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Among my single friends, and even in the conversations I overheard between strangers in coffee shops, women using dating sites described being “overwhelmed” and “flooded” with communication.

On the day I completed my profile, I received one message; four more appeared over the next two days.

I liked the concept of Ok Cupid’s “match percentages.” The site projects the compatibility of its users, assessing it on a scale from 1 to 100.

I was a high match with a seemingly large number of men—quite a few of them were in the 99 percent range.

Over the following months, I would play with this slightly: I variously described myself as a dreamer, book lover, learner, educator, and writer, someone who views the world with a glass half-full of optimism and a dash of sarcasm.

I noted that my friends describe me as “sincere and hilarious,” “fun to do things with,” and “a great trivia partner.” I peppered my profile with jokes and references to climbing, yoga, learning, eating all of the things, and drinking all of the drinks.On the other hand, white men responded to black women 8.5% of the time—less often than for white, Latino, or Asian women.In general, men responded to women about three times as often as women responded to men. All men except Asians preferred Asian women, while all except black women preferred white men.The most mathematically promising one—at 99.5 percent—turned out to be one of my existing friends from law school.But almost immediately, I began to notice peculiarities about my experience.Meanwhile, online, I could decide between sites with free memberships, such as Plenty of Fish; paid sites with an older, more earnest clientele, such as e Harmony; niche sites such as and Gluten-Free Singles; and many others, all slightly differentiated by price, demographics, and objectives.