The proliferation of dating websites, printed personals and self-help relationship books reflect the new ways Americans seek close, personal relationships. Exposed to changing and often conflicting values, trends, and fashions—disseminated by popular culture, advertising and assorted "experts"—Americans face uncertainties about the best ways to meet important emotional and social needs. How do we establish lasting and intimate personal relationships including marriage?
In Extravagant Expectations Paul Hollander investigates how Americans today pursue romantic relationships, with special reference to the advantages and drawbacks of Internet dating compared to connections made in school, college, and the workplace. By analyzing printed personals, dating websites, and advice offered by pop psychology books, he examines the qualities that people seek in a partner and also assesses the influence of the remaining conventional ideas of romantic love. Hollander suggests that notions of romantic love have changed due to conflicting values and expectations and the impact of pragmatic considerations. Individualism, high expectations, social and geographic mobility, changing sex roles, and the American national character all play a part in this fascinating and finally sobering exploration of men and women to find love and meaning in life.
Paul Hollander's books include The End of Commitment, Political Will and Personal Belief, and Anti-Americanism. Born in Budapest, he studied at the London School of Economics, the University of Illinois, and Princeton, before teaching at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is author or editor of fourteen books in political sociology and cultural-intellectual history. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.