If you’re like most normal single people in your mid-30s, and you no longer hit the bars scoping for action, you’ve probably tried an online dating site. Most of us are loathe to admit this fact, but really, who wants to have a computerized matchmaker fix you up with the love of your life? It sounds so sterile, so unromantic … so staid.
I tried eHarmony — the dating site designed for optimum pairing — which matches you against “29 dimensions of compatibility; scientifically-based predictors of long-term relationship success.” The site boasts, “A patented Compatibility Matching System” that “narrows the field from millions of candidates to a highly select group of singles.” I have no idea what the heck this means. But I do know this: two years ago, when I first attempted to use this service, it took me over three hours to fill out the questionnaire only to be told “one out of 20 individuals may not fit the parameters of our service.” Already feeling like a failure from a failed relationship, receiving a “pass” e-mail from the emissaries of matchmaking didn’t exactly foster confidence.
Not one to let things go, I tried again a few weeks ago. They’ve since improved the initial questionnaire to a mere 20-minute drudgery. I received the same response. “No.” Scientific matching. Indeed. Highly select group of singles. Harumpf. Why wasn’t I selected? I wanted to know. Perhaps it was something in the way I answered all 564 questions? Did I do something wrong? I responded honestly. Was there something wrong with me? Per the site’s promise I received my free personality profile. The main components: extroverted, intelligent, leader-type personality. You would think a guy would want a vivacious, smart girl, and yet, the e-mail prompt told me, “One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants fall within certain defined profiles … unfortunately we’re not able to make our profiles work for you.” I didn’t get it. How could I possibly be unmatchable?
Undeterred, I went on Yahoo and created a bogus name and e-mail. I decided to answer all the questions differently. By differently I mean, I lied. When a question asked, “Do you consider yourself shy,” I checked off “very much.” If one asked if I had a hard time in a room full of people I did the same. For my job description instead of “writer” I wrote, “consultant.” For college completed, I wrote “some.” I answered their questions exactly opposite as I would have. Do I leave my room a mess? Yes. Do I like to work out? Yes, very much. Am I good at conflict/resolution? No, not at all. Do I consider myself more of a follower or a leader? Oh, a follower, no question about it.
Ten minutes later — I was welcomed to eHarmony. My personality profile was returned with the following key traits: very reserved, focused and flexible, sometimes steady — sometimes responsive, very content and consistently taking care of myself. My actual results: outgoing, focused, very responsive, sometimes curious — sometimes content, and usually taking care of others. I had figured it out. eHarmony wants demure, physically fit, namby-pamby sheep-like women — Stepford Wives if you will.
Now most people would leave it at that. But I’m not most people, and I wanted to see this “select group of hot men” and since you can’t view the members photos until you sign up I thought why not purchase a month plan and date some of them. Excited and feeling as if I’d just broken the DaVinci code, I clicked on some of the men’s profiles with whom I was instantly matched. These profiles included: electricians, truck drivers, machinists and pipefitters. Not a college grad in the bunch. I tentatively clicked on the pipefitter. Yikes. I clicked back to my main match page immediately. I tried another and another and another. I’d yet to find a guy with a full head of hair or a full set of teeth. So here’s the deal. These guys are ugly. I mean imagine Clint-Howard-and-Ron-Perlman-had-a-baby-together ugly.
The women on the testimonial page seem relatively cute (keep in mind I had no way to view their actual profiles), so one can only assume they either have no self-esteem or they’re desperate (OK, I can totally relate) and don’t care that their “dream man” looks like an in-bred Arkansas hillbilly.
Not one of my potential mates had any social skills. One confessed, “It’s really hard for me to write this profile.” By the look of the guy’s girth (450 pounds), it’s probably hard for him to do anything. Another man, still grieving from the loss of his wife, had as his “photo page” a series of pics of he and his wife, complete with captions: My darling dead wife and me eating breakfast. My beloved wife before the cancer took her. My lovely wife blowing me — don’t go there — a kiss. My wife after chemo (not a particularly great shot), and my personal favorite: a photo of the guy and his daughter crying at her funeral!
Suddenly I was supremely happy at having been rejected. For anyone else who has been dissed by this site, take heart. If you’ve been nixed by eHarmony you’re probably a good-looking, ultra-cool hepcat and you should feel honored. Now, you may think it all ends here, but in an effort to keep you, my readers, happy, there’s a part deux to this tale. I’ve been out on dates with some of these freaks and in two weeks … I’m gonna tell you all about it.
Taylor Van Arsdale has been married, widowed, duped and dumped, and is back in the dating fray at time when most of her friends are married with kids. All stories are true. She’s sick of dating freaks, but she does it for you. Write to her at Tailfish@roadrunner.com.