Not long after, I started dating an amazing woman who was beautiful, funny, and a chef (at the time, she worked at Momofuku Milk Bar).
Pretty soon we were staying home, cooking food, and doing nothing all the time. Of course a lot of our early relationship played out on the screens of our phones.
It stunned me how women's hearts fluttered when I just posed, "What if a guy just asked you do a thing at a specific time at a specific place? A little autocorrect is one thing, but overt bad grammar and spelling are a turnoff.
Instead of hanging out in bars and clubs, I began doing things that I'd want a theoretical girlfriend to be into.
I went to more museums, more food events, and more low key/interesting bars at earlier times.
And I specifically remember running a draft by a friend and rewriting it several times before sending it off.
Today I know that my waiting caused her uneasiness; she told me she felt I must have been offended by the "How funny are you? But that same night she was waiting, she got word that I'd asked a friend of hers if she was in fact single, so she knew all was well.
In our book of text messages, she talked about how, as things progressed in the relationship (and in our texts), it meant a lot to her when I sent some early loving texts saying I missed her or was thinking about her.
When I read the later texts, they took me back to all the excitement and fun we'd had.
I had been staying out like a lunatic and complaining that I met only lunatics.
After poring over all this research, I realized if I was going to find someone to settle down with, I had to change the way I was looking.
But in recent years behavioral scientists have shed light on why doing it—occasionally—can be powerful.