If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.” At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on Ok Cupid and let us watch as he went through his options.These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.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.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.
He quickly deduced that she was the appropriate height (finally! First I texted four friends who travel and eat out a lot and whose judgment I trust. Finally I made my selection: Il Corvo, an Italian place that sounded amazing. (It only served lunch.) At that point I had run out of time because I had a show to do, so I ended up making a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich on the bus.
The first woman he clicked on was very beautiful, with a witty profile page, a good job and lots of shared interests, including a love of sports.
After looking the page over for a minute or so, Derek said, “Well, she looks O. I’m just gonna keep looking for a while.” I asked what was wrong, and he replied, “She likes the Red Sox.” I was completely shocked. Imagine the Derek of 20 years ago, finding out that this beautiful, charming woman was a real possibility for a date.
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.
Today’s generations are looking (exhaustively) for soul mates, whether we decide to hit the altar or not, and we have more opportunities than ever to find them.