Confession: I’ve been on at least five different dating websites since I moved to Raleigh. I only do them when they’re free, though, because I am both cheap and extremely skeptical that I will find anyone decent on them. And as we all know, this skepticism is not unfounded, and really, why would I want to pay for such an experience?
Match.com is just sort of overwhelming, and if you don’t get any takers, you get to feel rejected and worthless without ever leaving the house. Plenty of Fish is equally overwhelming, and although you’re guaranteed to receive plenty of emails, they are from generally illiterate gentleman who are possibly prone to methamphetamine abuse. JC Match…I’ll give you a minute to let that one sink in…JC Match might be just fine except for there are only about eight people on it in the entire state of North Carolina. And I don’t think there are any in Italy.
Now, eHarmony had one of its free communication weekends this holiday weekend, so of course I participated (cheap, remember?), and while I believe eHarmony to be far superior to the other sites in terms of security and manageability, it does have one major flaw: It makes almost everyone seem completely normal and promising. I mean really, you have to be totally off the charts to come off as even the slightest bit insane on eHarmony, and I honestly don’t know how they do it, but I think it has something to do with the kinds of questions they ask.
eHarmony asks things like, “What is the first thing people notice about you?” and “What do you like to do in your leisure time?” Even when you start going through the “guided communication” process, you still ask questions like, “How would you describe your personal style?”
But as much as I enjoy learning about people’s personal styles, I’ve found that most guys don’t know how to describe theirs. And furthermore, who cares? It’s fascinating to find about people for sure, and it’s even interesting to see how people go about describing themselves, but I’d rather get to know someone through their likes, dislikes and opinions. Obviously if you ask someone to describe him/herself on a dating site, you’re going to get the best, safest, most universally appealing description they can muster.
Ask someone to describe a typical workday, though, or to tell you what’s currently in their CD player, and you’ll get a different person altogether. So I think we should cut to the chase. The scientific matching…fine. Whatever. Keep it if you want, but if I ran my own dating site, I would want to know the answers to some more interesting questions.
- So…why do YOU think you’re still single?
- Do you live alone? Why/why not?
- How many roommates have you had? How did you get along?
- What’s in your CD player/on your playlist right now?
- Please describe your curtains.
- What are you top 5 favorite movies or books?
- Do you subscribe to any magazines? If so, which one(s)?
- Tell me about the best road trip you’ve ever taken.
- What was the last thing you cooked (actually cooked, not microwaved)?
- Tell me about someone in your family.
- What do you think marriage should look like?
Ok. I think that within three emails with these questions and any subsequent conversation that comes out of them, I can determine whether or not I want to continue talking to a guy. So MY dating site would allow you to get right down to the business of asking questions. Then, after five emails (because maybe not everybody’s as fast as me), you would have a choice – to continue emailing or to close the match. After ten more emails, the site would just cut off your communication entirely, having determined that you’d either exchanged real email addresses by that point, or someone is stalking.
ALSO, everyone who wants to be on my dating site has to take a literacy test, and part of the terms of service would say that “txtspk” is not allowed. Anyone caught using “u” instead of “you” will be cast out immediately. And that’s the terminology we’ll use: “cast out.”
So there you have it. Anyone interested in my dating site can feel free to steal my getting-to-know-you questions. But until I get my patented email cut-off/cast-out system going, I can’t help you if you get any illiterate meth addicts.