Once upon a time, online daters were mocked as lonely losers, or worse. Today, at least 40 million Americans are looking for love on the Web. Like sex, love and attraction, online dating is an object of fascination and confusion.
Some commentators credit it with helping singles feel more secure and confident, while others blame it for “ruining romance,” “killing commitment” and contributing to the rise of the hook-up culture. While women generally prefer men around their own age, men are most attracted to 20-year-olds, period.
In 2013, Mary Kay Beckman sued for million after a man she met on the site came to her Las Vegas home with a knife and an intent to kill.
But despite the occasional bad press, the numbers suggest that online dating is very safe.
Ok Cupid creates something like 30,000 first dates every day, and complaints about dangerous meetings are extremely rare.
I remember only a handful in my 12 years at the company.
They’ve “given rise to a pick-and-choose shopping behavior that prioritizes looks more than ever before.” In reality, how someone looks in a couple of pictures is no indicator of whether you’ll be attracted to them.
That point was driven home for me during a small publicity stunt Ok Cupid ran to promote a blind dating app; we called it Love Is Blind Day.
Men on the site tend to message women closer to their own age; very few men over 30 actually reach out to 20-year-old women.
As the head of Ok Cupid, I worked diligently to untangle many of the misconceptions about finding love on the Internet. That’s why the Daily Mail calls straight women over 45 the “plankton generation” — at the bottom of the romantic food chain.
Time magazine editors found the notion of men dating women in their 30s so baffling that they invited 15 experts to explain the phenomenon.
This assumption is so prevalent that MTV has an entire show, “Catfish,” devoted to investigating whether people in online relationships are representing themselves honestly to their partners.
In one extreme example of an online lie, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o was tricked a few years ago into virtually dating a woman who never existed.