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24-Mar-2017 15:31

During the Great Depression, when supporting a household was a challenge, she says, young people behaved like today's Millennials, dating prolifically without settling down.In her 1952 memoir, "Return to the Island," Frances Conway wrote of the "emptiness and deadness" of the Galapagos Islands where she once lived: "Anything could happen to me, and the island and the sea would remain unperturbed, as if nothing had happened. In her 1952 memoir, "Return to the Island," Frances Conway wrote of the "emptiness and deadness" of the Galapagos Islands where she once lived: "Anything could happen to me, and the island and the sea would remain unperturbed, as if nothing had happened. (Carol Memmott)Fast-forwarding to the present, she sees hooking up as a means of developing "the steely heart" needed to survive in perilous economic times — a clever conceit, but unproven and probably unprovable.

Weigel's view is that love entails work, choice and vulnerability, and that social and cultural change — including greater gender equality — can help.But she finds difference, too: "Whereas from the 1920s until at least the 1960s, there was an assumption that a series of dates would lead to sexual intimacy and emotional commitment, students today tend to put sexual activity first."Statistics, she says, don't indicate that today's students are necessarily having more sex.But the hookup culture has mandated an ideal of emotional detachment that she rightly finds questionable.Yet probably only a Millennial would compare dating to an "unpaid internship," another precarious energy investment with an uncertain outcome.The book's central tension is between detailing change and showing commonalities over time.

Weigel's view is that love entails work, choice and vulnerability, and that social and cultural change — including greater gender equality — can help.But she finds difference, too: "Whereas from the 1920s until at least the 1960s, there was an assumption that a series of dates would lead to sexual intimacy and emotional commitment, students today tend to put sexual activity first."Statistics, she says, don't indicate that today's students are necessarily having more sex.But the hookup culture has mandated an ideal of emotional detachment that she rightly finds questionable.Yet probably only a Millennial would compare dating to an "unpaid internship," another precarious energy investment with an uncertain outcome.The book's central tension is between detailing change and showing commonalities over time.In her mid-20s, with her mother warning of "the drumbeat of imminent spinsterhood," Weigel is struggling with both a failing relationship and the crucial question of what exactly she should seek in romance.