That weekend I talked to a neuropsychologist from Milwaukee; a software developer from Austin, Texas; an improv instructor from Seattle; and an economics masters student from London.
At first, these calls were a little awkward—what were you supposed to say to a complete stranger you’d probably never meet?
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My childhood neighbor from New Jersey, recently divorced, met her Syracuse boyfriend through the phone game Wordfeud.
And one of my Ok Cupid coworkers—a quiet, 32-year-old software engineer named Jessie Walker—told me she’d met her boyfriend of 10 years through an internet forum for introverts while she was a student studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art. They messaged online for over two years before he booked a flight to meet her in Maryland and eventually moved into an apartment with her in Brooklyn.
Though the internet allows us to connect with people across the globe near-instantly, dating apps like Tinder prioritize showing us nearby matches, the assumption being the best date is the one we can meet up with as quickly as possible with little inconvenience.
A year and a half ago, I was 23, single, and working as an engineer at the online-dating site Ok Cupid.
Lonely and alone on a Saturday night, I started scrolling through Ok Cupid and, out of boredom and curiosity, expanded my search options to include users anywhere in the world.