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Luckily, OKCupid's data is much more optimistic than my friend Chelsea.

Data scientist Dale Markowitz wrote via email, "When it comes to receiving quality messages on Ok Cupid (that is, first messages that turn into conversations), there is no penalty to being 40 or over.

"Now that I'm 31, I realize that I just liked WOMEN.My current girlfriend is four years older than me, but I definitely see her as my equal.I had time, and if someone wanted to get up in my grill about having kids eventually, well, my mom had me when she was 38 and I turned out mostly okay. Summers, who is 54, is firmly in favor of skimming a few years off one's age, though always coming correct with current photos.But now I'm encountering divorcees and mid-life crises and men who themselves lie about their ages and cheekily confess, "Haha, just hoping you'd be so charmed by the time you clicked that it wouldn't matter! Like me, she straddles the digital divide; we remember a time before DOS, but not a lot of dating without the accompanying click and beep of a modem.Dating in my twenties and thirties made me feel like Odysseus, trying to choose between dashing myself on the ego-bruising rocks of casual romps or a slow death from unrequited lust for garbage humans.

There was the ex who brutally dumped me but wouldn't stop emailing me for months, whose presence at dorky work gatherings made me dizzy; the sociopathic film critic whose shoulder I virtually cried on; the go-nowhere first dates; and the great, wide swaths of time spent single, usually pining after some unavailable director or writer who'd relish my attention and nothing else. There were a few things that sent me into a panic about turning 40, but the biggest — looming larger than the golden ring of a book deal or a staff job or, like, finally going back to yoga — was what it meant for me to still be single and actively looking for a partner at that age. If you're not familiar with the exciting world of online dating, sites and apps let you set search parameters that range from location to body type to education and, yes, age range.Not so much even that I was single, but that I and what that implied. There are plenty of things I simply do not give a single solitary fuck about when it comes to what women my age are supposed to be doing. Just as there are movies on Netflix you might never stumble across in your bleary-eyed scrolling, there are plenty of people you might never see through some whim of programming code.Moreover, there's the human factor; it's much easier to reject someone arbitrarily than it is to make an exception.How dare they reject me before I could reject them! Whether they were the ancient ads I helped beta test as an intern or the old standby OKCupid, I'd invest time and energy into meeting men I wouldn't otherwise come across in my day-to-day life (read: freelancing at home, usually pantless).Eventually, I'd get fed up with the banality of it all, hide my profile or delete the app.My friend Brooke, who is a similarly fresh-faced 40-year-old, divulged over Gchat, "I joined OKCupid [when I was 39] and actually had to quit because I was INUNDATED by men in their 20s — though I put an age range and that is well below it. And can teach their useless baby bodies what to do?