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Digital romance the business of online dating

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.

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Watching him comb through those profiles, it became clear that online, every bozo could now be a stud.I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.Eric and I weren’t digging into ­singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.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.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.

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 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.

10 in., has brown hair, lives in Brooklyn, is a member of the Baha’i faith and loves the music of Naughty by Nature.