This is the age of the “one stop shop”. Across the world, supermarkets are replacing the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker with convenience stores. I do most of my shopping in supermarkets because I crave their convenience and low prices. At the same time, I miss the quality and personal touch the little shops used to provide.
For other purchases, I’m a little more choosey. I don’t expect or want my dentist to syringe my ears, or cut my hair, whilst he’s checking my teeth. I want a specialist, not a “jack of all trades” or “all-rounder”. Similarly, I’m content to see my G.P. with my minor ailments but, if there’s something seriously wrong with me, I want a specialist. I don’t expect my G.P. to be expert in every field of medicine. I wouldn’t want a good all-rounder administering my oncology, or an ear, nose and throat wallah fiddling with my aorta!
Monogamous tradition dictates that your partner must be an all-rounder. We expect him/her to provide care, attention, love, support, social interaction, entertainment, sex, and we expect to provide the same in return. It is not reasonable to expect anyone to be expert in every aspect of partnership. The very best we can hope for is a good all-rounder, with expertise in the one aspect most dear to us. Even this compromise is difficult to find and nigh-on impossible to sustain over decades.
So, is there a case for single service providers in lieu of a one stop shop? Is the only perfect partner actually not one man or woman but a collection of people, chosen for their skill sets? Logically, I think yes. Emotionally, I’m less convinced. What do you think?