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.
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.
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?