At 30, after a breakup that involved spotting her boyfriend draped around another woman, digital strategist Amy Webb decided to try meeting men online.
And she did: On JDate, Match.com, and e Harmony, she met guys who were six inches shorter or 30 pounds heavier than advertised; who picked expensive restaurants and passed the check to her; and who told her, mid drink, that they were married.
"Yet here I was, husband hunting and armed with only a handful of half-assed bullet points."Online dating is now the third most common way couples meet, with 30 to 40 percent of singletons logging in to some 1,500 services.
In the marvelously titled (Current), writer Dan Slater tracks a phenomenon that started in 1965 with "computer dating"—essentially a digital compatibility test, dreamed up by two lovelorn Harvard undergrads desperate to meet Radcliffe girls—and mushroomed into an estimated $2 billion a year industry.
According to Slater, it's one of the few business models in which clients' failures are the company's win—the longer we seek, the more money they make.
Aiming to short-circuit this cycle, "e-flirt expert" Laurie Davis' hyperprescriptive (Atria) instructs us in a level of detail that is by turns grating and illuminating on how we should be "marketing our singledom." Here, the authors' best advice on joining—and enjoying—the mixer:1.
Play the Field"It's important to be in more than one community," Davis says.