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Data scientist Dale Markowitz wrote via email, "When it comes to receiving quality messages on Ok Cupid (that is, first messages that turn into conversations), there is no penalty to being 40 or over.In fact, the proportion of men to women on Ok Cupid grows with age; women over 40 get on average more messages than women under 40, and have the pick of the litter, so to speak."If Markowitz is right, then perhaps being 40 could be to my advantage.Moreover, there's the human factor; it's much easier to reject someone arbitrarily than it is to make an exception.Those exceptions take effort, and online dating is like Amazon Prime for sex.There was the ex who brutally dumped me but wouldn't stop emailing me for months, whose presence at dorky work gatherings made me dizzy; the sociopathic film critic whose shoulder I virtually cried on; the go-nowhere first dates; and the great, wide swaths of time spent single, usually pining after some unavailable director or writer who'd relish my attention and nothing else. There were a few things that sent me into a panic about turning 40, but the biggest — looming larger than the golden ring of a book deal or a staff job or, like, finally going back to yoga — was what it meant for me to still be single and actively looking for a partner at that age. If you're not familiar with the exciting world of online dating, sites and apps let you set search parameters that range from location to body type to education and, yes, age range.Not so much even that I was single, but that I and what that implied. There are plenty of things I simply do not give a single solitary fuck about when it comes to what women my age are supposed to be doing. Just as there are movies on Netflix you might never stumble across in your bleary-eyed scrolling, there are plenty of people you might never see through some whim of programming code.
When I was younger, I saw the girls (and the guys, for that matter) my age to be kids, which I was too.(And love, ideally.) If it weren't for the algorithms, I could meet all of these people IRL and they wouldn't know I was 40 unless I showed them my birth certificate — ah, the very idea made me irate.How dare they reject me before I could reject them! Whether they were the ancient ads I helped beta test as an intern or the old standby OKCupid, I'd invest time and energy into meeting men I wouldn't otherwise come across in my day-to-day life (read: freelancing at home, usually pantless).It was making me feel like crap, so I went to Europe, specifically Stockholm, and immediately got laid."For the time being, going to Europe is off the table for me, if only because I hid my passport from myself after a long-distance tryst with someone I'd met on a work trip went sideways.Luckily, OKCupid's data is much more optimistic than my friend Chelsea.