March 18, 2010

eHarmony, eSchmarmony: Pt. 2

eHarmony is supposed to be better than a blind date because they match you on a scientific basis. "Supposed to be" is the operative phrase here. I'm not convinced that's the case.

Here’s how it works. After you answer your profile questions, you select things that matter to you, such as distance, age, education, etc. and then you determine how much each one matters. For instance, you might want to limit your search to within 50 miles of your home, but you can decide if that matters a lot or just a little. If you say it matters a lot, then they will only deliver matches within that 50-mile range. If you say it matters a little, then eHarmony might give you a match who lives 200 miles away.

As far as matching to your profile questions, eHarmony also provides different levels of matching. Some matches are highly compatible, others are flexible. Apparently flexible is the online equivalent of a friend fixing you up with someone because you’re the only two single people they know. If my experience is any indication, the highly compatible matches are generally only a notch or two above that.

If you’re a paying member, then when matches are delivered, you see their picture(s), and you can communicate with them. You’ll also see what non-paying members see, answers to a few of the profile questions completed by your match, including things like leisure activities, the things you can’t live without, and something about the most influential person in your life.

One of the first matches rejected me because he “didn’t feel the chemistry.” I don't know if he was a paying member who saw my picture, or if he might have based that entirely on the smattering of information that shows up regardless of whether you pay or not. Since he was 48 it was June, and I figured he was desperately searching for someone he deemed hot enough to show up with for his high school reunion so it didn't bother me...too much. By the way, "Good luck with that, fella."

I was just as shallow. I rejected others just because I didn’t want them cluttering up my inbox. You have to close enough matches in order for eHarmony to provide new ones, although there are those who say that because women greatly outnumber men on the site, men continually receive new matches while women can go weeks without receiving any at all.

Now to digress just a second, in my last post, I told you I went to high school with a girl who married a guy she met on eHarmony. They are reportedly very happy. I also went to high school with a girl whose younger sister tried eHarmony. I understand that she met a few guys on the site…all of whom she characterized as craaaaaaaazy.

Back to my own eHarmony matches. I live in what is known as a red state, some go so far as to call it the reddest of the red states. I prefer to think it's the conservative nature of so many men in this part of the country and not something in my personality profile, but the vast majority of my matches tended to have a preoccupation with guns. One of them even listed FIREARMS (if it wasn’t in all caps, it might as well have been) at the very top of the list of things that he can’t live without. Now this isn’t a Second Amendment issue here. It’s a dating profile, people. I have to be a little concerned by this obsession about guns from guys on an online dating site – one I might add where my friend’s little sister met nothing but men who were craaaaaaaazy. If there's a chance you might not be as (reasonably) sane as I am, I would prefer that you not come with a weapons cache. I closed all of those firearm-related matches without batting an eye.

There were other activities that mystified me. They say that past college, men rarely form close friendships with other men. That would appear to be true. There must be a huge unmet need for bromance matching, because many of the men appeared to be looking for someone to fill the role of guyfriend more than girlfriend. They want someone with whom they can go hunting, fishing, and hiking. I realize there are women who like those things, but I’m not one of them. Absolutely nothing in the painfully long questionnaire would indicate that I’m that kind of woman. For Pete’s sake, how put off would men be if I said I was looking for some guy to go with me to a tea room or to the nail salon?

Then there were the guys who described what they were looking for in a woman solely by her appearance. I’d like to thank each of those men for making it so easy for me to close their matches.

On the plus side, there were a number of men looking for match in their own age range. I found that very encouraging because too often we think that most men are looking for much younger women. eHarmony convinced me that is not (at least not necessarily) the case.

On the negative side, the vast majority of the matches I received left me humming the theme from Deliverance. Eeeeewwwwww.

Excuse me, but I need to go take a shower now. There will be more on my eHarmony experience next week.


  1. Based on what I've heard about guys on eHarmony (They advertise heavily on ESPN apparently), the average IQ isn't very high. I once thought that that would make me even more desirable beyond my dashing personality and roguish good looks, but alas, I had zero luck.

    My problem was that most of my matches were flexible--mainly because of distance. Seriously, there are apparently like zillions of hot christian chicks in Ohio and Indiana. Too bad I live in Louisiana. For the few that I managed to find that were close, they either shut me out with "Other," never responded to any communication, or behaviour that did not belie the fact that they were paying to find someone to date.

    I managed to talk to a couple, but all but one ended after we swapped a single e-mail, with something to the effect of the fact that they felt the chemistry wasn't there. One e-mailed me to tell me she thought I was really nice, but wasn't quite what she was looking for, but didn't want to be mean and just close me out, which was very nice.

    If I may rant for a second, I'm just tired of this mess. The consensus is that the number of good Christian girls far outnumber the number of good Christian guys, so I should be beating women away from my front door with sticks on a daily basis. However, I don't, and it's because every single Christian girl I've attempted to even try to ask out has this 300-point list of what they want in a husband. For one girl, I know I hit 290+ of her points from her own admission, but she still dropped me, even though all of the things I didn't hit were trivial things, but because I didn't hit all 300, it wasn't worth pursuing anymore.

    I'm sorry, but I'm not perfect, and neither is anyone else. Through all of this God's taken my concept of what I want in a wife and ripped it to shreds. In its place God just told me to look for my best friend. I just wish I'd find someone without a clipboard... or better yet, Ms. 290+/300 coming to the realization that the 10 things I missed are far outweighed by the 290+ that I hit...

    Sorry for the rant, but it fits in with this well. :^)

  2. margaret,

    what? you don't want to spend time hunting,
    fishing, and camping?

    where is your spirit, vim, and vigor, girl?

    ha ha! can you even imagine doing that?

    hans has told me a few times that i would
    really enjoy fly-fishing.

    yea, right.

    i believe there is a 'sane', loving, intelligent
    man looking for someone just like you!


  3. I do think you can find a match online. I met my husband through ... and I know two other couples that met and married that way. It does take some time to weed through but I think it is just as valid as any other way! Good luck!

  4. Would you have considered a man who drinks tea while cleaning his guns? You know who.

  5. This was hilarious to me, as it pretty much mirrored my experience with eHarmony. I found it not to be very different than any of the other online dating sites except it took over an hour to get to the guys (which, let's be real, is all you really want to see). I assumed that, like me, there are normal men out there who just haven't met the right woman. However, these men are not on online dating sites, apparently. Only the crazies-- one quick look at the profile (and sometimes the photo gives it away. amen about the guns-- pics of you in hunting gear with a rifle taller than me doesn't make me want to be with you...), and you know why they're looking for women on the internet. Makes a girl think twice about trying online dating to find a serious contender...

  6. Thanks to all of you for your comments. Sorry I've been slow to respond. I scheduled posts to run automatically for spring break so I could take a computer break. =)

    Loren - you're right. A lot of women have an image of what we're looking for, and we eliminate anyone who doesn't meet all of our criteria. That does get better as we get older, and hopefully, wiser.

    Emily - after all these years, you don't have your own waders? LOL.

    Anonymous - sure if the gun-toting tea drinker has a British accent. For that, I'll overlook pretty much anything. =)

    Jenners - I've heard of a number of success stories from online dating. From what you write on your blog, you clearly found the right match!

    Katie - your comment was hilarious. The pictures do explain a LOT...