So far on eHarmony, the so-called serious dating site for marriage-minded men, I’d communicated with Dick Pic Joe and “Our First Date Will Be Like a Third Date” Michael, neither of whom I even met in person. Yes, it was a blessing for a guy to show himself to be undateable before I wasted time meeting him, or worse, but was there anyone who was actually dateable to be found on eHarmony?
The abbreviation I used for it when I texted my girlfriends – eharm – seemed more appropriate than its full name, as I was finding zero harmony and plenty of potential harm.
Maybe I’d just been unlucky, gotten two bad apples in a row. But there was also the disheartening familiarity of so many of the guys on the site, the very same guys I’d already seen on Tinder, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel. I have a great memory for faces.
How could eharm’s purported algorithm possibly be real when I was being sent the same guys I’d previously been matched with on the free apps based on proximity and age alone? Not to mention that of the guys who weren’t recognizable from the apps, very few of them seemed to have anything in common with me. I’d spent a ton of time answering the intake questions on the site and then ranking how important categories like education, income, lifestyle and distance were to me, yet my answers seemed to be not at all reflected in my matches.
There was a mail carrier with some college who lived a great distance from me, several Libertarians, and a disconcerting number of men with date-stamped photos bearing years like 2006. And I mean only from 2006, with zero photos showing how he looked in the last decade. There were also many men who had one profile photo only – often blurry and with sunglasses on – or no photos at all. Every day I was sent matches with a profile pic that was a cartoon of a blank, gray face. As if eharm could make that any creepier.
There were also plenty of men whose only profile photo was of their dog (or a dog anyway, presumably it was theirs) or a location, such as a building in Vegas or Europe. Then there were the guys who started with the location photo – preferably someplace tropical and romantic looking – and after they reeled you in with the beach shot slowly worked up to a clear photo of themselves, well aware that the tropical location was far more aesthetically appealing.
If I was going to stick with eharm – at least through the three months I’d already paid for – I’d have to frequently repeat to myself yet another dating cliché others had often told me: It only takes one.