A female friend of mine would only date men who lived a minimum of one hour away—she liked the anonymity.Call me a wimp, but I get exhausted just visualizing a two-hour drive home in the wee hours of the morning following a date.
Married 20 years and now unfortunately facing divorce, I'll try predictability and speed instead if I find myself single again.
I prefer the "control over the romantic process" (as you phrase it) that the new technology gives us because I've found the process didn't work out well the first time, and I have no desire to wait until I'm retired for it to work again. There are no bad ways to find love, and no real reason to compare the bar versus the dating sites. Many people do not have the ability to be at places where they have the opportunity to meet the opposite sex.
A few e-mails and a telephone call or two will allow your personality to work for you—a real plus.
In the bar scene it's all about your looks; you don't have the luxury of putting your best picture out there because—you're out there—in the flesh.
Before the internet were the "lonely hearts" columns of the newspapers, which served the same purpose but at the speed of snail mail.