Following a romance in my early twenties with an older man who, I eventually accepted, was simply at a different stage of life, I went through a series of short relationships of varying significance.
I noted that my friends describe me as “sincere and hilarious,” “fun to do things with,” and “a great trivia partner.” I peppered my profile with jokes and references to climbing, yoga, learning, eating all of the things, and drinking all of the drinks.
Meanwhile, online, I could decide between sites with free memberships, such as Plenty of Fish; paid sites with an older, more earnest clientele, such as e Harmony; niche sites such as and Gluten-Free Singles; and many others, all slightly differentiated by price, demographics, and objectives.
I signed up for Tinder and Bumble—two apps with simple interfaces that invite users to swipe on pictures of people they find attractive—as well as Ok Cupid.
The most mathematically promising one—at 99.5 percent—turned out to be one of my existing friends from law school.
But almost immediately, I began to notice peculiarities about my experience.