I am a very busy single man and I use dating websites. I say it proudly, even though there are some people out there who judge this behaviour poorly. To such people I say, go back to your limited, adventure-free and bitter lives; I have no use for you or your irrational fears and prejudices. Online dating has been very good to me over the years: I have had many excellent intimate relationships, both short-term and long-term, and have met even more wonderful lifelong friends as a result of the medium’s reach.
These days my least favourite dating website is eHarmony. It’s touted as among the most serious of sites, and manages to sustain this reputation through a high monthly fee and an annoying “guided communication” process that only allows potential suitors to communicate via pre-set questionnaires. I find this process particularly annoying since one cannot express one’s personality through questionnaires. I put up with it because I like being able to access only suitors who are serious about finding someone, and not jerks (jerkettes?) looking to feed their egos.
eHarmony has come under legal fire of late because it does not service same-sex relationships. But that’s a separate issue not germane to this blog post.
Anyway, I was recently “matched” with a 30-year old doctor in Toronto named P*****t. I immediately suspected that this was an old friend whom I had actually met on another dating site a couple of years ago. So I emailed her to say, “Hey, it looks like eHarmony just matched us!”
She responded, “Of course eharmony matched us – we’re both fabulous, dahling!”
Then I received the expected questionnaire from P*****t on eHarmony. I answered the questions jokingly, knowing that my old friend would appreciate the humour.
Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. It was not the same P*****t. Really now, how many 30-year old doctors named P*****t live in Toronto? This new P*****t was apparently insulted by my responses and immediately closed all contact with me –which I find to be a fairly humourless response.
Why am I writing about this here, in this public space? First, I think it’s a funny story, and I’m all about the funny story. Second, if this second P*****t is reading this (not entirely impossible), I think she deserves to know that I thought she was someone else! And third, I wish to complain about sites like eHarmony who take all the fun out of dating.
Half the meaning of suitor interaction should be about miscommunication and struggling to figure out how the other person communicates, how their sense of humour works. eHarmony doesn’t even have a process by which I can write back and apologize! A dating site should bring people together and let them communicate freely and without restriction, simulating as closely as possible the organic process of stumbling to commonality.
Doesn’t really matter, of course. Someone who is offended by my innocuous questionnaire responses will be irrevocably scarred by meeting the true me in person. Not many mortals can withstand full exposure to the 24/7 smart-ass machine that is Lord Wat.
By now, I’m sure you’re curious about what I actually wrote to her. She had sent me five questions with 4 multiple choice responses I could choose from. I opted to write in a fifth response:
|What style of dress do you prefer?
A) I like to get dressed up
B) I like to dress casual
C) I dress for the occasion
D) I wear whatever is clean
E) potato sack, with boxes for shoes 🙂
|Would you rather date someone who is:
A) very busy, with a sometimes chaotic schedule, who books time with you in advance
B) busy, with a structured schedule, you know what days the person will be available for fun
C) slightly busy, who works during the day and is available most nights
D) not busy and has lots of free time
E) completely disdainful of me and my needs 🙂
|Do you consider yourself an ambitious person?
A) By any definition, I am very ambitious.
B) I have clear goals and sometimes consider myself ambitious.
C) I am pursuing some life goals, but am not a very ambitious person.
D) I consider myself quite content as is.
E) I am ambitious about achieving a life without ambition
|How often do you find yourself laughing?
A) I crack myself up!
B) I try to laugh all the time and get serious only when it’s needed.
C) Most of my time is spent being serious but I like an occasional good laugh.
D) I’m generally a pretty serious person.
E) laughter is for the weak
|If I had a bad day, what is the first thing you would do for me?
A) Cook you dinner
B) Rub your shoulders
C) Talk with you about your day
D) Take you out on the town
E) fly you to Vegas and stake you $500 on a poker match
I will say this: life is never boring. At least it doesn’t need to be.