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And so it was that, some four months into singledom, I gathered the courage to join Ok Cupid and head to a wine bar with Pete, a musician-turned-accountant whom I chose for his spectacularly anodyne profile. But I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.Now, over three years and seven dating apps later, I’ve gone out with 86 men and counting; I know because I keep a list that reads like free verse (“David the orphan … Yes, online dating can be deeply demoralizing, a parade of indignities that throws into relief not just our self-absorption and banality, but our nihilism too.

And as for those ghosters, they have their purpose too.

The heat failed in the middle of the night, and we clung to each other for warmth as his dog, Bruce, a German Shepherd, curled and recurled at our feet.

As it grew light, he asked me how I took my coffee and I said that I drank tea; he returned some time later with a Styrofoam cup from Dunkin’ Donuts and a dozen red roses he had bought at the gas station. Multiply that evening’s curiosities by 86, and you’ll begin to grasp the potential of these soul-crushing apps.

Thanks to Hinge and Bumble, I have dated German poets and Indian bankers, Australian contractors and Brazilian waiters.

I’ve met United Nations diplomats and my favorite movie star’s ex-husband.

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