEL and the Boston Globe's Love Letters columnist MEREDITH GOLDSTEIN for a discussion of Weigel's first book, Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating.
About Labor of Love
“Does anyone date anymore?” Today, the authorities tell us that courtship is in crisis. But when Moira Weigel dives into the history of sex and romance in modern America, she discovers that authorities have always said this. Ever since young men and women started to go out together, older generations have scolded them: That’s not the way to find true love. The first women who made dates with strangers were often arrested for prostitution; long before “hookup culture,” there were “petting parties”; before parents worried about cell phone apps, they fretted about joyrides and “parking.” Dating is always dying. But this does not mean that love is dead. It simply changes with the economy. Dating is, and always has been, tied to work.
Lines like “I’ll pick you up at six” made sense at a time when people had jobs that started and ended at fixed hours. But in an age of contract work and flextime, many of us have become sexual freelancers, more likely to text a partner “u still up?” Weaving together over one hundred years of history with scenes from the contemporary landscape, Labor of Love offers a fresh feminist perspective on how we came to date the ways we do. This isn't a guide to “getting the guy.” There are no ridiculous “rules” to follow. Instead, Weigel helps us understand how looking for love shapes who we are—and hopefully leads us closer to the happy ending that dating promises.
“Moira Weigel’s Labor of Love rescues the subject of dating from its Trojan horse of triviality. It illuminates the social stakes of feelings too often misunderstood as private or peripheral: romantic desire, romantic frustration, and the shame of caring too much about either one. Witty, lively, and deftly—refreshingly—attentive to largely untold histories, Labor of Love has constructed a dazzling tour of the public infrastructure of our private lives. You will never swipe right the same way again.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams
“Instead of going out tonight, do yourself a favor: stay in and read this book. Moira Weigel and her genre-bending history of dating are excellent, illuminating company.” —Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform and director of Examined Life and Zizek!
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
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