eHarmony in the Age of Tinder

eHarmony is where the serious guys are, right? That’s what the commercials with the slightly creepy, meddlesome old man tell us, but there has to be more to it than that.

got men warren

No one would bother to take the time-consuming “personality algorithm” test to determine his compatible matches, fork over more than 100 bucks for a three-month subscription, and fill in the endless profile questions if he weren’t serious about finding someone. Why bother, especially in the age of Tinder?

I’d put off trying eHarmony for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the time-suck aspect of it. Tinder offered free hookups in record time. The convenience level was a 10, but the quality level was a 3, maybe a 4 on a lucky day.

I would have to put in the time and shell out some cash to get into the pool of Quality Men Looking for Serious Relationships that eHarmony promised. I personally knew one happy couple who met on there and got married after five years together – and the man was younger and more attractive than the woman (not a bad endorsement). I’d also heard of numerous friends of friends who met on the site and were now married. eHarmony leads to marriage; that’s the conventional wisdom.

So I signed up full of hope, more than ready to start meeting better quality men who would not be Walking Red Flags so much as Full-Package Men.

My hope of finding an FPM springs eternal.

There were a lot of horrendous hairlines, unfortunate outfits and granddad bods (I say “granddad” because “dad bod” would imply being in too good of shape) amongst the initial matches I was sent. And, weirdly, I recognized some of the guys from Tinder, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel, the one free dating app I was still on (which had only resulted in two bad coffee dates, thus not even meriting a previous mention here). These swipe-app dudes I’d already seen before – for free – had matched with me on the personality algorithm?

I was suspicious, but I’d already paid for a three-month subscription, and I resolved to keep an open mind. How many times has someone said to me, “It only takes one guy?” (Almost as many as “When you stop looking, you’ll find someone.”) But it’s true that it only takes one, and I was determined to find my diamond among the many lumps of coal.

I received a long, intelligent-sounding email from a guy I’ll call “Joe” who mercifully skipped the guided-communication process and jumped right into actual communication. He took the time to read my profile and comment on several things I’d mentioned, including a love of KCRW. Joe was divorced with two young kids and lived in Long Beach, a good 40 minutes away without traffic. He wasn’t hot, but he wasn’t not either, and he sounded nice. (The older I get, the more nice matters. Men who say women only like assholes are probably going for younger women.)

After a couple emails back and forth, Joe sent me his number and asked me to call him. When I did, he told me he was about to take his kids to karate and could only talk a few minutes. Yet he had time to ask, almost immediately, if anyone had sent me dick pics. It was practically the first thing out of his mouth. This is what he wanted to talk about as our initial getting-to-know-you convo?

He followed up immediately after our brief call with a text. It said “Unsolicited dick pic” above a picture of Dick Van Dyke. And the joke never grew old to Joe. This text was soon followed by pics of Dick Sargent (of “Bewitched fame”) and the next day, Dick Nixon.

Dick Van Dyke

The Golden Rule of Comedy says that the audience will laugh at a joke the first time, laugh harder the second time in recognition, laugh less the third time, and laugh no more beyond three mentions. The problem was, I wasn’t laughing the first time.

So Joe was juvenile (despite being in his mid 40s) and fixated on “dick pics,” but certainly he couldn’t be representative of all the guys on eHarmony. One bad apple would not spoil the entire barrel, contrary to the cliché.

The next guy I found on eHarmony would have to be an improvement. Right?

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Apprehensively looking forward to the next installment. Wasn’t there a disclaimer on the commercial? Oh, only on prescription med commercials. The FPM man must be buried deep beneath all the WRFs. Makes me sad as I know so many women who are looking and having similar experiences. The situation isn’t funny, however your story gave me a much needed laugh. Only person I know who would appreciate and probably send Dick pic jokes is my former husband. Shed him years ago. Keep looking for the FPM because being married to a WRF is a disaster!

  2. That’s not just a creepy old man — that’s the creepy old CEO!

    If something is funny enough, by comedy law, you can actually go well beyond those three mentions to a point of utter absurdity that breaks beyond the fatigue and makes it hilarious all over again (sometimes even more hilarious than the first time around). That takes real skill, however. And dick pic humor is purely 6th grade.

  3. Wow that is a really high bar for juvenile humor. At least he reveled his true colors before you invested your time and energy in him. Can’t wait to hear about the improvement!

  4. I feel super out of touch with the online dating thing so probably not the best person to comment on such matters. I tried it once just for fun one night on Craigslist, I got a hit and she sounded nice, I asked for a photo and she looked like one of the Indigo Girls but more handsome, not really my type, so failed experiment. In my single days in the Bay Area I used to call my pickup method “The Kamikaze”… I’d ask about 100 beautiful women per weekend to go out with me, if one said yes then my weekend was a success. It was good fun, got laughed at a lot, stopped caring so much about rejection, and met some amazing women with this goofy strategy. And btw, the unsolicited dick pics are hilarious, props to that guy, what a genius! Peace & Love Sisters and Brothers, and happy dating! Sa da tay!

  5. I almost called off a date once because of a bad joke the guy told me on the phone. Now we’ve been together for nine years, married for four, with a beautiful son. And I’ve grown to love his bad jokes. 🙂

  6. There are some interesting closing dates in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  7. If that’s the worst texts you get from a guy, you’re lucky! It wouldn’t have bothered me if other stuff was ok.

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