Seventy years ago, the Yale sociologist John Ellsworth Jr. Though the internet allows us to connect with people across the globe near-instantly , dating apps like Tinder prioritize showing us nearby matches, the assumption being the best date is the one we can meet up with as quickly as possible with little inconvenience. A year and a half ago, I was 23, single, and working as an engineer at the online-dating site OkCupid. The site held a similar philosophy when it came to distance, and we employees would sometimes joke we needed to add a special filter for New Yorkers that let them specify, Show me matches under 10 miles, but nobody from New Jersey. At the time, I loved the concept of online dating and went out with other Manhattanites almost every weekend. But I quickly came to hate first dates themselves. I found myself always distracted, thinking more to myself about how to make a graceful exit than about whatever my date was saying.