A friend of mine recently came to visit, she too is single and somehow managed to convince me that giving "e-Harmony" a try would be a good idea. Yes, she used my recent Bacheloress diatribe against me and briefly convinced me that as I was 'so happy alone' it wouldn't harm just to look what's out there and feel vindicated in my singledom.... Craft Cow!
Firstly, I completely avoid online dating sites these days after going through the whole Dating Direct carnival with a recently divorced friend a few years ago. I actually bothered to meet a few of the guys on there, boredom engulfed me (during the dates I might add) because it was all a bit fenzied, no real interest in getting to know one another in any way other than that which requires immediate condom application... Speed Dating was just as bad, I felt like I had strayed into a Carry On Film and wondered if each guy was waiting for my bra to fly off into his face! I ran a mile! Then thankfully I met someone the normal way... you know, chat about stuff, keep bumping into each other and things just kind of developed. OK, so it didn't last a lifetime but at least we were compatible for a while.
I'm not even looking, but she made the personality profile part sound interesting so I wandered over and spared a good few hours of my life to wind up with the usual psychometric-reduce-everyone-to-a-square-or-round-peg-profile, which was amusingly accurate on a couple of points and woefully wrong on a few others. Being someone who enjoys the company of old friends, just as much as I enjoy my own company and has sometimes lived alone perfectly happily, I was bemused to find myself described as someone who always craves company and gets really lonely quickly and prefers to be in a crowded room. Really, thank God for e-Harmony, I didn't know myself at all?
That obviously didn't inspire much confidence, nor the fact that it really blows smoke up yer ar*e on the good points!
One of the most alarming things about the profile is that while you get to choose only 10 good points that you value in a partner out of a list of 30 rather shallow attributes (it points out that that this will be hard to do, but actually it was fine) it then worryingly tells you to choose only 10 bad points you find least attractive in a potential partner out of 30.... and suddenly we seem to have strayed into one of Quantico's psychopathic personality profiles designed to catch serial killers. Errr, narrow it down to just 10??? I felt distinctly uncomfortable not being able to tick all 30!!!! Sorry, I was expecting stuff like "picks his nose in public" or "wears sandals over socks" but we passed up all the minor league stuff and went straight to racism, misogyny, homophobia, total lack of empathy for fellow human beings and woodland creatures... non are particularly attractive to me, nor is religious intolerance (yes, I know, I'm an atheist but that doesn't mean I think it's OK to brow beat those with beliefs different to my own) and I don't want to date someone who tortures kittens for fun... I mean Dexter is gorgeous but I wouldn't want to date him in real life.
Plus, if we flip this on it's head, I don't remember there being any questions to ascertain if I was racist, homophobic, likely to issue a fatwa at the drop of a hat, or spend my weekends dismembering casual acquaintances... so how would they know if those were my hobbies so they could NOT INTRODUCE me to men who had pointed out on their form that they didn't want a sociopath for a girlfriend? Arrrrgggggghhhhhhh....
Another point, E-harmony began life in the US and they seem to have failed to adapt their matching criteria on one crucial difference in our geography. I put down that I would only want to meet someone from within a 30 mile radius. OK, so in the States, that might only get you one match if you live somewhere rural, or non except a few racoons? Here in the UK, we have a very overcrowded island with an old and congested road network. So E-Harmony has automatically widened my search area (travelling for hours for a first date is putting rather a lot of pressure on to my mind!) AND is looking for flexible matches (ie: People who don't match your search criteria!!!!!!!!!) Might as well trust your future dates to a random number generator... seriously, they just sent me a "match" to someone who is 49 years old and has given his christian name as that of a reptile!!!!! Seriously dude, calling yourself Snake!?!*$%!***
So anyway, you fill out this exhausting damn form, and I didn't realise that it would immediately be put "out there", I thought I would get to choose that option later if I decided to go ahead, but no, I am pitched headlong into the lion/snake filled arena of online-dating. And it immediately provided me with 3 matches, the best of which is only a 30% at that!!! A 30% match... I could do better than that myself in Waitrose with a bloody blindfold and a shrimping net!
At least Mr 30% said something sarcastic, which made me think that he was also finding the whole thing a bit of a fiasco. That's my biggest problem, my kind of guy would also find filling out those questions a bit ridiculous and probably also fail to check back in or follow up on those god-awful pre-filled out flirtatious replies they give you unless you pay to join. No, we are pretty much guaranteed our paths will never cross by the mere fact we would both find it farcical and wonder how we got talked into it. Non starter.
My problem is that I am hugely attracted to personality, hugely attracted to intelligence and people who don't necessarily follow the rules (but not in a "get me I'm so anarchic" type way). It's very hard to work up enthusiasm for a total stranger when all you have to go on is that they filled out a form in a similar way to you. Especially a form that gives you very little opportunity to put things into your own words, so there is very little to interest me in the profiles they present to me. I'm not intrigued, I need to be intrigued!
I also can't find a way to delete my bl**dy profile. I'm really not feeling the love for e-harmony!