Even when you decide to answer, many users will not respond, having lost interest or been tempted by one of the site’s many other profiles.Some people disappear after a few exchanges—sometimes even after you’ve made plans to meet. 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 met lovely men—many of whom remain my friends—but by my mid-thirties, I still hadn’t met anyone with whom I felt that same degree of connection and passion I had known with my first love.I liked the concept of Ok Cupid’s “match percentages.” The site projects the compatibility of its users, assessing it on a scale from 1 to 100.I was a high match with a seemingly large number of men—quite a few of them were in the 99 percent range.I mentioned my penchant for ’60s soul, ’90s hip hop, indie rock, and the writing of Kurt Vonnegut—and alluded to my fondness for the board game Settlers of Catan to attract hot nerds.
But almost immediately, I began to notice peculiarities about my experience.
Among my single friends, and even in the conversations I overheard between strangers in coffee shops, women using dating sites described being “overwhelmed” and “flooded” with communication.
On the day I completed my profile, I received one message; four more appeared over the next two days.
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.