Death to eHarmony

March 21, 2009 · 6 comments

The only thing that has thusfar kept me from putting my fist through my screen in an attempt to cause great pain to eHarmony has been the fact that – aside from my education and car – my laptop is the most expensive thing I own.  Not, I repeat: not because I know that eHarmony is a website and therefore incapable of pain.  And not because I’m not a violent person.  I seriously want to burn eHarmony to the ground right now. 

All those torture scenes from the considerable number of books I’ve read are flashing through my head right now:  I’m standing over eHarmony – strapped to the stainless steel table – with a scalpel in my hand, a glint in my eye, and something hard in my smile.  It’s on like Donkey Kong and I’m going to take my time and truly enjoy this. 

By analogy to the hiking world “I’ve got all day and a headlamp”.

I signed up for eHarmony a few months ago.  If you’ve read the Internet Dating page, you know I have profiles on several internet dating sites.  eHarmony is one of the “big money” sites that I had, until a few months ago, stayed away from.  I joined after three different people in a short span suggested I do so.  I generally believe in threes that way.  As I’ve also mentioned, I’m something of an idealist and – to my undying shame – a total friggin’ romantic.  So I’m very honest when I set up profiles on these sites.

eHarmony is supposed to be one of the better of the “big money” sites because of its thoroughness.  I don’t remember how many surveys I had to take to set the profile up, but they numbered well above 20 – and they each one was long.  As I’ve also mentioned in the past, I’m rather smart and test well.  I can manipulate personality tests to have the results display whatever I’d like.  I know a little about the concepts behind SEM/SEO and things like that (though if you could see my blog stats, you might beg to differ).  And I have some idea of what test results women might find attractive.

So instead of manipulating the personality tests on these internet dating sites, I’m honest.  I believe in some sort of karma or whatever when it comes to these things, and the last thing I want to be is a member of the “he’s not what his profile made him out to be” statistics.

Finding Matches

After taking all the tests, uploading a few (relatively flattering) pictures, and filling out the endless “about me” short-answers, I began my eHarmony sojourn.  I was a bit put-off at first because, unlike most dating sites, I couldn’t view the entire pool of possible “matches”.  Rather, eHarmony’s bullshit algorithms strategically place 3-5 “matches” on my profile per day.  If I ask the machine to go out and get more for me because I don’t like today’s 3-5, it says:

  • Our matching system was not able to find any new matches for you right now.
  • However, we are always automatically searching for new matches for you. Several thousand people join eHarmony each day and our matching system evaluates each one of them within 24 hours to see if they are a great match for you.
  • We will notify you via email when matches are found or you can check your My Matches page at eHarmony whenever you like.
  • Our matching criteria, based on the 29 dimensions of compatibility, are extremely strict, and are what makes eHarmony a unique and powerful tool in finding your soul mate.
  • We will keep searching and hope to find some wonderful matches for you soon.

Every time.  To repeat: every time.  The “Find New Matches” function is complete bullshit – despite the 2 minute wait (google results are returned in hundredths of seconds) and fancy status bar.

So I’m relegated to viewing only the “matches” that eHarmony delivers to me once a day.  For an obsessive like me, this was a problem.  But I also have an open mind and a certain degree of faith/trust in the system.  At this point, I think I’d be better off going to church and praying – take that however you like:  chicks in Sunday dresses or god-answered prayers.  My faith in this particular system is gone.  I’m an a-eHarmony-ist.  If Nietzsche were good looking and healthy and lived in northern NJ in the 21st century, he’d say “eHarmony is dead”.

Methods of Communication*

There are two types of communication in eHarmony-land:  FastTrack and Guided Communication:

  • FastTrack:  like any other dating site, send an email and try to score a date.
  • Guided Communication:  four stages of questions/answers before “Open Communication” (email) capability. 

The questions/answers are set up as follows (pretend I contact her first):

  • Send 1st [multiple choice] Questions, Read her Answers, Answer her [multiple choice] Questions, Read her [pre-selected] Must Haves and Can’t Stands, Send [pre-selected] Must Haves and Can’t Stands, Answer her [short answer] Questions, Send 2nd [short answer] Questions, Read her [short] Answers, Start Open Communication. 

Now, I’m told that if both the dog and kitten are equally obsessive, this entire process can be completed in an evening (no direct experience here, though).  There is also the option at any time to “Close the Match” (dicussed in detail below) or to “Request FastTrack” (email).  If both parties are not particularly obsessive, but are relatively interested in one another, this entire process takes about a week to complete – that is, to get to “Open Communication”. 

A week is a long time in horny-dude-land, but I’m willing to put the time in if the end result is the fabled true-love via the internet.  And while it’s happened, I certainly don’t expect to get laid on the first date (you should see my stats for second-date sex, though ;-).

*There also exists, of course, the obligatory “icebreaker” means of communication, but if you’re actually considering using it, you really have no business in the realm of internet dating.  Stick with internet porn – real life ain’t for you.

Close Match

At any point during communication, either party has the option to “Close the Match”.  In order to close the match, the closer must choose from a pre-set list of reasons why he/she is closing the match.  This list of 18 ranges from as specific as “our family backgrounds don’t match” to “other”.  Guess which one is most popular.  Yup:  “other”.  I find this to be great feedback for me.  99% of the time a chick decides she doesn’t want to take a chance on this hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin’ love, her reason is “other”.  Thanks eHarmony, I now know exactly what women find so unattractive about me.  32 years on this earth and I didn’t realize that my major malfunction is “other”.  No wonder the CIA wants me so bad.

Once the match is “closed”, only the closer has the option to “re-open” the match.  The closee is s.o.l., but can send a “final message” – generally something along the lines of “my profile is now complete”; “I’ve added pics”; or “I’m much better in person”; even “good luck in your search” (*aw* – may as well have started with an icebreaker).  I’m paraphrasing these possibilities, of course.

Which brings me to the point of this ever-so-long rant: 

Conclusion

After over a month of agonizing through the Guided Communication process, I finally reached Open Communication with a pretty-darned hot chick who lives in northern NJ.  The proverbial needle on the beach.  Not my “ideal”, but who can really tell from a profile anyway?  Close enough for me to spend the time dealing with the endless process, though.  She sends me an email.  I send her one back.  This was last Saturday night.  And the next email from her…was not forthcoming.  “Read ‘Closed’ Message” was forthcoming.

Her “Closed Message”:  “I am pursuing another relationship”. 

As the kids say these days, “WTF?!” 

Now, I’m not psychic, but I’m surely very sensitive.  ‘Intuitive’ is the word.  I’m right-brain dominant.  And my right-brain can smell this a mile away:  eHarmony hottie has boyfriend, possibly ex- with whom she’d like to get back together, so she goes online to either find a way out of the relationship or to find something in the meantime (maybe to take her mind off the ex-b/f).  eHarmony hottie meets poor unsuspecting sap named Ted who’s just searching for that fabled true-love (disguised, of course, as the pragmatic desire to “date”).  eHarmony hottie sees potential, but things are unpredictable on the (possibly ex-)b/f front, so she communicates with said sap when she’s trying to get over (or not think about) Him.  So said sap provides a nice diversion or fantasy every once in a while.

As the kids also say these days, “Fuck my life”.

Does it really work this way?  Have I been relegated to the position of being an option for those who are dissatisfied with the status quo, but too timid to do anything about it?  What am I doing to attract such folk?  Of all people, I’ll be the first to say that life isn’t fair and that this type of situation is a learning experience.  But good goddamn, this sucks.

…And now I’m whining.  How did I get from just-short-of-rage to self-pity?  lol – that’s a short, slick slope.

Oh, well; back on the horse.  I think I’m pretty much done with internet dating, though – at least the eHarmony variety.

Caveats/Notae Bene

I know my writing is dense and that I take some liberties with the English language – the double-negatives (way) above, for example.  Let me be clear:  I am not a violent person. 

I am fully aware of the fact that all of the foregoing anger or whatever is solely the product of my own expectations.

I am also a believer in karma, and that it extends to and permeates everything; even internet dating.  I left a very nice girl hanging on eHarmony a few weeks ago – all the way to Open Communication and I stopped emailing.  Yes, I’m busy and eHarmony emails cut into my blogging time.  And yes, I lost interest.  It was a total prioritization issue on my part, but I should have been up-front and explained my issues.  So all of the foregoing is arguably my own fault.  Score another one for the punishing god of the catholics theory.

The thing that probably burns the most is that I was really hoping that everything with said eHarmony hottie would pan out for at least a few dates.  My aforementioned statistics aside, I was kind of counting on something to revitalize my, um, hope.  Pragmatism is great in the workplace, but it’s a cold and lonely philosophy for a romantic.

Fuck it.  I’m picking up my kayak today.  While it is true that Romeo gets laid and the hermit doesn’t, Romeo also killed himself, and this particular hermit thinks that’s pretty stupid.  See you on the water, Jules.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl May 6, 2009 at 00:40

I’ve seen those ads for eHarmony and they make it look so easy. I remember trying internet dating way back when and it sucked so bad. I met my husband on ICQ – we were sort of paired up in a random chat.

I think dating is just hard, period. I can’t imagine being back out there, and I feel for you.

I’m not sure what your dating philosophy is, but I can tell you this: my husband? he is soooo not my “type” AT ALL. In fact, he and my ex-boyfriend are so opposite of one another you would think they came from different planets. Maybe they did?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes you just have to open your mind and your heart up to any and all possibilities. Even the ones that don’t fit your “ideal”. There is a great book called “The Year of Yes” – website here: http://www.theyearofyes.com/ – where this woman basically said yes to pretty much everyone who asked her out for an entire year. Interesting book with a happy ending.

I’m pulling for you, Ted!

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Michele Lorito-Chase August 7, 2009 at 00:08

Thanks for pointing me to your blog. I truly enjoy your writing and will stop by often.

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Amanda September 25, 2009 at 01:27

Good article…made me laugh!

So, are you a romantic monastic peacekeeper – or foolishly impractical in pursuit of your ideals – or a modern day Don Quixote??? Or perhaps, none of the above. ;0)

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Craig February 11, 2014 at 16:56

Amen.
Is it wrong that I just want to slap the lisp out of that little girls mouth every time I see that eHarmony commercial?

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Trevor May 17, 2014 at 09:46

Horrible website, I wish I hadn’t let my friend talk me into signing up. Complete waste of time. I exhausted the pool of women in my area after about 8 or 9 days. Now I get shown women 100s of miles away. I’ve been show one woman in my city in 2 weeks. Complete crap.

As for the communication ending because your hot lady found someone else. Online dating gives women a lot of choice, as online dating sites have more men than women. It’s a bum deal for men. That’s happened to me many times too, either they message me and say they met a better match or the communication just goes dead. It’s a crappy time in history to be a man looking for love. On the bright side, I’m beginning to enjoy my alone time I guess because I’ve been single for so long after my divorce. I work with a speed dating company and the girls keep sending me free every week, and now I’ve met so many women I’ve developing a pretty chill attitude about meeting someone and I’m just enjoying my me time. I realize that the grass is always greener, and there’s many poor bastards in lousy relationships who envy me, so until I meet a lady who is laid back and will compliment my life and not ruin it, I’ll be enjoying the single life :)

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