Sunday, December 24, 2006

Of eHarmony & Online Dating

I signed up for eHarmony yesterday. I've got about 6 months to see if the site can live up to the hype for me. A few quick points for this undoubtedly lengthy post, some of which I'm posting here instead of in a comment to someone else's eHarmony hate post.

Want to know why I signed up for online dating services (including eHarmony)? I live in a suburb where there are relatively few options of meeting people (2 bars within a 5-10 min. drive). I suck at the bar scene anyways. I don't get out much (I'm in the office for over 45 hours/week). I don't meet (new) women very often. I can be shy. Online dating sites at least have the potential for helping me meet women.

I've been signed up with eHarmony for less than 48 hours. I have 2 open communications and have received over two dozen matches. Granted not all of the matches are within my geographic limits or other considerations, but it's a start. These alone put me ahead of (roughly) 75% of the eHarmony-hate posters.

Honestly, at this point I don't care how others have faired with eHarmony, since I've already given them money. I also don't care too much about their overall success rate since I'm now interested in *my* success rate.

Okay, on to the linkage! And oh what linkage there is.

A comment here had me laughing:
I like to use a combination of techniques to find the perfect date. I don’t have to be bothered with all those messy online forms or banner ads either.

It’s a little something I call speed-stalking. After three-minutes of following a prospect in a store or other public place, I’ve developed a way to read if they’re worth pursuing long-term or not.

It's a win-win.
Interesting approach. +2 for creativity, -50 for style.

"One is never a failure, until one stops trying to succeed." -- River (in a comment here)

"Options, even if they turn out to be the wrong ones, are better than having none at all." -- me (in a comment here)

This eHarmony Blog post led me to this page which purports to have a number of questions one should ask another. Too many questions for me, though I do not doubt their relevancy at all. I link the page more for the essay at the bottom of the page. An interesting read.

This eHarmony Blog post shares one guy's secrets to skipping the Open Communications stage. I do no. 2 implicitly. I refuse to do no. 1. (I'm going to stay completely honest. If I include something like no. 1, it's because I honestly want that in a person. Or I may not include it because I consider it to be implicit. Whatever.) His no. 4 is utterly fantastic. I have little doubt that I will use it. It is what you should do by that point or after an open communiqué or such. Must remember this.

This eHarmony Blog post has a good affirmation ("She'll be here today." -- Richard Bach, "Bridge Across Forever") and an interesting quote attributed to D.H. Lawrence:
Those that go searching for love, only manifest their own lovelessness. And the loveless never find love, only the loving find love. And they never have to seek for it.
Unlike the post's response to this quote, I don't think I'll ever turn this into a game. If that were my goal, I'd have my own apartment and be at the bar 4-6 nights a week, trying to pick up one-night-stands. That's not me. That's not what I want. What I do want is to meet someone and develop a meaningful relationship. Where it goes from there I cannot say, but if I even get that far it will be further than I've managed in 3 years.

I may have to ponder that quote more. May be another blog post in it.

This eHarmony Blog post allegedly describes the two (differing) fundamental goals behind male and female eHarmony users:
Men from eHarmony have two goals: They want pictures of you. They want a date this weekend.

Women from eHarmony have two goals: They want a husband. They want the safety of prolonged "Open Communication."
I suspect this isn't too far off. I eventually do need a picture, though it's really only to see if she is remotely attractive (i.e., to ensure that I might, in some respect or other, be even remotely physically attracted to her). If I think she's hideous, then it's a no go. A long time ago I got over the fact that, yes, I can be shallow about these things. I'm not apologetic about it, even though I want to be. But I also try to keep an open mind and, as long as she isn't hideous, I will give her a shot to see what her personality is like, what she is like. That's my philosophy on that. And I do want a date this weekend. But I'm patient and willing to talk for a bit if that's what she wants. I'm very easy-going (which rarely, if ever, works out for me).

By the way, can you tell I've been perusing that blog?

This eHarmony Blog post links to a number of other good posts. Good information, good reading (for me at least).

"The secret of being interesting is to be interested." -- Bill Carruth (from here)

This eHarmony Blog post describes The eHarmony Match Circuit. Down the road, I just might try that, especially since my geographic goal is skewed to CT (i.e., more towards North and East of me, rather than extending all the way Southeast into The City – NYC, that is).

I may have to (or want to) do this at some point. If not for security reasons (which I'm honestly not too worried about since, I believe, the credit card company assumes the risk should the card number be stolen), then to avoid automatic renewals.

I don't think this is true any more (" only matches women with taller men"). One of my matches is 5'8" to my 5'6".

This post is friggin' hysterical! Not for the premise or lead up, but for this final paragraph (emphasis added):
Unfortunately I will never be an eHarmony Don Juan. It just wouldn't work out. The paradox of being a good Husband/Father and being in the dating scene can not be resolved. Also, were I to actually become single, I'd likely revert to my previous state of frustration and annoyance at the hands of the female population (Idiots, the lot of you). After a few years of this, I would then develop a healthy contempt for women, leading to a cold unwelcoming persona that only the keenest eye could see through and get to know the great guy I could be deep down. Without my marriage I’m no better than any other guy. This is just another example of how life is unfair, I only become desirable to wide swaths of the female population when I’m no longer interested or available to them. Sorry ladies, you can soak me up with your eyes to use in your fantasies, but no touching.
Why can I picture myself as that description in 3 years' time?

"Oy, I’m back on the saddle again. Broken hopes here they come." -- The eHarmony Blog (9/13/06)

Good tips and tricks for Match Settings.

As I was reading someone else's eHarmony blog, I realized (or, more accurately, remembered) why this eHarmony thing (and dating in general, let alone "online dating") feels so adventurous to me – it's completely outside my comfort zone. I've been living in that zone for ..well, I was about to write something like 1.5 years, but truth be told I've been living in my comfort zone for longer than that. I don't know when it started or if it ever wasn't. Sometimes I do things to prove to others and myself that I can do them (e.g., joining a fraternity). I haven't done anything like that lately. What I want to do, some day, is just go. Where and what and when aren't questions for that. Just go. But I can't do that, not yet, maybe not ever. And if never, that's okay. I think.

Anyways, I deviated from the point. This, for me, is breaking out of my comfort zone. It started with that first blind date a few weeks ago. It will finish, or at least this phase of it will, when I go on my last first date.

"How can I build a harem?" -- The eHarmony Blog (7/18/06) (Note it was a humorous question.)

Mental Note: Do not consider the stages of the eHarmony communication process as elimination rounds. View them as getting to know the person. Learn from them, do not reject for them.

No closing here. Move along.