So, I’ve been on eHarmony now for a month or so (for those that don’t know, I’m single) and I have to say that in all of my year’s experience of online dating, this has been the most laborious, annoying, testing, arduous, trying, interesting experience I’ve ever had.  

To start, and we’ve all seen the commercials, you need to fill out this exacting questionnaire that takes nearly an hour.  Now, I don’t want to sell this thing short, it does a pretty good job of fleshing out your true personality, but it’s a huge pain in the ass.  Not only is it long, but it’s one of those psycho-babble tests that ask you the same question four times, but phrased differently, to see how you answer.  Plus, everything is that ‘agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree’ -type of question.  However, after getting into the actual system, that part now seems to be the most enjoyable.

Once you’re in, eHarmony sends you your matches.  Supposedly, these are put together by their algorithm and are your ‘soul mates’. You have a choice to either start communicating with these ‘matches’ or close them out.  When closing, you’re given a list of reasons to choose from of why you’re doing so.  Most women choose ‘other’ (I would assume that most men do as well).  I however, try and actually choose a reason thinking, just maybe, that the system will use my choice as a way to tweak their algorithm to present me with better matches in the future. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the case.  I’ve chosen ‘no photo in profile’ about 20 times, yet it still presents me with matches who don’t show a picture.  As an aside, I think that they should change the reason from ‘no photo in profile’ to ‘what have you got to hide?’ or ‘seriously, how ugly are you?’

This brings me to another point:  who in their right mind is choosing to date someone without a seeing a picture?  I mean, do blind dates really a) happen and b) work?  I understand that looks aren’t everything, but seriously, take a picture and put it up. However, don’t, under any circumstance, put up a picture of yourself with a better looking friend.  That’s an instant buzz kill.  I can’t speak for other guys, but if I see two girls in a picture, I want to date the better-looking one.  

So, once you start communicating, you’re taken through a series of ‘guided communications’.  Like the first step, you’re presented with a list of questions to ‘send’ the person and they can either choose a pre-canned answer or write one in.  Obviously, everyone is on their toes (or at least should be), wondering what the questions they send and the answers to those questions say about them (is it better to go bowling, shopping, to a club, or to the opera? Personally, I like to bowl AT the opera).  Anyway, this process goes on and on with ever-increasing freedoms on the communications.  Eventually it leads to what they call ‘open communications’, which is their fancy way to justify charging you $60 a month to send someone an email.

What I do want to point out and, in truth, was the onus behind this post, is a process they call ‘Must Haves / Can’t Stands’.  They give you a list of about 60 items and you have to pick 10 that are deal-breakers, either for or against.  These range from how someone acts around people, to how tight they are with their money, to how important attractiveness is.  So, being the guy that I am, a few of my must haves were about sexual freedoms and attractiveness.  The key to this whole thing is being honest (or so I thought).

In step three, after you’ve started the initial contact and sent some questions back and forth, you send your Must Haves/Can’t Stands (MHCS). With my original set of MHCS, I got to stage three with four different women, but it stopped there.  This made me think that I was focused too much on the physical, so I adjusted them to put less emphasis on looks and sex. What do you know, the second group of women to receive my MHCS proceeded to step four.  However, the question remains: am I cheating myself.

If I went through this list of MHCS originally and the ones that I found to be important were physical, obviously, that matters to me.  So therefore, women who view this list and find it to be a turn-off should, theoretically, not be for me.  That being said, what if the turn-off for these women was not, in fact, that sex and attractiveness was important to me, but that I chose to focus on it?  On the flip side, am I cheating the women who I’m now continuing to communicate with because they don’t know my ‘true’ side?

I’m scheduled to go out on a few dates with the women from the ‘second batch’.  I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

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