Well, I'm not ruling any of the above out. My conscious reasons for choosing this particular service, however, were the following:
- My picture and profile are only available to people who are part of the service, thus minimizing the possibility that sexist and disrespectful students will find them and use them against me in some way. Is this paranoia on my part? I don't know. But it's one of the things that made me apprehensive about Match.
- I love a personality test. Have ever since I was 12.
- I have a bunch of friends who've done Match and from their reports it sounded quite meat-market-y. Now, Dr. Crazy can enjoy going to market just like the rest of 'em, but the truth of it is that I've been down that road, and it's a road that doesn't seem worthy of the time, effort, and cash that online dating demands.
- Any dude who's going to take the time to fill out Dr. Warren's lengthy questionnaire has to have at least some commitment to the idea of finding a person to date.
- I'm intrigued by the whole guided communication thing. I like the idea that I can cut off communication with a person before it ever gets personal, you know? And I don't like the idea of becoming involved with a person (via email) before I've ever met him. I'm thinking that the guided communication will help with this.
- Did I mention that eHarmony is HUGE in my location? Whereas Ok Cupid! (for example, which someone suggested) doesn't even exist? Here it's pretty much Match or eHarmony, as far as I can tell, and Match seems to skew slightly less professional.
- I like the fact that the computer is weeding people out for me. The less directed sites are kind of overwhelming to me.
Nevertheless, I'm kind of freaked out by the fact that eHarmony seems so marriage-driven. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I'm not entirely sure why it bothers me. What's wrong with wanting to find a person to marry? At what point did that become a bad thing to do? Similarly, why am I so intimidated by the idea of "dating" in the traditional sense? When did "dating" become something that people didn't do regularly, having replaced it with "hooking up" or "hanging out"? And why do the latter two seem "normal" to me whereas "dating" seems like something from the stone ages?
I've got to say, though, this process is intriguing. It forces a person to think about what she wants in her life, what kind of person she thinks she'd like to share that with, and who she is and how she wants to sell herself to prospective suitors. This is something that I don't think I've done much in my "real life" dating life. I've fallen into relationships, I've given chances where I should have said, "sorry, I don't think we're a match!" and been on my way, I've stayed in relationships because it was easier than leaving and looking for better or different or whatever. In this new and improved virtual dating world, all of that is flipped around and there's a lot more thought that goes into it at the front end. Is this good? Does it ruin the "romance"? I don't really know. But I'm interested to see where it goes. I'm "communicating" with three people already.
Bachelor #1 (with whom I've gotten the farthest in the eHarmony guided communication) is a pilot, rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, and is 30 years old. I would NEVER meet a guy like this in real life. So far, things are progressing at a smooth and steady pace, and we've moved to the essay-question portion of things. By the way, does anybody have a good answer to the following question, "How would you spend a romantic evening with someone you have been dating for more than one year"? The strikes against him are that he has the same name as my ex and that he's only 5'10".
Bachelor #2 is a teacher, and he claims that it's his "calling." Whatever. It never hurt anybody to answer some multiple choice questions.
Bachelor #3 is a "corporate account representative." I have a feeling that he would think I'm fat. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, though, or at least a phase or two more of the guided communication, because I'm not sure what gives me that impression.
In the end, I'll think this whole enterprise is a success if I go on some dates and the guys pay often enough that I ultimately make back the money I spent signing up for this thing. I've got to say, though, I already have learned a lot, and I've only been signed up for like 3 days. It will be so interesting to see where this all goes.