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My family story also serves as a brief history of romance. But they’re supplanting the role of matchmaker once held by friends and family.For the past 10 years, the Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld has been compiling data on how couples meet.

While there is no official handbook or rule guide, most dating apps operate more or less the same way.

You download the app, create a profile, add some of your favorite pictures, and write a short bio.

A 2012 paper co-written by Rosenfeld found that the share of straight couples who met online rose from about zero percent in the mid-1990s to about 20 percent in 2009.

For gay couples, the figure soared to nearly 70 percent.

In a new paper awaiting publication, Rosenfeld finds that the online-dating phenomenon shows no signs of abating.

According to data collected through 2017, the majority of straight couples now meet online or at bars and restaurants.This is the age of DIY-everything, in which individuals are charged with the full-service construction of their careers, lives, faiths, and public identities.When in the 1840s the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom,” he wasn’t slamming the door on modernity so much as foreseeing its existential contradiction: All the forces of maximal freedom are also forces of anxiety, because anybody who feels obligated to select the ingredients of a perfect life from an infinite menu of options may feel lost in the infinitude. Our friends and moms were underserving us.”Historically, the “underserving” was most severe for single gay people.In sociology-speak, our relationships were “mediated.” In human-speak, your wingman was your dad.Derek Thompson: The future of the city is childless But dating has changed more in the past two decades than in the previous 2,000 years, thanks to the explosion of matchmaking sites such as Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble.If you make a match, you can commence Instagram- or Facebook-stalking to learn more — at least that’s what we do.