Online Dating: My year-long trek into the Twilight Zone

Last June, my 25th birthday looming over me like the Relationship Grim Reaper, I made the decision to try something I said I’d never do – online dating
I believed, and still do actually, that it is nearly impossible to find a decent guy out there anymore, let alone one who is interested in ME. I had been single for years with no prospects even, so the logical next step was to search the globe using the internet to find that special someone…if he existed.

So I spent literally ALL day on the couch with my laptop answering seemingly endless personality and compatibility questions, explaining who I am to the best of my ability, in hopes that someone would take interest and want to know more. The tricky thing was figuring out how much to share. The obligatory age, location, occupation were a given. Obviously you use discretion when disclosing certain information on the internet. eHarmony does not show people’s last names, so there is a certain safeguard in that no one can find out any more information about you than you wish to share. So then here’s the question: How much do you share with a perfect stranger? What is appropriate to put on your dating profile, the first look anyone has into who you are. Do you lay it all on the line or just be vague? There was my problem and why it took me all day to complete my profile. I analyzed and over-analyzed, perfecting my answers to the long response questions so that when a guy saw my profile, he knew what he was getting into. I was perfectly honest about my beliefs about marriage, my faith in Jesus Christ, and my desire to be a mother. I made it clear that I was looking to be in a serious relationship heading toward marriage. I didn’t want to play any games, and I didn’t want to waste my time. I also described my ideal man, what I expected and what I would and wouldn’t compromise on. I explained I was looking for a man to be the leader of my household, a real follower of Christ seeking to lovingly lead his family; Someone who wants to be a father as much as I want to be a mother; someone who values marriage and is committed to working through problems instead of running away from them. I want someone to be my best friend, so that when the “in love” feeling goes away we can still walk together until it returns.

Looking back, I can see how all of that information up front might deter someone from contacting me. I can seem intimidating and intense. I probably shouldn’t have said as much as I did, but I don’t regret it. I was open and honest about who I am. If someone can’t handle it, he isn’t the person for me.

Here is how eHarmony works:

1. You answer an innumerable amount of questions that somehow determine your “compatibility” with a mate.
2. You answer questions in paragraph form to explain further about yourself.
3. You upload pictures.
4. You are sent approximately 5-10 “matches” per day.

Pause. I like this about eHarmony because it limits the number of bozos looking at my profile. It assures that only the people I am matched with (according to the results obtained from the bajillion questions I answered) can see my profile. It also means that I can only see the profiles of the men I am supposedly compatible with. That is why it is so important to answer those compatibility questions with complete honesty. It is those questions that determine everything. Resume.

5. You view your matches and are given three options:  A. Send an icebreaker. This is a list of cute, albeit stupid, things to choose from. (For example: Your profile brought a smile to my face!) B. Send a message. C. Archive/Close match.
6. You choose to communicate with whatever match/matches you’d like.

Say you’ve chosen to send someone a message. eHarmony uses what they call “guided communication” on their site to help move the process along. Basically it is a way to dig a little deeper without actually conversing with the person right away. This is another thing that I find very helpful, but I can also see why many people wouldn’t like it. You are guided through several “get to know you” steps with your matches and then if you choose to continue on, you can use eHarmony mail to email back and forth to that person.

I would like to tell you about my own experience over the past year. The good, the bad and the ugly. I want to reveal the things I’ve learned; some hilarious, some disturbing, and some of it is just downright sad. I hope you come away from this blog a little more aware of the image you project to the world, whether you are looking for a date or not.

I chose eHarmony because it has a good reputation and -lets be honest- because they were having a deal where I could get a year’s membership for three small payments of just over $25. I also figured that if people had PAID for this membership, they would take it more seriously than one of the free dating sites. But within the first week of my subscription, my eyes were opened to reality of the state of mind most men are in these days. And I can sum it up in one word: LAZINESS.
To be fair I have to add a disclaimer that not ALL guys fall into this category. But the lazy ones are by far the majority.

Many of the men I was matched with didn’t even take the time to fill out their entire profiles. Or if they did, gave short answers or lists instead of writing out real responses. I understand being short and to the point, but if you are asked what the ONE thing that you’re most passionate about is, don’t you think that opens doors for some dialogue? Here’s are some real life examples of the answers I encountered.

Top 10 things NOT to be passionate about:
10. “The abuse of women and children.” (I really hope this guy is passionately AGAINST the abuse of women and children, but he didn’t specify.
9. “The paranormal.” Um, ok.
8. “Video games.” You will not believe how many guys think this is ok to put as the ONE thing they are most passionate about. If you have no greater passion in life than video games, you have no business trying to find a girlfriend.
7. “Making my woman happy.” Wait, do you mean the woman you don’t have yet? Oh, ok.
6. “Being the best.”
5. ” The Walking Dead.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good zombie story as much as the next guy, but is it my greatest passion? Nope. I fear this guy either misread or misunderstood the question. Or at least I hope so.
4. “…kind of passionate about movies.” Kind of passionate? Are you kidding me? Passion is either something you have or you don’t. You can’t kind of be passionate any more than you can kind of be dead. And if the only passion you can muster up is for some movies…I don’t want to pursue this further.
3. “Almost having the chance to crowd surf on an inflatable raft at a concert.” I wish I was kidding about this one.
2. “I love having sex.” Well that’s…personal.
1. And I quote: “People being themselves and stuff….and knives.”

I wish I could say that the above responses were isolated events. The truth is that I had a harder time finding someone who was passionate about something normal like his job than I did finding one who was passionate about pizza or cats. It didn’t take long for me to begin using eHarmony mainly as a source of entertainment. And after my first real communication with someone backfired and broke my heart, I stopped looking for a husband altogether. eHarmony became a social experiment. The longer I researched, the more I realized that guys really must not know what women find attractive. The sad thing is that the majority of the guys I was matched with were probably good guys, but they didn’t stand a chance with me based solely off of the way they presented themselves. I’m actually considering starting a business to help create dating profiles for all the clueless men out there. So here are a few tips to the guys out there thinking of making a dating profile:

1. Be able to spell and use proper grammar! Or at least use spell check!!! Being an idiot is a turnoff. Just saying. So you if love to sing in the “quire”, you’ll be singing solo for quite some time.
2. Your pictures are the first look a girl gets at you! Make them good! No pictures with other women, even if it’s your sister! Or if it is your sister, then make sure you say so! No pictures holding a beer. I can’t tell whether you’re just having a cold one with some friends or if you’re an alcoholic based off of the 12 pictures you’re allowed on your profile, so be careful.
For the love, SMILE!!! I can’t stand to look at picture after picture of a guy making a serious face into the camera. It’s not attractive. And it makes you look like you don’t have any personality! And lastly, no mirror muscle shots! All that shows me is that you’re either really conceited or really self-conscious.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Make them count!
3. Don’t make yourself sound pathetic. I saw one guy’s profile that said “Just because I didn’t graduate high school don’t mean I’m dumb.” He went on to explain that he draws an SSI check. I’m sorry, but on what planet is that ok to tell someone on your first date, let alone on your dating PROFILE??
4. Be honest. If you’re just looking to date and aren’t ready for anything serious, then say so. I will respect you a lot more than someone who I waste a month talking to before I find that out.
5. Don’t be afraid to take initiative! Be the one who sends the first communication! Be up front about what you’re looking for and be intentional when you start talking to a girl. Don’t let the conversation stop at “Hi, how was your day?” Show interest in getting to actually know HER.

I am insanely picky, my friends can tell you. So, when I started this process, I came up with a way to evaluate the matches that was fool-proof. Three strikes and you’re OUT! I gave out strikes for anything from being too short or too young, to not mentioning God or Jesus in your profile. I handed them out left and right. Most guys didn’t make it past the initial paragraph of their profiles before they struck out. This may seem very superficial of me, but I know what I want! And I’m not going to waste my time.

I wish words could sum up my year-long venture into the great unknown of online dating, but they simply can’t. So for your visual enjoyment, I have selected some of my favorite shots of my least favored matches. All of these guys struck out rather quickly

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Who told him this was a good idea?

:

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If you’re looking for a girlfriend, don’t pose as a gay couple.

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HAIR

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And more hair.

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Wait…is that a fur vest??!?

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“Let me put on my robe so I can take a picture for my dating profile!”, said no self-respecting man ever.

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This guy is LOVING his life.

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Honestly, I don’t know that I want to know what is going on here…

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uhhhhhh….

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Over the top, anyone?

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Check out those muscles!

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“Typical bathroom selfie” of a serial killer. I cried when I saw that he viewed my profile.

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What church are you going to??

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Nope. Just…nope.

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No words required.

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That’s attractive.

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That’s right. He sayed it!

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So that’s my summary in pictures.
Here are a few of my favorite profile moments:

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I guess that might win some girl over…but not THIS girl.

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I am now aware of my tongue? When have I not been? I’m confused.

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The most influential person your life is your dad’s old girlfriend? And her name was Corky? And she’s dead maybe?

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“I should not be getting turned down!” That’s a bold statement, dude. Let me be the judge.

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“The beautiful girls that are all over the world.” Enough said.

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Ever heard of a little something called PUNCTUATION??

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“Quire” Yep. That just happened.

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A little too intense…

And the best of all ladies and gentlemen:

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A lesson in the difference between sex and making love apparently…?

My year on eharmony was terrible. I won’t lie. I was absolutely convinced that I was doomed to be single forever.

Top 5 Things I Learned on eHarmony:
1. Never trust a man named Andy.
2. People really do look like their dogs

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3. All Christian guys are looking for the “Proverbs 31 woman”. Good luck finding her.
4. About 95% of guys are engineers.
5. eHarmony actually DOES work.

 Wait. What?

By now, I’m sure you’re all thoroughly amused and also very sad that all of the men I was matched with were losers. I too was quite sad, when I started working on this post over a month ago. In fact, I was such a cynic that when a legitimate nice guy sent me a smile and some questions several weeks ago, I almost ignored him. Almost. Let’s just say I’m glad that I didn’t…but that’s a post for another time.

So stay tuned for the upcoming post about this guy:

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❤ ❤ ❤

.

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