There was a time—a simpler time—when mediocre humans were landing babes and hunks. The tastiest folk would be at the bar or the bowling alley or the discotheque, and it was a matter of working up the courage to chat ‘em up. The other scenario was that friends evolved into something more lusty, lofty and lovely over time (because the friend zone wasn’t always bad.) But online dating has changed all that.

According to Priceonomics, “The longer two people know each other before they start dating, the more likely it is that a 3 will date a 6, or a 7 will marry a 10.” People get to know the real person, and they aren’t as likely to breeze over options, but online dating has made it an art gallery of yesses and nos coming from passersby posing as critics. Everyone came to consider themselves as somebody with almost too many options, as Alex Mayyasi of Priceonomics explains.

MAYYASI: In a dating market of strangers, they agree more on who is most datable, so they compete and settle. When people know each other, the situation is more win-win, because they develop their own preferences and disagree on who is most desirable.

So now instead of mustering up courage in person or developing a relationship seemingly by accident, we’re sneering at the world at large and turning to our phones to see if we can just fill out a form for Mr. or Mrs. Right to show up. Well, more accurately, we’re waiting for several perfect individuals to choose from, most likely with attractiveness playing a definitive role in our decision-making process.

Through that, communities have lessened their role in matchmaking. Nobody’s limited by distance as much as they were, and people have thusly identified their value on a larger scale, maybe more than they thought, maybe less. I mean, just look how we’ve changed.

Source: "Searching for a Mate" by Michael Rosenfeld and Reuben Thomas

Source: “Searching for a Mate” by Michael Rosenfeld and Reuben Thomas

Read the full breakdown of what’s happening before our very eyes (or screens) at Priceonomics.