Fortunately, a work-placement program run by the hospital helped her get a job, and though she couldn’t return home, her Aunt Maud and Uncle Ted took her in. Always the class clown at school, Joan knew it was better to hide her insecurities and weaknesses than to ask for help.Joan could not read easily or write well, nor could she figure out numbers and arithmetic.I may not be young, but I don’t look bad naked and I’m keen.To jumpstart the whole procedure, I took a scattershot approach. Yet the real story, warts and all, is much more interesting.And it helps us understand why computer dating is what it is today—why we love it, loathe it, need it, and fear it in nearly equal measure.
So, two divorces, five serious relationships and a pre-paid gym membership added up to one thing: it was time to get back on that horse in a seriously new way.Joan left the hospital disoriented and disheartened.At nineteen, she felt like her life might be over before it started, forever marked by the stigma of having been involuntarily committed.As anybody who has ever seen a picture of an old vibrator in an early 20th century Sears Roebuck catalog knows, this was certainly not the case.But what many do not know is that the accepted history of computer dating is not true. The prevailing account of computer dating’s origins is the same kind of stylized informational portrait that you might put up on an online dating website.It hides a lot and only shows the things that you think people want to see.Brilliant young men of privileged backgrounds taking a risk by applying machines to a realm about as far away from cold, hard, technological logic as you could get—this makes for a good story, and one which we are primed to hear, because it plays to our cultural expectations.The standard history of computer dating claims that it was invented, like so many other things, at Harvard University.By young people, of course, who were definitely men and, it seems to go without saying, white.But computer dating has been around for far longer than Tinder, Grindr, or even the personal computer.The first computer dating systems looked something like this: Your preferences were written down, usually in questionnaire form. You received a printout with addresses, so you could write to your matches. No pictures, and no information about their preferences, were included.