Monday, February 25, 2008

Just the Cons of Online Dating, or My Toxic Love Affair With Los Angeles

So Valentine's Day is over (thank you Jesus), but similar to the effects of the atom bomb, the fallout is still killing people.

Not me, obviously. I'm totally happy and well adjusted. I meant other people...

Can any of us remember Hiroshima? Likely not, but I do remember the last 2 weeks of AP History like it was yesterday, and I can recall learning that the worst part of the bomb wasn't the the explosion itself, but the radiation related illness that pretty much ruined peoples' lives for decades to follow.

Well, if cell mutation and subsequent tissue degeneration killed the Japanese, eHarmony is the post-Valentine's day radiation poison that is killing Americans.

You've seen those damn catchy commercials... The "regular" folks* who found a way to finally take a bite of the carrot we're all chasing. They make kissy faces at each other while Natalie Cole sings an uplifting, piano driven song I know for a fact appeared in Lindsay Lohan's version of The Parent Trap. I can't be the only one who noticed this. This fact alone should turn about a million people away from the site. Lindsay Lohan is like Satan's good luck charm. Anything even distantly related to that train-wreck of a harlot is a giant, blinking neon warning sign.

Come on eHarmony. How dumb do you think America is?

Please don't answer that...

Trouble is, despite how annoying and life-sucking those commercials are, they offer the promise of the New American Dream, or what we think we're all entitled to, which is no longer a house, 2.5 kids, and a pension. Nowadays el numero uno seems to be a healthy relationship.** I mean, even I, the very picture of how singlehood gives us strength, fall victim to their web of lies.

Yes, even the mighty do fall...

So part of this year's V-Day aftermath (get it - sounds like D-Day!) was a piqued interest in what the world of online dating actually has to offer. Since living in LA can more or less be equated to eating, breathing, and sleeping alone every night in a large cave made of concrete and empty In-N-Out boxes, and like the rest of my generation I have what some would call a juvenile sense of entitlement, I took it upon myself to do a little research project to examine the potential benefits and pitfalls of eHarmony.

I won't bore you with the details of how the poorly thought-out mechanics of eHarmony work. But to summarize, somehow Cupid's little minions running site manage to get you to bare your soul to a cyber-sea full of strangers with the unrealistic expectation that everyone is actually telling the truth. Instead of going off on an angry tangent here, I will share with you what I learned from my short lived experience poking around on eHarmony.

I concluded that despite the fact (if you can call it a fact) that perhaps there are Pros to eHarmony and some people do find "true love" on the internet there are some very real Cons every person must face who joins eHarmony:

Con #1 to Joining eHarmony: You've just joined eHarmony.

Congratulations, you've just admitted that you are dissatisfied with your life.

Con #2 to Joining eHarmony: There is no place for real honesty on eHarmony.

The multiple choice format of the initial questions one sends to one potential date offers little to no room for a legitimate peek into the soul's window. How the eff am I supposed to know how many kids I'm gonna want to have? 1? 2? 8? There's no multiple choice answer that says "It depends on how fat I get after the first one."

Con #3 to Joining eHarmony: You will receive an influx of emails that resemble spam.

Most of us got gmail not only for the ease and convenience of its inbox's conversational format, but also for its exceptional spam blocker. If it's hard enough to resist purchasing "$uper! Che@p VIAGRA Direct TO Your housE!!" then you know it's just going to be a gigantic waste of time when you find yourself sitting at work browsing email after email from other single-and-desperate-but-interested-in-you people. That is, assuming your really honest profile - or let's face it, your profile picture - generates any significant interest.

Con #4 to Joining eHarmony: What happens if you are matched with someone you already know?

Really though... what happens? You're cruising for dudes (or chicks...whatever, I don't judge) one night when suddenly you realize that your trusty Internet matchmaker has set you up with like, your friend's roommate. Instantly your cover is blown! The cat's out of the bag! That person, whether they were destined to be your true love or not, now knows your dirty little secret and you've just jeopardized your reputation as everyone's favorite single-and-loving-it friend. To clarify, that secret would be the fact that you are online dating. Why would you ever tell anyone?...

I could go on, but the list would get muddy with me waxing bittersophical, so I'll spare you. I have no plans to join eHarmony, not even under an alias, which means that any dating I do will have to come about organically. So as far as meeting me online, well, you can just forget about that.

Bottom line: When it comes to online dating with eHarmony, I think does more eHarm than good.

*I know what you're thinking. Don't be ashamed, you can think it. I really meant the "ugly" folks.

**Take a look around... no one's relationship is healthy.


*Ryan* said...

I have some thoughts here Lisa:

Love the post Lisa!(how's that for irony)

First, Natalie Cole>Parent Trap>Lindsay Lohan...kind of a stretch. you could link any song to something slightly negative. Plus, I would have to bet that LL gets quite a bit of ass. Just sayin.

I WOULD say that the online dating sites are best suited for middle-aged and single crowd. Because at that point, all the cons you stated are simply given. However my mom is on that shit and she pretty much has/feels the same way you do.

For that crowd, I would suggest this site:

RichterSauce said...

wait a're not "single and loving it"?! boy, you sure have had me confused!

(**love you ziner**)

TheTOB said...

I had a lot of thoughts when I initially read this the other day. Let me re-read.

1. The last few weeks (for me) of AP Euro History was freaking awesome. I was in Tahoe, and we didn't get out of school until mid to late June. No joke. So we took the AP test at the same time, and then had like 6 weeks. I don't remember much...except we watched this awesome Japanimation about the bombings. I mean, it's a sad fucking thing. But if you make japanimation of a dog about to catch a ball and he freezes in mid-air and then disintegrates when the bomb hits...I'm gonna laugh. I just am.

b. I've never done any sort of online dating thing, either. And I don't think I would. Mainly, because like you said...your friends would mock you endlessly. "There IS a stigma. That's why everyone always says, 'There isn't a stigma anymore.'" But I's probably a hell of a lot easier to get to know someone via email and phone than meeting them drunk in a loud bar. I've gotten to know friends of friends online before and I got to know them a lot better than the original friend, in many cases.

iii. "Con #1 to Joining eHarmony: You've just joined eHarmony.

Congratulations, you've just admitted that you are dissatisfied with your life."

--Oh, come on! Who isn't!?

P.S. Don't think for one second I didn't go immediately go to Ryan's link.