Even a guy at the highest end of attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get.

But that doesn’t mean that men end up standing alone in the corner of the online bar. Take Derek, a regular user of Ok Cupid who lives in New York City.

The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

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As of this writing, 38% of Americans who describe themselves as “single and looking” have used an online-­dating site.

It’s not just my ­generation—boomers are as likely as college kids to give online dating a whirl.

If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.” At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on Ok Cupid and let us watch as he went through his options.

These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.

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.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.But Derek of 2013 simply clicked an X on a web-browser tab and deleted her without thinking twice.