See Part One for the background on this post (the two together were way too long. I will not be accused of reader cruelty).
First step, sign up for eHarmony–free personality profile and free access to matches, but you can’t actually contact or see pictures of them. Perfect. I will neither spend money, nor risk actually meeting someone. Dating while undercover is so unprofessional (here’s looking at you, James Bond!).
Next step–fill out personality profile. This thing is a beast. It asks you questions you’ve never before considered (“How important is your match’s height? Weight? Shoe size?”). They ask you questions you’re not sure how to answer (“Are you spontaneous?” While I presume they mean “spontaneously fun or interesting,” I said “yes” because I spontaneously slept in this morning). They ask you questions with vague and easily mis-understood wordage (“Rate how sensual you are.” Sensuality? As in, ‘the degree to which my senses are in working order?’ I know what they meant, but I’m not sure Webster would approve).
Included in this questionnaire were such questions as “I like to look at people of the opposite sex,” which was quite the head-scratcher. I haven’t made a hobby of boy-watching (though I think a boy-watching book would be hilarious: “The Scandinavian Redhead tends to hang out at such-and-such bars. They are very shy and must not be approached. French Brunettes, on the other hand, are aggressive, poisonous to the touch, and to be avoided at all costs. The American Gentleman is a rare specimen, indeed, and if found should be caught and delivered directly to the author for courtship and marriage purposes.”) I digress.
The problem with personality tests is that I too often try to get the “right” answer. When asked to rate my energy level, I go for the ideal (cheetah) vs. the real (comatose). I tried really hard to be honest in this one for investigative purposes, but my results were still skewed. According to eHarmony, I’m emotionally stable and reserved, despite the fact that I blatantly told them (often) that the last time my emotions were stable was 1996. If I were to actually be set up with someone based on these results, the outcome would be “Bloodily Ever After.”
Ok, next step. Find matches! No. . .no. My profile is only 22% complete. I must have hobbies. Favorites. Passions. One cannot plead the Fifth based on “no time” and “no money.”
I have no hobbies. I write “Sometimes when I brush my teeth at night I’ll read the back of a shampoo bottle.”
EHarmony is not amused.
I start to realize that I am a loser and move quickly on to the “Must Haves/Can’t Stands” part of the profile. Here you are given two lists: one from which to choose the top 10 characteristics you “must have” in a mate, and one from which to choose the top 10 characteristics you “can’t stand” in a mate. It’s like ordering from a Subway Menu “I’ll take communication abilities, emotional intelligence, and fidelity. No cruelty, racism, or pornography, please.” (While sitting there with a menu of bad qualities, I nearly chickened out of the whole process altogether. There were still ample combinations of complete jerkiness left after I had checked off my “Can’t Stands”).
I finished up that section, quickly ran through a variety of “favorites” (favorite team, top 5 musicians, etc.) which would appear on my profile as an assurance that I would not actually have to talk to any of my matches, and finally came to The Button. “Find Me Matches!” it screamed in bright green.
It reminded me that I was about to leave something as tenuous and delicate as romance to a computer program.
I clicked it and found myself eyeballing the profiles of 7 new matches.
All of them were a little older than I would have anticipated (range: 26-29), except for Will*, who is “0”. I can see that being a problem at some point in the future.
One of them had chosen to utilize the adjective “bodacious” as part of his moniker, as in “Bodacious Frank.*” This is a problem right now.
Several of them are extremely athletic and don’t like to read. I think they were just practical jokes, eHarmony style.
Of the 7, one looked like he could have potential. . .but I had to wonder, “If he’s as great as he says he is, what’s he doing on an online dating site?” (Which was kind of an unfair surmise, since I was also on an online dating site. But I surmised, nontheless).
I also noted that these guys are not all single, hanging out there, waiting for Yours Truly. These guys all have their own list of matches with whom they are currently communicating. I don’t know if I like the idea of “e-mailing to date” some guy who is simultaneously “e-dating” a bunch of other girls. It’s like being on the Bachelor without an all-expenses-paid trip around the world.
So what conclusions have I drawn from this experience?
To be honest, I’m not wholly sure. Thought it was a great way to distract me from wanting to hit my paining head against the wall, the venture did little to stimulate my thought process. It did leave me with distinct feelings of caution, which I can’t explain– I’m just not wholly comfortable with the idea, for reasons unknown. Other than that, however, I have no thoughts, and therefore welcome yours (Really! Leave a comment, tell me what you think, or what your own experiences have been. We won’t laugh if you’ve tried it. Really).
In the meantime, I’m off to take my e-carcass off the meat market.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy. Just in case.