It wasn’t until recently, when I stepped back to reflect on my time in the digital dating arena—a whirlwind of pretty faces and predictable interests and prosaic conversations—that I realized my lifetime date count had, like a strain of mutant amoebae, multiplied by more than sevenfold.But only one date—and I went on close to 50 via online services—made it past the first encounter.That one petered out almost as quickly as the rest.I certainly didn’t set out to meet as many women as possible, an exhausting goal.There was a time, not so long ago, when I could look back on my relatively barren romantic life and count, one by one, the half dozen first dates I’d experienced.That was last year, before I casually sauntered into the wide and anarchic world of online dating, overwhelming my senses with the vast number of available women in New York who were willing to meet for drinks or dinner or perhaps an afternoon walk.Add an inch to your height, she said, and put a few female writers in your list of favorite authors. Then I got to work, sending out messages to a slew of women. There were lots of aspiring actors and lots of people in PR, and most of them, I learned from their profiles, were seriously into men who “don’t take themselves too seriously,” which is an idea that I object to. After a few months, I’d gotten used to the unwritten rules of messaging—never introduce yourself with a “What’s up?
When I’d completed my new online profile, I sent it over to a female friend for vetting. A lack of interest on her part, a lack of interest on mine. As the search continued, I’d come home each night to my computer and spend hours scrolling through the vast sea of faces.
Instead of going out with someone you already know you’re attracted to (the old way), online daters now use first dates to find out whether they like someone at all.