A romantically challenged Londoner offers new strategies on playing the dating game, attempting to “make sense of something he doesn’t understand, using something that he does.”
With only a six-week duration as his relationship “personal best time,” Nicolson, a 20-something trainee solicitor for a British law firm, parlays his studies in economics and politics at Edinburgh University into unorthodox ways to view love, improve his chances at romance and demonstrate a correlation between love and the “clear-cut rational world of economics.” Applying the dismal science to the love game, the author explores online dating, where one’s “goods” are presented, displayed, brokered, ordered and possibly exchanged. “Playing hard to get” increases your demand by not overstocking and oversimplifying intentions. Nicolson shares personal dating anecdotes that range from the humorous to the cringe-worthy and astutely equates a fizzling love life with didactic market principles, complemented with graphs and charts. His sage best friend and patient sounding board Flora offers counsel, but her stern advice does little to dissuade his course of action, which can be outwardly sexist and overstated, as in a long-winded chapter involving the long wine lists at higher-end restaurants. Some correlations are cleverer than others, as when Nicolson establishes an economic correlation with the nice-guys-versus-bad-boys equation or how the eternal tug of war between the (married) sexes can be measured using market force predictors. After a long dry stretch, Nicolson admits to successfully dating a girl for a year, yet he eventually forgoes the strong, safe, bankable investment of a long-term relationship for the free-form “liquidity” of the single life. A chapter on Keynesian economics restores his confidence in himself and in love.
A not always convincing, mostly amusing glimpse at the grinding gears of the young male in pursuit of love and economic stability.