Thursday, January 20, 2005

COLUMN: E-harmony.Tom

Today we welcome you to Episode #9126 of Shane Feeling Sorry For Himself About Being Single. This week's episode takes place in our hero's lonely apartment, after a night of being so lazy that he didn't change the channel on HBO, instead opting to watch a CRCSSB (Cheezy Romantic Comedy Starring Sandra Bullock,) which invariably results in a rather pathetic pity party afterwards.

These are the moments that try one's soul. Or at least make one's soul do really, really stupid things. Coincidentally, that's the same moment that I decided to place an online personal ad.

This wasn't my first romp with online personals. I tried it a couple years ago -- and in those two years, I've now received a whopping two responses to my ad. One was a girl in Cedar Rapids, who thought I sounded like her ideal mate. I went to her website -- yep, she was a witch. And I don't just mean she was ugly and scary -- she was an ACTUAL witch, with a website complete on spell casting, her favorite chants, and poetry that went, "acid rain falls upon the dark walls that surround my blackened heart," etc., etc. Yep, we were soulmates, alrighty. The OTHER response? It was from a guy... who thought I'd be the perfect match for the sister of his mail-order bride, who also desperately sought to leave Thirdworldistan to come to America.

In other words, I should've known better. But I heard an ad for this new service (let's just say it rhymes with "eHarmony.tom.") This site is a little different than the others. Before you can join, you have to submit to a personality profile, then the site matches you ONLY to people that match your personality. And who says there's no such thing as Love at First Mathematically Calculated Shared Trait?

So I took their little personality profile. Except that it wasn't little. Rather, it was an Undertaking with a capital U. 45 minutes later (no joke,) I had completed the questionnaire -- hundreds of ridiculous questions, most of which consisted of statements that you had to specify whether you really agreed or kinda agreed or disagreed or didn't care one bit.

Surely no one answers these things truthfully. "I have a high desire for sexual activity" was one of the statements. Well, sure, but if I admit to that, I'm gonna get matched with Dr. Ruth. "I like to look at people of the opposite sex" was another. Heck yes I do, but I shouldn't own up to it unless I want to come off like a leering pervert, right?

But I decided to try the honest approach and answer every question truthfully, ethics be darned. Do I like to look at people of the opposite sex? You betcha. True or false: "I am often jealous of other people's possessions." Fine, I'm a materialistic pig, I'll admit it. But at the same time, I stressed my good characteristics, too. Yes, I like to make people laugh. Yes, I consider myself creative. Err, yes, I suppose I do like astronomy (always a VITAL question to contemplate when picking out a soulmate...?)

So on and on I went, being completely honest and giving the most detailed description of my innermost mind that I could. Upon completion of the survey, I felt... hopeful. Hopeful that within hours, I would be matched up with my dream girl. Maybe someone with the looks of Katie Holmes, the creativity of Bjork, and the sheer intelligence of Leader editor Michael Romkey (hey, it never hurts to suck up to management.)

The next day I was frighteningly giddy to get home from work and check out my matches. While I was at work, the website was busy pairing me with my ideal personality matches not just in the Midwest, but all over the globe. I found myself fantasizing at work that day. Perhaps my soulmate was in Belgium... or Djibouti... or Silvis. Who could tell?

I got home and threw myself in front of the computer... and was greeted with this message: "We have matched your personality profile against our database of global users. At this point, we have been unable to find a user who matches your personality." NO ONE? IN THE ENTIRE WORLD?

Pooooooooooooof. I mean, I've always known that I was a weirdo. Now I had concrete proof of it.

Not only did the website deflate my dreams, it then had the nerve to tell me that I shouldn't look at this as a negative. Instead I should "take pride in discovering just what a unique individual I am." Swell... I'm a "special" little guy.

So online dating's not for me. Not that I deleted my accounts, 'cause I guess you never know. The personal ads are still up there... and eHarmony is still trying to match me with my personality soulmate. Go there and take the profile -- maybe we'll be hooked up and can commence with a scandalous cyber-liaison. You'd just better like astronomy.


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COLUMN: E-harmony.Tom

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COLUMN: E-harmony.Tom

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