Physical connection dating

Lonely and alone on a Saturday night, I started scrolling through Ok Cupid and, out of boredom and curiosity, expanded my search options to include users anywhere in the world.

I was drawn in by the profiles of some of these new, distant matches and messaged a few asking if they’d like to chat on the phone.

For the next few weeks, I called the Austin programmer often.

I wondered what it would be like going on a first date with him, now that I sort of knew him.

And one of my Ok Cupid coworkers—a quiet, 32-year-old software engineer named Jessie Walker—told me she’d met her boyfriend of 10 years through an internet forum for introverts while she was a student studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art. They messaged online for over two years before he booked a flight to meet her in Maryland and eventually moved into an apartment with her in Brooklyn.

Maybe it was the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon—that effect where, when you first learn about something, you see it everywhere—but suddenly I learned that lots of people I knew had this same story.

One friend had just flown from New York to Israel to see a guy she’d first met on Tinder.

Last year, Tinder launched a paid feature called Passport that lets people swipe on members anywhere in the world.

And Scruff, a dating app for gay men, has a section called Scruff Venture that helps users coordinate travel plans and connect with host members in foreign countries.

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