Sarah Milton
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Compatibility and contempt
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This chapter discusses desires and hopes for the future by drawing on interviews and stories told about dating beyond the salsa classes, in internet dating and online spaces. Respectability was embodied in multiple ways when talking about internet dating, which was tricky in its explicit search for romantic and/or sexual partners. Internet dating was reimagined into a group setting, with individual profiles made by multiple people, and taking individual agency out of the context. Internet dating was also treated like a business, desexualising the spaces and therefore making the space ‘safe’. Interestingly, however, discussions of online forums allowed a much more agential and calculated discourse of desire to arise, with internet dating allowing the picking and choosing of (un)desirable attributes. Talking of what kind of men were not desired revealed much about how the women wanted to be seen themselves. Notions of ‘compatibility’ were seeped in class-based narratives. Derisive descriptions of undesirable men, accompanied with undesirable lifestyles, worked to align the storytellers with a middle-class femininity. The chapter discusses contempt and the cathartic processes of class relations. Contempt was also linked to feelings about ageing. Divorced and midlife men were increasingly dependent and needy, problematic in terms of imagining future relationships. The chapter ends with a discussion of intimate economies that link love and economy, desire and class.

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Ageing and new intimacies

Gender, sexuality and temporality in an English salsa scene

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