With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.

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Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.

From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.

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Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.

Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.

"I've got a pretty face and a pretty extensive Urban Spoon wishlist," Erin Wotherspoon's blog declares.

This young woman has been working her way through the Toronto dating scene, but without the goal of meeting people. Really expensive dinners in some of the nicest restaurants in Toronto, and abusing the trust of quite a few nice men to do it. We'll 100 percent fess up to taking a few free drinks in our 20s, but Erin created a dating profile on J-Date, which is a dating site for Jewish people who want to date other Jews. "Well, there’s that awkward moment when you realize your date thinks you’re jewish." But she is willing to pretend to be for food.

Still, dating varies considerably by nation, custom, religious upbringing, technology, and social class, and important exceptions with regards to individual freedoms remain as many countries today still practice arranged marriages, request dowries, and forbid same-sex pairings.