by Conor Friedersdorf
Over at True/Slant, I've been writing about one of the sleaziest "pickup techniques" short of drugging. Like many calculated approaches to attracting the opposite sex, its core is deception and manipulation -- I dare any Dish reader who clicks through to muster a defense.
What I want to explore in this post, however, are the borderline cases where dating, manipulation and deception intersect. Every so often, there is the dream scenario where new romance is born of ideal circumstances: e.g., introduced via mutual friends, mutually interested people, confident enough to get to know one another without ego or insecurity getting in the way, etc.
But consider a more common scenario: two people who meet in a bar, or on Match.com, both with their share of character flaws. Perhaps one of them is more interested than the other. It is pretty to think the right answer is that any deception or manipulation is wrong -- but aren't a lot of things that strike us as fair game actually deceptive and manipulative?
Makeup is worn. Always messy living rooms are cleaned up before one's date arrives. A favorite poem is gleaned from her Facebook profile, memorized, and strategically dropped into conversation. That last seems a more marginal case than the others. Why? Does it cross the line? Why or why not?