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.As of this writing, 38% of Americans who describe themselves as “single and looking” have used an online-dating site.It’s not just my generation—boomers are as likely as college kids to give online dating a whirl.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.I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together. I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life. I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.
The biggest changes have been brought by the .4 billion online-dating industry, which has exploded in the past few years with the arrival of dozens of mobile apps.But Derek of 2013 simply clicked an X on a web-browser tab and deleted her without thinking twice.Watching him comb through those profiles, it became clear that online, every bozo could now be a stud.I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives.People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.