What Dating In America Is ACTUALLY Like

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We all have questions about dating and relationships: Do people actually meet people at bars? Does online dating ever work? Is the best way to catch someone's eye to smile, or should I try to look mysterious and aloof? (Well, these are some of my questions, at least.)

Potentially more frustrating than the infinite jumble of second, third, and fourth guesses—hard to imagine, I know—is the conflicting feedback they tend to provoke.

Some of your friends think online dating is "desperate" and that relationships resulting from a yoga-class/grocery-store meet cute are the only ones worth pursuing.

Your mom insists that the only thing standing between you and "happily ever after" is your long-standing refusal to be set up with that "nice boy who works in investment banking."

Your co-worker is engaged to a guy she met on Match.com.

In case I haven't already made this clear, I obviously don't have all the answers. But now, thanks to new data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (and this nifty infographic from Candle Love), all of us playing life's (potentially rigged) dating game can make better-informed decisions about how we date and what to expect when we do.

Bonus: You'll have a snappy retort on tap next time someone asks, "Who really dates online these days?"

I'm thinking something along the lines of ... "It's only about 40 million Americans. No biggie."

But, in this and in every endeavor you undertake (quip-related or otherwise), you do you. Now, go forth and do you—better.

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