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"I think people do a lot of damage thinking they have to be with someone else.""Well, I do believe in finding your soul mate," Zander answers. But she’s talking about scary stuff, like love and commitment, so I hold my breath as she continues. Tear it down."Okay, but isn’t it desperate/psycho to say, "What’s desperate is lying to yourself, and to others," Zander says. And you shouldn’t create fake news for yourself, or what you want in a partner." Fair enough."You can have one sexy picture," says Zander, "but I’d rather see happy pictures where you’re honestly somewhere that’s meaningful to you.

"I’ve helped people find the crazy love of their life. "If you look at what’s happening in our culture right now, the biggest thing I want to eradicate is lying. And you also want to give people context—show them your community, your friends."I tell Zander I can’t show my friends in a dating app, because they’re all hotter than me.

Unfortunately, whether someone gives you a shot on apps such as Tinder or Bumble depends very heavily on what you look like.

With my visible deformities, I’m seriously handicapped right from the start. There are people I rejected, and who rejected me, because after one date or several, it was obvious those were missing, and that’s just the way it goes.

My girlfriends started calling me "Faran Un-dateable" after my boyfriend and I split. "All your [dating app] photos are you being a party girl," Zander says matter-of-factly. "If all you want is a hot guy to take to bed, you’re all set," she says.

That comes a little later, when I’m introduced to So my interest is piqued when this assignment arrives: check out Sweet Pea, the new dating app that has "empathy, kindness, and respect" in its mission statement and an article on fuckboys on their blog. But right now, she’s just trying to figure out if I’m a femme bot. You’re out all night, all the time." She stops on a photo of me in a vintage Galliano dress, submerged in a swimming pool at 4 a.m.

You should be able to find someone you like, you love, you respect, and you want to have sex with.”Okay.

And I’m mortified that people don’t do the work to find that person. "Humans are way smarter and more intuitive than you give them credit for," Zander replies. They’re not thinking, 'Why isn’t she as hot as her friends? Otherwise, you’re just going to be manipulating someone else, and yourself, for a relationship you might not even want. Not saying, 'I’m multi-faceted, I have a lot of parts to me, I want to be with someone who acknowledges them and I want to have fun, too.'" Copied.

Their schedules were unmanageable, they would finally say, and maybe they weren’t in a good place for dating right now, period. My experiment with online dating fed an ugly thought, that the things most essential about me just don’t matter when weighed against how I look. A single parent who is told, “I don’t date people with kids.” Someone who suffers from depression and finds a date suddenly distant after revealing that condition.

Those searching for a partner, through apps or otherwise, must sometimes wonder whether anyone can accept them as they are.

These chats were light, flirty, tinged with sexuality. Growing up, I so often thought I was missing out on an unobtainable normalcy, as if there were a door to the life everyone else experienced that was locked to me.

I could see and hear the good life beyond, but I couldn’t participate.

When I get a person to sort out their dating patterns, usually people get two out of the three.

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