Desperate measures

May 13, 1998|By Tamara Ikenberg

Singles ads, dating services ... and now, simulated dates with shrinks.

It seems American singles are willing to go to any length to hit the jackpot of love. And the methods are getting progressively sketchier.

Why have we reached this point?

Dr. Drew Pinsky of Los Angeles, co-host of the television and radio call-in program "Loveline," blames the divorce explosion. "If you don't have a model for intimacy in early childhood, you don't have models to establish relationships."

Dr. Alvin Baraff, founder of MenCenter Counseling in Washington, blames harassment lawsuits. "I regret that things are going in the direction that people can't be themselves."

But both say First Impressions, the simulated-date counseling service in New York, and its cohorts are not the answer.

"How am I going to know if it's really me that got me a second date, or that following all these rules got me a second date?" Baraff says. "... Surface things you can change and they may have an effect for a while. That's good for a first impression, but it's not going to work for a whole dating period."

"There is a tendency to clinicalize and professionalize problems. It's about the objectification of the human relationship," Pinsky says. "There are so many elements that fall in the area of instinct and passion. If you take it all out, you're losing something."

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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