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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.

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.

He went on as many as six first dates a week for half a year, spending

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.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.He went on as many as six first dates a week for half a year, spending $1,000 a month on his string of first encounters.“I wasn’t looking to make a choice,” he told me, adding that he never asked a girl out again, nor did he try to sleep with any of them.While any slut can game the system if he or she so pleases, bedding the city via Tinder or any number of online dating apps, what’s less often acknowledged is that regular people are going on an inordinate number of dates and getting very little—sexual or otherwise—in the process.I’d like to say that this shift implies we’ve become bolder human beings, but that’s sadly not the case. Unlike asking someone out in person, you don’t have to muster the strength to walk up to someone, or even just call them, and possibly get rejected.The vulnerability—and the spontaneity that goes along with it—in romantic connection is diminished; online dating may make you a more active dater, but it also turns you into a more passive romancer.

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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.

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.

He went on as many as six first dates a week for half a year, spending $1,000 a month on his string of first encounters.

,000 a month on his string of first encounters.

This is a major, and ridiculously exhausting, shift in how we mate as a species, the biggest, it seems, since birth control.

But it’s also a terrible place, as you are forced to sit and stare at a person you barely know for a long period of time without the option of looking away when awkward silences arise—and they always do.

After a while, I got tired of explaining, over and over again, how journalists come up with story ideas—by going on online dates, of course!

“You really know nothing about a person when you arrange a first date with someone through an online source,” said Harry Reis, a professor of relationship psychology at the University of Rochester.

“Imagine if you were to pick names out of the telephone book and go on a first date.

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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.

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