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This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking.

I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives.People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.Eric and I weren’t digging into ­singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.Today’s generations are looking (exhaustively) for soul mates, whether we decide to hit the altar or not, and we have more opportunities than ever to find them.These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.

The first woman he clicked on was very beautiful, with a witty profile page, a good job and lots of shared interests, including a love of sports.

Commissioned by Folk Alliance International to tell the story of the annual conference, Elk’s Pride Pictures produced this behind-the-scenes video.

I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life.

If this mentality pervades our decision­making in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?

The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

He wouldn’t have walked up and said, “Oh, wait, you like the Red Sox?! ” before putting his hand in her face and turning away.