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.

big and beutiful online dating-37

I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives.

People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.

Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling or, God forbid, something I’m buying, like a lot of people in my generation—those in their 20s and 30s—I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice.

If this mentality pervades our decision­making in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?

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.

Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire.

In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn.

I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.