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I checked the website Eater for its Heat Map, which includes new, tasty restaurants in the city. The stunning fact remained: it was quicker for my dad to find a wife than it is for me to decide where to eat dinner.This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking.The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

What I’m about to say is going to sound very mean, but Derek is a pretty boring guy.

Medium height, thinning brown hair, nicely dressed and personable, but not immediately magnetic or charming.

If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.” At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on Ok Cupid and let us watch as he went through his options.

These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.

Even a guy at the highest end of attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get.

But that doesn’t mean that men end up standing alone in the corner of the online bar. Take Derek, a regular user of Ok Cupid who lives in New York City.

Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.

Where Bozos Are Studs Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.

But dealing with this new digital romantic world can be a lot of work.

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