eHarmony or eHomogeny? Does Online Dating Really Work?

“We’re so much alike we could be brother and sister!  In fact, I’m pretty sure we are. Doh!”

When I was single and dating – which feels like it was back in 1912 at this point, but I digress – there wasn’t any online dating.  If there was, I certainly didn’t know about it, and probably wouldn’t have signed up anyway because dating services has a slightly less virulent stigma than AIDS or herpes back in the day.

It really was that bad.

But times have changed and, thankfully we’ve all evolved since then because now-a-days, if you’re single and looking, you’ve got yourself at least one profile up on one of the big dating sites.  And frankly, I’m all for it.  Ironically, now that online dating is so mainstream, I can’t imagine what singles ever did without it – and I’m stunned that dating dinosaurs such as me and my husband somehow found each other at all. 

I also have a confession to make: I’ve always wondered what those online dating sites were like.  I never had the courage to “take a peek” myself, but I was curious about what the hell Dr. Neil Clark Warren (founder of eHarmony) was talking about when he said he matches couples based on, like, a zillion levels of compatibility.  

I had even proposed to Mr. Mix & Bitch a social experiment of sorts…for us to register on a dating site and see if their system would find us to be a compatible match (obviously, we never ended up doing it). 

ANYWAYS…when a fabulous, adorable, smoking hot and sassy single friend of mine expressed interest in registering for one of those sites, I was on it like white on rice…firstly because I want her to find her guy already and secondly, because, let’s be honest, this was my chance to look behind the wizard’s curtain, so to speak. 

So she came over on a Sunday afternoon, we poured ourselves some vino…and answered some questions. Then answered some more.  And then answered even more questions.

Holy crapola, Batman! I had friggin’ carpal tunnel syndrome by the time we were done…which was like 90 minutes later. No joke.

When we FINALLY got her matches, let’s just say there were some interesting choices.

Frankly, I was a lot more open-minded than my friend, who at twenty-something was still looking almost exclusively at the hottie-factor, even though I kept trying to  steer her towards – what my people call – the ‘mensch’ factor…which is Yiddish for someone who’s a good person, first and foremost.

I also started noticing something else after reading some of the profiles….they sounded, um, eerily similar to my girlfriend.  They were all politically conservative, white-bread, outgoing, smart-but-not-too-deep guys from big, fairly religious families.  Every. Single. One of them.

What gives? What ever happened to ‘opposites attract’, right?

According to the – ahem – reliable source known as Wikipedia (I’m being sarcastic, but I’m using the info anyway) Dr.Clark Warren believes that the more alike two people are, the more likely it is to be a lifetime match.  Here’s a snippet about his philosophy:

“[eHarmony believes] to have as many interests, hobbies, religious background, etc as your partner works best. Example-if you grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other, where your parents and you networked inside the same religious, political and financial groups, then you grew to trust certain families. Children exposed to other children from like-minded  families who married, tended to stay married longer.

Does this work? One major problem is not everyone online is going to be attracted to others who share their interests & values. So while offline this is a great theory, marry someone who you have known for a long time, whose parents you know and whose social groups you belong to, online the chemistry is JUST NOT THERE! You can go  and read direct feedback from members.  Bottom Line: taking the long-winded questionnaire can be a waste of time if men are not attracted to the women. And if the women are not attracted to the men.”

Knowing this now, there’s no way Mr. Mix and I would have ever been matched.  I am an outgoing, socially motivated, inherently selfish, kinda loud-mouthed Jewish-Buddhist gal who loves documentary films, memoirs, and local theater, and Mr. Mix is an introverted, intensely private, slightly paranoid, inherently selfless, taciturn Jewish guy who loves bad 80s movies, never reads a book, and college and pro football. 

What a shame if we had missed out on each other! Except for our religion and geographical locations, we have almost nothing in common.  And yet, he’s my best friend – one of the few people I never get bored with.  He is sometimes an exasperating, arrogant, micro-managing son-of-a-bitch, but I’m no picnic either.  That said, we do have a very similar world view and while we go about people and situations from entirely different perspectives, we often agree on where things have been and where we want to go.  Literally and metaphorically.

Would eHarmony’s ‘state-of-the-art’ dyadic adjustment measure scale scientifically picked up on these traits within us and thrown us together?  After going through the process with my single friend – whom I will from now on refer to as Smoking-Hot-Single Gal – I tend to think…no. 

So my advice to singles?

1) Don’t rule out online dating sites, but perhaps pick a couple to throw your fabulous, sexy self onto for the picking. 

2) While physical chemistry is important, remember that some people don’t photograph well, or their sexy-voodoo selves doesn’t come through a one-dimensional medium. 

3) Let everyone – and I mean everyone – you know you’re open to being set up.  You’d be surprised that the friend of a friend of the guy who works with your best friend’s husband may turn out to be Mr. Right On Sugar.

4) Even if you’re lonely and looking, really try not to come off as desperate.  Always keep the frame of mind that you’re a catchety-catch and take the time to see if s/he is right for you – not you proving you’re right for them.

5) I can’t believe I’m writing this – or even admitting to it – but if it’s been a -ahem – long while since you’ve had sex and you’re as horny as the Devil herself…masturbate before you go on your date.  I did that often in order to de-slut myself as much as possible.  Admittedly, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it’ll take enough of the edge off so that you don’t hop into bed with someone before you’ve had a chance to really get to know him or her.  And limit the alcohol because that’ll just jack your drive back up again.

Top Ten Songs for Your Sexy Single Selves

10.  “You Sexy Thing,” (Hot Chocolate) 70s Hits.

09. “Love is My Disease,” (Alicia Keys) The Element of Freedom.

08. “I Told You I Was Freaky,” (Flight of the Conchords) I Told You I Was Freaky.

07. “Bang On,” (The Breeders)  Whip It (Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack).

06. “Promise Less or Do More,” (The Whitest Boy Alive) Rules.

05. “Wide-Eyed, Legless,” (Laura Veirs) July Flame.

04. “Sara Smile,” (The Bird and the Bee) Interpreting the Masters, Vol. One (A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates).

03. “Shape of My Heart,”(Noah and the Whale) Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down.

02. “Unparalized,” (Kill Hannah) Hope for the Hopeless.

01. “She-Bop,” (Cyndi Lauper) She’s So Unusual.

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8 responses to “eHarmony or eHomogeny? Does Online Dating Really Work?

  1. Hi Caren

    It’s well-known but not discussed often or openly enough that eHarmony is a Christian match making service, infamous for rejecting thousands of applicants — but only after they have wasted several hours of their lives they will never get back filling out the ridiculous compatibility survey.

    Jewish? Agnostic? Liberal? Forget about it; eHarmony has no use for you.

  2. Yeah, I’ve heard that one too. I found it interesting that they didn’t even offer ‘atheist’ as a choice in the religious category. And obviously there’s no options for gay people either.

    That said, chemistry.com has built an entire ad campaign and revenue stream off of eHarmony’s ‘rejects’. So there’s virtually a virtual pick up pad for everyone these days in cyber space. Go figure.

    One last note: Dr. Warren completely creeps me out. He’s got that vacant-eyed, waxy Jesus fish loving smile that I see on many right wingers. And pedophiles. Just saying…

  3. This whole decimal romance, secret sauce to finding your match is the biggest crock since love potion no. 9. That Dr Clarke is a QUACK.

  4. eharmony matched me with extremely boring people. I’m not kidding. It’s like where boring people go to find someone to talk about the weather with.

  5. I was playing around online and my husband and I just discussed this tonight. Would eHarmony match us if we independently took the questionnaire? After readng your article, I think not.

    I decided to do a Google search for “will eharmony match me to my current husband” just to see what would come up.

    Your blog was a match and I like this article and your perspectives. Very entertaining and interesting!

  6. I just found out this week that my sister is pregnant, which is fantastic! She met her husband on Eharmony about 2 years ago, they got married, and just bought a house. Like, Paid Cash for a house. Apparently she’s been saving like mad for years, so she could buy a house and have babies. And I’m happy for her. I am. But she and her husband are… interesting people. They are square dancing, dungeons and dragons playing, lets do some math for fun type people. And they never would have known each other without this site. My family honestly worried she wasn’t going to find Mr. right, and she was so invested in having children. This site was really a blessing for her. But the whole religious only, no gay thing is ridiculous.

    • It bothers me that some people still think dating sites are the last resort for society’s misfits. What’s so great about meeting your soulmate in a bar? The old-fashioned ways of meeting people are fine but I think we’re lucky to live in an age where we have alternatives. I met my guy on eHarmony and a year later, we’re engaged with a baby on the way. He lived in an out-of-the-way place, in a town not too far from my downtown world, but far enough… I doubt there’s any way we would have ever bumped into each other outside of eHarmony matching us up. We really are made for each other. Sounds silly, and maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the site did what it claimed it would do. People looking for their mate have never had more options than they do now. Good luck to everyone still searching, whether they be a dating dinosaur or technocrat.

  7. Some truly ridiculous misconceptions here…what a laugh.

    Eharmony may or may not have a “christian” undertone – but it is not something you need to be involved with – just post up good honest information and a profile that is reflective of who you are, and let the chips fall where they may.

    To suggest that there are more “nerds” on eharmony is foolish. There are lots of good and bad people. It is simply another option to meeting people.

    If you dont want to use it, dont (I tired it and didnt meet anyone worthwhile) – but to suggest it has some kind of hidden, evil agenda is moronic.

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