Thursday, July 21


Just another Tuesday night, I'm looking through my fifty plus new eHarmony matches, weeding and deleting. Sorry, 'archiving,' which makes me feel as though I'm sending the guys to be filed in a stuffy basement library run by old men wearing sweater vests.

I haven't actually logged into my eHarmony account since last December when I opened it. I've been too scared.

The first time I tried to open an account with eHarmony, after filling out the extensive questionnaire, and waiting for the calculating or sorting or whatever secret process eHarmony conducts in five seconds, I was sent back the message "Sorry, you are unmatchable at this time."

Unmatchable? And that only took five seconds? Geez, this is worse than I thought. Granted, I was going through a rough bout at the time and may have answered the question "How often do you feel depressed" by ticking "Most of the time"...

Nothing like being rejected by eHarmony to boost your spirits.

Truthfully, online dating intimidates me. When I finally finished the 'application' process, got accepted, and was in, I suddenly found myself in a whirlwind of men coming into my inbox with impressive resumes demonstrating high marks on our twenty-nine dimensions of compatibility. Seven new matches every time I logged in!––How's a girl supposed to handle that?

Even in our times of telecommunication, eHarmony was not a natural step for me. I used to disdain the concept of internet dating. It seemed too intentional, too obvious. I'm no denier of the importance of compatibility, but at the end of the day, I'm a romantic, wanting something about love to be magical and unexpected. Unlike most everything else in life, I've always been strangely relaxed about love, trusting that the right one will be there at the right time.

I've never been a big fan of e-communication, in which we have the freedom to say and do things we'd maybe never say or do face-to-face. It offers the illusion of relationship, when the reality is much messier, visceral, and complex. OK, so you have 400 Facebook friends, but how many of them have your back when you've got bigger issues than what to comment on that Akon video that Johnny Johnson posted on his wall.

It also occurs to me that an online profile, much like a resume, is really only a list of the parts of a person. At best, it offers a hint of the whole. I'm all for full disclosure in dating, but when I list my one-armedness, it feels like just another disconnected part, a strange bit of trivia. Can you really get a sense of the person without seeing the whole? Chemistry doesn't seem email-able.

Yet the benefits of having some of the dating legwork done for you can't be denied. I often feel too tired for the dating scene. I want to skip ahead to when we sit in twin rockers on the porch till death do us part. So, these days I'm much more open to blind dates and being set up by friends. And I can't help but see how arranged marriages can cut out the stress of finding yourself on a date with a guy who shows up in a kilt and expects you to drive (true story I heard recently). Not that I have anything against kilts.

I opened an eHarmony account in December more out of curiosity than anything else. I wanted to see who I was matched with and whether or not it lined up with the kind of person with whom I thought I was compatible. Turns out, I have a lot in common with PhDs who enjoy the opera and lumberjacks who can't live without their dog. Great, I could have told you that before we started. I didn't, however, expect to be so compatible with Asians and Pacific Islanders.

But I have yet to commit. I'm still not paying for my eHarmony account, which means I can't actually communicate with my matches. And after thirty minutes of reading twenty different top three things they can't live without, I'm starting to have trouble telling any of them apart, and I just want to go to bed.

I'm coming around, slowly. I think looking for love online is a valid option. But I'm still not sure it's for me. I've always believed no matter how large or small the pond, the right fish is swimming somewhere in it, and I'd much rather just happen to meet under the same water lily.