How women present themselves is a topic about which I can speak more knowledgeably.First, it would appear that, upon reaching a certain age, women in the Boston area are required to sign up for yoga. Many grown women for some reason also make a point of referring to themselves as “girls,” sometimes even working this word into their user names.

Most of all, it seems that every woman, regardless of age, despises the indoors.

I say this because, according to their profiles, every spare moment is devoted to running, skiing, hiking, climbing, rafting, unicycling, spelunking, parachuting into triathlons, and engaging in a variety of other calorie-burning gerunds.

How they simultaneously manage to keep up with all those Netflix shows they admit to loving presents a real puzzle.

Perhaps they watch on their phones while they’re running, skiing, and hiking.

I love our teacher, the formidable Joelle Fraser, whom I came to know in my online writing classes the previous summer.

Early last fall, still on a high from my first foray into this type of learning, I took a second online class, “Motherhood and Words with Kate Hopper, a teacher magical in her ability to create community in a virtual space. This online world, these new undemanding friends I’d never met, were answering a need that no one else in my daily life had time to meet.The people in my school and family don’t have time to agonize over word choice with me, to read twelve drafts of a story in order to help me decide on the one that works best. Online classes aren’t always utopian rainbows and butterflies, of course.In another terrific class, offered by , several of my fellow students and I became Facebook pals after the course ended—they have crossed over into my everyday life, though we have not yet met in person. Hoping to replicate this past summer’s euphoria during Cleveland’s unending winter, I signed up for a class I came to loathe.Advertisement What makes online dating so frustrating isn’t the exaggeration, it’s that you’re participating in a depressing hierarchy of desirability — a daisy chain of quiet rejection. We have the luxury of being less goal-oriented, the same way we’ve learned to be about sex.You spend part of your time trying to recover from, and make sense of, all these potentially lovely people who won’t give you the time of day, then the rest flicking off people in whom you have no interest. In theory, though, it should at least be less uncomfortably urgent for those of us of a certain age: somewhere between the first biological clock (gotta reproduce! We can treat the process itself — the search, the exchange of messages, the one-off dinners — as intellectually intriguing, diverting, amusing, and perhaps even a path toward self-knowledge.It’s not a waste of time even when it doesn’t lead anywhere. Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org) is the author of 14 books about human behavior and education, including “The Myth of the Spoiled Child,” due for release in paperback this spring. BY THE NUMBERS 4% — Likelihood a man will get a response Source: Related: • Aziz Ansari on online dating: ‘It’s like a second job’ • Online dating disappointments emerge despite advances • Love Letters: Is online dating required?