Those exceptions take effort, and online dating is like Amazon Prime for sex.(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.
It has generally been rote and fruitless, with occasional flurries of excitement, but for someone who makes their living with words, I've had a weirdly difficult time wooing dudes with them.
Still, the day after I turned 40, I decided to fire up an old profile and see what happened.
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).
Eventually, I'd get fed up with the banality of it all, hide my profile or delete the app.
Luckily, OKCupid's data is much more optimistic than my friend Chelsea.
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.
"Now that I'm 31, I realize that I just liked WOMEN.
My current girlfriend is four years older than me, but I definitely see her as my equal.
It never occurred to me in a serious way before this to lie about my age, even when I hit 30 or 35.
In the context of dating, those ages felt a lot less damning than 40; they felt a lot more viable. As ambivalent as I am about having my own children, there's something haunting about that scene from where Marisa Tomei stomps her foot about her biological clock ticking.
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.