A message from a prospective mate every day may sound like a lot.But given the extremely low probability that any given message will lead to a serious relationship, it’s not.
Being online is like going to a party without encountering all the people who trap you in boring conversations.My filter settings are pretty generous—if you have a compatibility rating of higher than 70 percent, are of at least “average” attractiveness, and send more than a three-word message—“Hey” and “Yo girl” are not acceptable—your message will make it to me.(Filters are common—especially for women, who often receive a high number of lewd or casual messages from spam profiles, and generic messages from men who send the same note to a swath of profiles.) Of the 708 messages I received over the next fourteen months, 530 ended up in the filtered inbox, which left me with about one message of decent-or-above quality a day.I liked the concept of Ok Cupid’s “match percentages.” The site projects the compatibility of its users, assessing it on a scale from 1 to 100.I was a high match with a seemingly large number of men—quite a few of them were in the 99 percent range.Over the following months, I would play with this slightly: I variously described myself as a dreamer, book lover, learner, educator, and writer, someone who views the world with a glass half-full of optimism and a dash of sarcasm.I noted that my friends describe me as “sincere and hilarious,” “fun to do things with,” and “a great trivia partner.” I peppered my profile with jokes and references to climbing, yoga, learning, eating all of the things, and drinking all of the drinks.Among my single friends, and even in the conversations I overheard between strangers in coffee shops, women using dating sites described being “overwhelmed” and “flooded” with communication.On the day I completed my profile, I received one message; four more appeared over the next two days.I was searching for a committed relationship with a supportive partner, someone I could love deeply and who shared my values and goals.Like many singles, I had created an online dating profile. Now I decided to take it more seriously—these days, I seem to hear fewer and fewer stories of real life meet-cutes.