One reporter embarks on anthropological project to discover the secrets of Eharmony.com
By Melanie Chupein, Co-Editor in Chief
Intrigued by this cultural phenomenon that just seemed too good to be true, I decided to take the plunge and engage in a strictly scientific investigation of the world of online dating through eHarmony.
I have had family use the service, and the commercials are everywhere, boasting that eHarmony really works. According to its website, on average 90 eHarmony members get married every single day. With odds like that, why not try it out and take the first step by filling out your personality profile, a $40 value that the site offers for free.
I spent a good chunk of time filling out the Relationship Questionnaire, which consisted of 436 questions. I was asked about anything and everything, ranging from wanting children, to smoking, to how far I’m willing to travel for a relationship, to how religious I am to details about the spectrum of my personality.
Once you complete the questionnaire, a report about your personality is available. It describes what type of person you are and how others perceive you in both negative and positive ways. After reading your report, you have the ability to take a look at the matches that the site deemed most compatible.
Unfortunately, the benefits of filling out the free personality profile end here. You can browse the profiles of the matches that come up but you can’t see their pictures. And let’s face it; despite our best intentions of not being superficial and repeatedly insisting that a good personality is the most important quality, seeing a photograph of your match is necessary.
So I got out my credit card and paid the $59.95 for a one-month subscription to eHarmony. This gave me the key to a whole other dimension of online dating.
And I’m not going to lie to you, this brought out a little bit of the shallow side of my personality. The matches I got fell in the age range of 21-30, which I had specified in the questionnaire. But I just died laughing at some of them who claimed to be one age but clearly looked 40 or older. Also, the pictures people put up of themselves are often laughable. My favorite is the guys who put up pictures of them with old girlfriends.
Plus, some people are way too honest about themselves. In their profiles they include information saying that they are often misunderstood because of their sarcasm or they remain cryptic by making you request to see a photo and only include a limited amount of personal information. Still others have a terrible time spelling things correctly and they list oxygen as something they can’t live without (Insightful, right?)
As I was perusing my matches one day, senior Maria Lathroum walked in the room and being the English major that she is made an analogy between online dating and online shopping. I couldn’t agree more. Using an online dating service like eHarmony allows you to look at matches and read all about them before deciding whether to make contact, which is very similar to the process of buying something online.
I showed my friends my profile and matches, which eHarmony emails me practically every day with new guys who are supposedly the perfect match. So each day I am bombarded with possible Mr. Rights, who are waiting to be judged and contacted.
Despite all the hype around the credibility and reputation of eHarmony, there is a down side. I had one friend, who shall remain nameless, who filled out the free questionnaire and was rejected because eHarmony said that she wasn’t compatible with enough people to let her through. The website quotes Newsweek as saying, “No Company Screens Its Members More Rigorously.” And it’s true. So not only have you had to get the courage to sign up for online dating, which still has a bit of stigma, but now you’re being told that there’s no one out there for you. Comforting, right?
In my experience I have found that the key to achieving success on eHarmony is to fit the mold of being a heterosexual, white Christian. Having marked myself as not being affiliated with a religion and not spiritual, I haven’t found many potential guys since the vast majority of them call themselves Christian.
I haven’t exactly found Prince Charming but the pessimist (or realist as I like to call it) in me tells me that eHarmony isn’t the best way to make some fairy tale come true. I believe that if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. So this Valentine’s Day if you find yourself single and lonely, surround yourself with friends and just be thankful that you don’t have to break the bank for a significant other. And if that doesn’t do it for you, venture onto eHarmony or any other online dating site like Match.com or Chemistry.com, fill out your free profile and explore your options.