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I’ve had my air- conditioner stolen, inherited an Eames chair, expanded my music library a hundredfold, and made a dear friend, who, now that our fledging romance has failed, will be with me for life.

I have learned about spearfishing and Oceanic art, about life in the merchant marines and urbanism in late antiquity.

Meeting someone “IRL” — as, it turns out, they say — seemed unlikely at best. I haven’t met anyone I’ve liked enough, or who liked me enough, to cancel my accounts.

And so it was that, some four months into singledom, I gathered the courage to join Ok Cupid and head to a wine bar with Pete, a musician-turned-accountant whom I chose for his spectacularly anodyne profile. But I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.

For weeks I had been holed up in my family’s empty summerhouse, writing, and I worked all that day, caught up in a kind of luxuriant self-consciousness that has since become familiar — that acute sense of self and solitude that binding oneself to an outsider can at times unleash.

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