People use online dating
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.
"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.
Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.
I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?
In fact, by several measures, online dating has proved even more useful — both to individuals and society — than the traditional avenues it has replaced.
A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.
Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.