Online dating advise

HOUSTON —If you're looking to find love online, there's plenty of dating sites and apps available for the single and ready to mingle."Right now, I'm just looking to meet new people." For 30-year-old Madeline Pena, online dating was a way to get back in the game after a 7-year relationship ended quite suddenly. I didn't even know how to flirt, or how to talk to guys period.It never occurred to me in a serious way before this to lie about my age, even when I hit 30 or 35.In the context of dating, those ages felt a lot less damning than 40; they felt a lot more viable. As ambivalent as I am about having my own children, there's something haunting about that scene from where Marisa Tomei stomps her foot about her biological clock ticking.

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.

I'd taken a break from dating after a quick but hot liaison with a punk I'd met at a Damned concert petered out, but I wanted to, you know, put the vibes out there into the universe.

As I waded through Ok Cupid's endless questions and block of text, I imagined the countless men of New York City setting their age filters to 35 or, gasp, 39, and I wondered if it was true that anyone who didn't accept me as I am isn't worth knowing.

Those exceptions take effort, and online dating is like Amazon Prime for sex.

(And love, ideally.) If it weren't for the algorithms, I could meet all of these people IRL and they wouldn't know I was 40 unless I showed them my birth certificate — ah, the very idea made me irate.

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