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“I started online dating shortly after I got divorced in 1998,” Ellen, a psychiatrist, told me when I contacted her — through Craigslist, of course — to inquire about her ad. A stand-up comedian by night, she has a great sense of humor. “I learned to ask a lot of questions,” she told me when I asked what she had learned from her experiences.

“I tried it all — JDate, Match, e Harmony…” Her voice trails off, as if she’s thinking hard. And, like the rest of the millions of people registered on dating sites and apps across the internet, she finds dating exciting, if not simultaneously exhausting. “When I go on dates now I say, you know, ‘are you completely, verifiably divorced,’ you know, ‘are you completely single?

Matrimonial agencies were big business there by the early 18th century, printing ads on behalf of men who paid the agency to recruit them a good wife.

Being single passed the age of 21 was considered almost shameful in that era, and the ads were often a last resort for the men who advertised and the women who read them.

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So after a grueling 17 years in the online dating world, Ellen decided to get back to basics. I'm kind of old fashioned so if you are genuinely single and want to meet someone educated and reasonable, please get in touch. Do you have some free time on weekends for conversation and companionship? ’ Because I learned separated really means married.” According to a Pew Research study from April, 6% of singles ages 55-64 are online dating, a far cry from the overwhelming 22% of 25-to-34-year-old singles signed up to find love.

No, not by speed dating or being set up by friends or meeting a real-life matchmaker, but through Craigslist — the online classified section whose layout and functionality have been largely the same since its debut in 1995. I'm not a Victoria's Secret model but I am told I'm cute/pretty and have a sense of humor and am slim. I've tried online sites and am tired of looking at profiles with guys wearing hats and sunglasses. Seeking single/divorced/widowed professional funny, friendly male mensch for friendship/companionship and eventual romance in Manhattan. I enjoy reading and writing and am working on a book. Seeking someone drug-free and truthful and reliable. And Ellen's age group is what Pew calls a thinning market; Ellen, who has been riding the dating train since she was 44, has also seen the stigma of online dating disappear.

So why, Ellen, would you take your quest to the land of apartment scams and Ikea dressers?

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