Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Walking the Line

There are certain things I shy away from – let’s say – “announcing” on my blog. However, I often offer these tidbits of information up freely, sans prodding, practically as conversation starters, when face-to-face with someone:

Hey wanna hear something funny? I was rejected from eHarmony.

It’s true. Most of you already heard it. So, it’s not really groundbreaking, earth shattering news. I didn’t really want to be “on” eHarmony anyway, but I was duped by their savvy marketing tactics (damn you marketing!), and managed to be persuaded by an email telling me that if I finished filling out the questionnaire I started eight months ago, I could join for the low, low price of $20 a month.

I probably had nothing better to do that day.

I finished it, and promptly received this message:
eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.
This is how my brain processed the information in those three paragraphs:

Paragraph 1
  • What do married couples know? Did your research show that half of those “couples” you talked to will probably end up divorcing? (I detect a hint of leftover teenage angst in there, like, yeah, you think you know... you don’t know shit, romance authority figure! You don’t understand me. No one understands me...)
  • I am undefinable. I actually initially thought this was pretty cool. I’m different. I’m special. Then I became concerned. Maybe I'm too different. Maybe I fall outside the bounds of societal norms. Maybe I'm a sociopath (this fear was quickly squelched once someone explained to me that sociopaths are people who tortured small animals as children and have no ability to feel human emotions like guilt or compassion - I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, I have boatloads of guilt... and I never tortured any animals.)
Paragraph 2
  • There’s no one out there for me. Of the thousands of people (probably hundreds of thousands) using eHarmony, the Romance Authorities have decided that odds are against me finding a mate. Awesome. This pretty much proves my long-standing theory. I am doomed to be alone forever. Poor me. Life is complicated. But, it's OK... I can fill the void with a never ending pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Paragraph 3
  • 20%? 1 in 5? OK, so I’m not so different. Oddly, this makes me feel the opposite of better. Maybe, Relationship Authorities, if you hadn’t rejected all those people I would match with 20 percent of your lil' database o’ love ya got there.
  • They are sorry. Maybe sorry that they aren't getting my money, but are they really sorry? A form letter from human resources rejecting me on the basis that my qualifications are not adequate for the job in question would have included, "We wish you luck in your search." HR would, at the very least, claim that they're keeping my resume on file, in the event that a job match presents itself... never. Hey! eHarmoney! A little encouragement, perhaps? A "Good luck searching for a soul mate who probably doesn't exist," or "We truly hope you will not die alone," or "We're confident there is another online dating service available that can better fulfill all of your boyfriend-finding needs," would be cordial, sympathetic, and not all together hopeless. But instead, I got the polite equivalent of "tough shit."
Fine then. I’ll give someone else my money.

Despite my “never say never” caveat when I last wrote about how much I hated online dating, it nonetheless seems like a best option to weed out smokers, drug users, people who do not have jobs, or can’t explain why they decided not to go to college, etc. It also appears as though an online "dating" site has popped up for every subset of the single... or not so single... population. Looking for weird sex? Want to meet a hipster? Need to find a mistress? Open to having an "open" relationships? There's a place for everyone. It's very inclusive.

Bottom line: against my better judgment, I joined... again... on a different site, with a different vibe with the hopes of meeting someone... different. I guess I realized that people can just as easily misrepresent themselves in person, so you know… you’re kind of screwed no matter what. You might as well hedge your bets and put yourself out there in as many ways possible. Online dating sucks because it’s like you’re consistently setting yourself up on blind dates, with people who no one but the Webernet can vouch for, but at least there's a date involved. I guess.

So I told my sister the following today via chat after completing offline date #1 last night:

Lou: its so hard to find someone who's a little artsy/nerdy/weird but not in a scary/bad way who is also active and kinda athletic.
Sarah: haha, yeah I'd imagine that's relatively hard to find.

Know anyone?


Kendra said...

Seeing as how I know practically no one in your area, I immediately turned to celebrities to see if I could come up with a match. However I'm also out of touch with Hollywood, so all I can come up with is Pasha from So You Think You Can Dance. I'll ponder more and get back to you.

L Sass said...

I cannot believe that eHarmony really rejects people. That's so bizarre to me.

I'm all for putting yourself out there, though. The worst that can happen is that you get some free drinks!

Nikkie said...

You are much stronger than I. My one online date was so bad. He was a Detroit firefighter so he should be hot, right? Nope, he had a weird musty smell to him and took me to the Greektown Casino, but forgot his driver's license so we couldn't get in. It was a very short, smelly date.

heidikins said...

I think you are fantastic - who cares what those so-called "Romance Experts" have to say.


@ said...

"Rejected from eHarmony" should be a badge of honor. Wear it with pride.

Sarah said...

I have to agree with @. Also, I tried Match for six solid months last year -- I was ready to get off that thing when my subscription was up; it was exhausting and the dates went nowhere.... the awkwardness of online dating definitely can taint the date, in my opinion.

Lou's Sister (the other Sarah) said...

As awkward and difficult as it is, your stories are highly entertaining and should be reason enough to keep on trucking, and who knows, one of these times it might actually be worth it, for the right reasons. Just don’t fall for these guys who promise to marry you as soon as they get back from volunteering at an orphanage in Nigeria and they just need $1,000 for a plane ticket home.

Sean said...

Why is everyone longing for a significant other, do you really think an online dating service is the answer to life? If your happy and content with yourself don't worry, something will come along when you least expect it. Pushing for love never works, even from the "online god".

Pia K said...

Completely hilarious read:)

I basically agree with the comment from sean, when it comes to lovesearch.

Will said...

I too was rejected by e-harmony and the problem I realized with the personality test oriented dating sites is that they are trying to "type" people. Isn't searching for a "type" one step from searching for the "typical" and having "typical relationships"? Just not for me--I'm looking for the extrordanary.

BTW, Love the blog even though I had to do some online "stalking" to find it.