26 April 2011


Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Match
(I'm eCurious)

            With modern technology these days, it seems finding a partner for all you lost souls out there would be relatively easy.  There are websites like eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, and Date Hook Up.  I hear some people even use Craig's List for their single white female ads, although I've read that's a good way to go and get yourself murdered.
            I used a dating site about nine years ago.  Pretty sure I was a drunk college student and thought it would be a good idea. I never had a problem finding people to date at bars, on campus, or in class.  Curiosity just got the better of me.  I didn't want to find my soul mate; I simply wanted to see what kinds of weirdos I could attract and laugh about it with my friends.
            Ironically, I used Yahoo personals, created a profile, and within days I attracted a guy named Mike who described himself as being like Mark from the movie Empire Records.  That was a false representation of what he was actually like.  Still, we dated for about four years on and off and I almost married the poor sap.  Calling off your wedding four days before the big day is not a good way to bow out.  But hey, at least I wasn't the Runaway Bride, right? 
            But that's not how all personal dating website stories end, according to the eHarmony ads.  Lately, there has been a large amount of eHarmony commercials on TV.  Every ad shows "happy" couples ice skating, sharing spaghetti, or cuddling together.  eHarmony portrays itself as a website that is capable of making magical marriages, akin to love found only in Disney movies, just by taking a compatibility quiz and uploading a picture.
            What the commercials portray is how grounded they are in core values, like religion, heterosexuality, and family.  And when I say family, I mean a man, a woman, marriage, and children.  What other kind of family is there anyway? Duh.
            There's a problem with their commercials though.  Every couple is a man and a woman.  They do not show two men, or two women together.  Then I got to thinking.  They only show straight couples, but are there gay couples that find love on eHarmony?  I'm eCurious.
            So, as an experiment, I decided to become a member just to see if I would be accepted or rejected.  Yes, it is possible to be rejected by a website. Not just the porno and alcohol websites that require a valid birth date.  Even eHarmony can reject you, so your chances at finding true love at the local watering hole might just be better than sitting on your fat ass behind a computer creating an online dating profile.
            Which is exactly what I did.
            Before I go any further, please note that I have already met my match.  Her name is Emily and she is the woman I will marry someday.  Not sure what day that will be, as gay marriage is not allowed in all the 50 states or Puerto Rico, which apparently the United States owns or dictates or some shit like that.  But we are engaged and have been together for over four years.  My creating an eHarmony website is not because I'm looking for a spouse, a spiritual partner, or a mediocre lay; I'm simply trying an experiment.  An experiment to see if the most popular dating website caters to everyone.
            eHarmony brags about how people can find a match on their website, so I wondered...would they accept someone like me?  A sarcastic, foul-mouthed lesbian who drinks like Keith Richards and always has to have the last word? Well, we shall see.
            The questionnaire starts off with your basic info.  Name, location, race, religion, height, etc.  Then they ask you how important it is for your mate to be a certain race or religion.  Well, I didn't want to discriminate (equal rights people!) so I said I didn't care if my match was white, Hispanic, Japanese, or Arab.  Is it wrong that I assumed "mutt" would be an option?
            Although I'm not religious and don't associate myself with any church or faith, I didn't want to leave anyone out.  Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Sikh.  I would have preferred a Wiccan or someone who practices Voodoo New Orleans style, but again, that was not an option. 
            So far, it seems eHarmony is not quite for everyone.  But let's keep going.  Just because Wicca and Mutt are not options for religion and race doesn't mean the website is completely prejudiced.  Not yet anyway.
            When I get to the part where I have to describe myself, I think it will be easy.  Wrong.  I have to go through at least 200 varying adjectives to describe myself. Here are a few of the best options.
            Witty? Yes.
            Humorous? Yes.
            Moral? Definitely not.
            Charming? Somewhat.
            Open? Yes, sometimes too open.
            Aggressive? Yes.
            Getting bored yet? I am. But let's keep going.
            Persistent? Yes.
            Stubborn? Fo sho!
            Outspoken? Abso-fucking-lutely.
            Calm? Not always.
            Opinionated? Ask everyone I know.
            Judgmental? Ask my sister Kate.
            After I have gone through the list of adjectives to describe me and pick, yes, no, or somewhat, I get to the section where I have to guess four adjectives that my friends would describe me.  These adjectives are outgoing, creative, funny, and perceptive.  No doubt in my mind. 
            The other options to pick from were been respectful (as if), physically fit (so what I have a beer belly?), rational (I'm Irish, let's be real), and quiet (double AS IF).  So, I'm confident that I picked the right adjectives my lovely friends would pick for me.
            I then come to a section that has upgraded from one-word adjectives to complete sentences.  These are sentences that I completely agreed with.
            I enjoy a good joke. (Especially the dirty ones).
            I have a high desire for sexual activity.  (Damn straight!)
            I like to play pranks on others.  (One of my hobbies actually).
            I often see humor in every day life.  (How can you not when there are so many idiots out there?)
            I have an ability to make others laugh. (Which, I hope you have done at some point while reading my stories).
            My friends come to me when they are in difficult times because they know I can handle emotional crises.  (According to my peeps, I am their therapist.  Free therapist, mind you).
            I find that going to church is a good way to meet people who benefit my social and/or professional life.  (I said strongly disagree on this one; but see how they manage to slide religion in there ever so sneakily?)
            Now comes the fun part. I get to decide what I would important qualities I want in a match.  Here's where eHarmony would decide who I should be matched with, depending on my answer.  From what I gather, they wouldn't want a gay, sex-obsessed atheist.  So I made it my goal to appear as one.
            I marked that my match's sex appeal, physical appearance, romantic attraction I feel, and our sexual compatibility were most important.  I marked that I didn't care about their religion, family values, beliefs, or love of children. 
            At this point, I was expecting my computer to be attacked with an anti-gay virus, reject me from the website immediately, and email me a link for the local Sexaholics Anonymous or Gays 'R Us group meeting. 
            I was actually disappointed when that didn't happen.
            They have now decided that they have scratched the surface of who I am, so they are now going to ask me trick questions.  Like if you are applying for a job and your interviewer asks you "Have you ever lied?" and you start sweating because you know it's a trick question.  You can't answer "no" because that's a lie, but you can't answer "yes", because then they won't hire you because they know you just lied.  There's no right answer.
            I always read ALL of the warning literature on side effects before taking any medication.  False. (Isn't that what pharmacists are for?)
            I sometimes drive faster than the posted speed limit.  False.  (I ALWAYS drive faster than the posted speed limit).
            I don't care what other people think of me.  True. (I am who I am).
            I dislike some people.  True and False.  (I dislike most people).
            I would never lie, even if it wouldn't hurt anyone.  False.  (Everyone lies).
            I sometimes wish that certain other people would fail.  No answer.
            Phew. This questionnaire is exhausting and I'm not even 2/3 the way through it yet.  Good thing I'm stubborn and aggressive or I would have given up already.
            Moving onto the next section, I get to list my favorite activities.  Unfortunately, swearing, drinking, and fornicating are NOT options.  So I'm forced to pick activities like board games, camping, cooking, family, parties, wine, traveling, and video games.  Thankfully during all these activities, I swear and drink, so I guess it counts.
            Oh goody! I get to evaluate my living skills now! I'm still alive, so what else does this damn website need to know?
            Apparently, they need to know if I maintain a close network of friends.  If I use humor to make friends laugh.  If I entertain in my home.  Yes, of course I'm funny and entertaining.  They also want to know if I create romance in my relationship (for all you perverted eVoyeurs out there, the answer is yes!). 
            I guess it's also imperative for them to know if I share my beliefs through teaching, participation, and example and if I understand local, national, and world events. 
            Not gonna lie; I only understood three words in that whole sentence. So I skipped it.
            Next I get to evaluate my communication style.  What, using my outdoor voice and curse words isn't enough for you eHarmony?  You haven't figured me out yet?
            I try to make sure that my position prevails, that I win.  (Damn straight).
            I try to make sure I'm understood.  (How can I win if people don't understand me?)
            I try to understand the other person.  (How can you win an argument unless the other person feels the opposite?)
            I am passionate/intense about my position.  (Some would say I'm obsessed when I know I'm right).
            I try to drop an issue once it is resolved.  (Nope. I've been told I am notorious for rehashing old arguments.  Again, just ask my sister Kate).
            Have I proven my point yet?  If you disagree with me, I would love to argue with you about it.  No takers?  Okay.  Moving on.
            Relationship style is next.  Do they mean style as in doggie style?  Surely not.  What they mean is when I think about what I want in a relationship, how important are the following items:
            Knowing as much as possible about my partner's past? (Yes. I would like to know how many people have been in or around their naughty parts).
            Being able to tell my partner everything about myself. (Duh. I'm more open and unabashed than Courtney Love).
            Enjoying physical closeness with my partner.  (Sex? Yup!)
            Feeling that my spouse can do little wrong.  (Um...no.  I'm not the only one to take blame here).
            Then they ask me for three things for which I'm most thankful.  Hmmm...I always have a difficult time coming up with one thing on Thanksgiving, let alone three on this website.  I immediately type in the first three things that come to mind: alcohol, sex, and life
            Man, I am not portraying myself in a very positive light, am I? Well, like I said. It's an experiment.  And most of what I've answered is true.  Except for the whole sex obsession.  That's almost false.
            It then asks me who the most influential person has been in my life.  I write "Oprah...'nuff said". 
            What is the most important quality that I am looking for in another person?  "For my partner to be as sexually expressive as I am".
            Other than your appearance, what is the first thing people notice about you? "My gapped front teeth.  Rumor has it, they give my face character".
            The questionnaire ends with me marking if I need my match to smoke/drink.  Well, I don't care either way.  I don't want to be matched with a drunk, but my match certainly cannot be Mormon (no drinking, swearing, or pre-marital fornicating? What kind of life is that?)
            Wait, that wasn't an option in the religion section.  I guess Mormons aren't welcome on this site either.  I kept waiting for it but it never happened.  Not only are Mormons not considered as prime eHarmony matches, neither are homosexuals.  There was not a section where I could mark if I wanted to meet a man or a woman.  If I was gay or straight. 
            Regardless, I clicked "continue" and impatiently waited to see whom I'd be matched with.  After waiting 30 seconds, I had seven matches.
            I was matched with eight men all in their thirties.  Seven white males and one Chinese man.  FML. I never said I liked Asian inspired food, so what's with Changpu? Are they trying to prove they're not racist?
            Is it coincidental that I was matched with four men whose names also appear in the bible as gospels?  Most likely not. 
            Good news: I wasn't rejected.
            Bad news: I wasn't quite accepted either.
            If eHarmony would have asked a few more questions (ugh, was that even possible), they would have matched me with women and men, not just men.  I can't say I was surprised; it's not as if I didn't know this simply based on their commercials.
            I guess I just would have liked to see the most popular and "successful" dating website cater to everyone, not just a man and a woman who go to church, want marriage, kids, two cars, and a nice house and would never cheat, lie, or steal. Ever.  That's the only life eHarmony portrays (in my opinion).
            Well, we are two women who want the same things. Emily goes to church (I'm not certain I could cross the threshold without receiving third degree burns).  We want to get married.  We want to have kids.  We want to own a house.  We don't lie, cheat or steal. 
            So, what's the dealio eHomies?  Why was I only matched up with men? Why are you judging me based on a couple questions?  All you have to do is make a box that says "interested in men or women" and this website would be damn near perfect.
            Thankfully, Emily and I didn't have to rely on eHarmony to find each other.  If we had, there's no chance in hell (my future home, by the way) we would have been matched with one another.
            My favorite question from this whole survey was: "Is there any additional information you would like your matches to know about you?"
            My answer: "I am the most sarcastic person you will ever meet.  You might not like me right away, but slowly over time, I will grow on you like mold on a strawberry."
            "Oh, and I'm a lesbian".


Elsa said...

According to Wikipedia:

Initially eHarmony did not offer same-sex matches, but now it does through its separate service, Compatible Partners.Warren originally explained that he had done extensive research on heterosexual marriage but does not know enough about homosexual relationships to do same-sex match-making which "calls for some very careful thinking. Very careful research. He also noted that eHarmony promotes heterosexual marriage, adding that same-sex marriage is illegal in most states, "We don't really want to participate in something that's illegal. eHarmony's lack of same-sex matching options prompted lawsuits claiming that eHarmony violated laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As part of the settlement of a New Jersey case, eHarmony launched a partner website called Compatible Partners providing same-sex match-making "for serious couples" Theodore B. Olson, an attorney for eHarmony, said that even though the company believed the complaint was "an unfair characterization of our business," it chose to settle because of the unpredictable nature of litigation.In 2010, eHarmony settled a separate class-action lawsuit filed in California that alleged illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation. The company, which did not admit wrongdoing, agreed to allow access to both its gay and straight dating sites with a single subscription, to display its gay dating services more prominently and to establish a settlement fund to pay people who can show they were harmed by the company's policies. Compatible Partners has attracted over 200,000 registrants.Garcia also notes that, like, eHarmony, Compatible Partners attracts high-quality customers: "Because of the price tag and the emphasis on long-term relationships...Compatible Partners' users are seen as quite desirable."

KC Kelly said...

i don't think homosexual relationships need "careful research". we want the same things everyone else does. marriage, family, house, food, a good life.

eharmony not wanting to get involved in anything "illegal" is a load of crap. there's nothing illegal about gay marriage. just because it's not allowed in all states does NOT make it "illegal". rape is illegal. murder is illegal. drugs are illegal. when people attribute being gay as being illegal, it is hurtful.

now that's not to say i don't think there should be separate gay and straight dating websites for people who take it seriously. but for the most part, eharmony is such a huge dating website, you'd think they'd cater to everyone versus these other smaller less known companies. it's a slippery slope though. how do you separate the two without being discriminatory? who knows...but there's good reason why people brought lawsuits against eharmony for being discriminatory, so i don't blame them for creating a separate site. with that said, when i created my profile for the purpose of research and to write this, nowhere did i find an advertisement for "compatible partners" or anything relating to gay people whatsoever.

eharmony portrays the perfect life as being a man, a woman, kids, house, church, etc. you might be surprised that many gay people are married with kids and own a house and go to church!

i wasn't trying to make a political statement here; i was simply trying to make a point about a topic that is important to me by using humor. hopefully people will get that.

CelticLady said...

Very interesting Kara, as usual you made me laugh. Elsa, that is very interesting..

Kate said...

Kara, this was quite funny...as most of your writing is.

But, upon first beginning the story, I remembered that I have seen a commercial for one of tyhese sites, it obviously wasn't eHarmony, but there were two men that were in a happy committed relationship because of the dating service.

While I also disagree with the use of the word 'illegal' in describing same-sex marriage, it makes sense though because something that isn't legal, is therefore illegal. You know?

Elsa, very interesting reading the research you did...

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