This study draws on three diverse, yet complementary research areas: self-presentation; possessions as symbols; and an evolutionary approach to mate selection and parental investment.

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Indeed, because consumer researchers combine a theoretical interest in exchange per se with a solid understanding of the commercial marketplace, they are particularly well suited to perform studies involving formal mate-selection services.

As the number of singles reached record proportions (Bennet 1989, Cutler 1989, Fuchs 1988, and Masnick and Bane 1980), the development of products and services targeting this group became a major strategy for the business community as well as nonprofit service providers.

Bernard and Adelman's work falls into the second category and furthers understanding of these services themselves.

Although this research deals specifically with the clients of a matchmaking service, the findings have wider-implications for general theories regarding the role of self-image in product or service utilization.

In some cases, researchers have used these services as a convenient vehicle to investigate basic questions about mate selection (Curran 1972, 1973a, 1973b, Curran and Lippold 1975, Woll and Cozby 1987, and Woll and Young 1989), whereas other researchers have sought a better understanding of this phenomenon in its own right (Adelman 1987, Bolig, Stein, and Mc Kenry 1984, Cameron, Oskamp and Williams 1977, Godwin 1973, Jedlicka 1981, and Woll 1986).

This paper presents two examples of research involving formal social intermediaries, one from each of these two categories.

Over the same period, singles ads, once the exclusive domain of off-beat publications, have become an established feature in most major newspapers and many magazines such an the New York Review of Books.

Movies, like Crossing Delancy and Sea of love, along with television shows like Thirty Something, all incorporate these new introduction techniques into their story lines.

Solomon, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 532-537.

This social process is frequently referred to as the "marriage market." Due to the important role that exchange plays in the courtship process, many academics from disciplines traditionally concerned with the world of commerce have turned their attention to dating and mate selection.

The singles business is booming (Andrews 1988, Bennet 1989, Blodgett 1986, Brand 1988, and Mullan 1984) and represents a significant change in the way many Americans go about finding a mate.