Dating is a State of Mind -or- Arabian Nights Gender Ads

Online Dating Sevices -or- Gender Advertisements in the Global Village

Recently a young woman asked me a serious question, she had asked a young man to go out with her for the evening, and he agreed, in this situation was it considered "a date?" I reflected for a time and responded; "Dating is a state of mind". The poetic landscape of dating, dating rituals (what used to be called courtship rituals) and dating mythology in the age of mass media has dramatically changed. Just think of the proliferation of "online dating services". 

Erving Goffman comes closest to describing the age we live in via his sociological concept of "Gender Advertisements". In a wider social context of advertising, Marshall McLuhan in "Understanding Media" wrote; "When the movies came, the entire pattern of American life went on the screen as a nonstop ad. Whatever any actor or actress wore or used or ate was such an ad as had never been dreamed of. The American bathroom, kitchen and car, like everything else got the Arabian Nights treatment." 

The Dating Game in the Global Village

"Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" illuminates the "Arabian Nights" pattern of dreaming in the "global village" that McLuhan speaks of. Here is the dream interpretation "The Dating Game", that discusses one woman's "Man of Her Dreams". A "state of mind" problem that is foreseeable, most likely few real men could match or live up to her idealized "celebrity" dating vision, unless they were really a celebrity. From a social psychological perspective, cognitive dissonance between the dramatic fiction of the idealized romantic comedy fantasy of the dream and dating's factual reality can be the only logical outcome. 

Leona, twenties, American

This isn't a particular dream but a recurring one; I seem to dream relatively frequently about famous people. I've had dreams where I'm dating them, trying to make friends with them or even taking acting classes from them. I just had another last night about a musician. These dreams have been incredibly pleasant, funny and sometimes even illuminate for me the particular star's character (at least as I see it). Why do I have these dreams?

Mr. Hagen's Reply: The Bachelorette's Man of Her Dreams

Well it sounds like you're into dating. If so, it might raise your self-esteem if you were dating a famous person. These dreams also seem to reflect some elements of your listed occupation as playwright and poet. Evidently, you are attempting use your literary skills to understand character as it applies to the process of dating.

From a popular cultural perspective The Dating Game was a TV Show that started in 1965 and with some breaks inbetween lasting till 2000. People like Farrah Fawcet, Steve Oprah, John Ritter (view TV clip), Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger (see TV clip) and Sally Field were on the game show. The TV show has morphed in the 21st century into the Bachlorette and the Bachelor. A humorous popular film about dating is 50 First Dates (see film trailer) starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Lucy (Barrymore) has anterograde amnesia after a car accident meets Henry Roth (Sandler) at a diner, a relationship begins to develop. Roth initially does not  know about Lucy's memory problem. Roth makes a video that helps Lucy to understand what has happened to her. Because Lucy can't consciously remember him from one day to the next, Roth decides to leave on an Arctic expedition. Visiting Lucy before he leaves, Roth finds that Lucy has been dreaming about him at night.                                    

From a popular music perspective Bobby Darin has given us the song Dream Lover (see music video clip). From a literary perspective, the "literary" concept of character can be researched further in:

  • John Bayley, "The Characters of Love"
  • W.J. Harvey, "Character and the Novel"
  • Leo Lowenthal, "Literature, Popular Culture, and Society" (especially Chapter 4, "The Triumph of Mass Idols")

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.