I pull up the eHarmony website. I fill out what feels like the same survey that I filled out on LoveAndSeek.com, but eHarmony is going to “analyze” my answers and “scientifically” match me with people who are “compatible” with my “personality.” I just hope that I don’t end up with a “man” in “air quotes.”
The questionnaire is long, but I’m sure it’s worth it because “each compatible match is pre-screened across 29 dimensions.” I hum through 29 keys of “I Love Technology” and answer their questions. eHarmony offers declarative statements for me to evaluate like “I work better if people follow my lead.” I answer “strongly agree” only because there’s no option for “fuck, yeah.”
29 coffees later, I finish the questionnaire, and now eHarmony wants my money for the privilege of using their science. Holy romance on a printing press – why is love so expensive? For one month’s worth of eHarmony matches I could buy a bushel of zucchini and all three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. But, this is science! So I agree to their usury and give them my credit card number. I submit my data, my pics, and my “personality.” I’m kind of excited. Who will the passion geeks pair me up with? Johnny Depp? Dave Barry? Neil DeGrasse Tyson? The anticipation gives me a small girl hard-on. I hit ENTER, sit back, and wait for the matches to roll in.
And I wait. And I wait some more. One day, two days go by. I’m imagining some massive Cray computer in Texas just churning away, rejecting applicant after applicant. Angry white lab coats whipping scraps of paper to the floor. “No! He’s not good enough for her. Have you seen her thighs? Try again!”
Finally, three days later, I receive an email telling me to log back on to eHarmony.
Congratulations! Chris from Lake Orion, Michigan, has reviewed your basic information and would like to start the process of getting to know you better.
Hot damn. Let the science begin!
I log on to see my new match. The eHarmony nerds must be really good, because Chris lives right here in Lake Orion, my home town, Where Living is a Vacation. (It says so on the sign.)
I read his bio. Chris is a Christian man, about my age, about my height, and he does not smoke. A great beginning! I pull up his picture; there is only one. (I sent in 29.) It’s a close-up of a rather large, rather round head. The head has a lot less hair than I’d like, and the eyes are sort of crooked and half-closed. Maybe it’s just a bad pic? Not everybody adores the lens like I do. I press on. This is science.
Christopher passionate about:
Relating to others, their opinions, staying healthy and being there for family and friends.
Okay. Generic and uninspired, but not offensive. I’m very fond of health.
Chris’s friends describe him as:
Affectionate, easy-going, a good listener, optimistic.
Boring, but it would be refreshing to meet someone who’s not a walking stress fracture.
The most important thing Christopher is looking for in a person is: Being a Christian! I need truth and honesty, love and respect, but NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE SO DON’T EVEN ASK!!
Whoa. Women must be all over this dude for him to write it in all caps like that.
The first thing you’ll notice about Christopher when you meet him is: My smile, laughter, and jovial good humor.
Excellent! Make me laugh, dammit. MAKE ME LAUGH!!
Some additional information Christopher wanted you to know is:
I do not have a “victim mentality,”
but my health may concern some women.
Well, okay. Maybe this is no big deal. After all, Farmer Bob from LoveAndSeek had a reconstructed esophagus, but it didn’t impede his ability to swallow my tongue. What little imperfection do you have, Chris?
I am on disability, unemployed, and my peripheral vision is shot.
Wait… what…? Not even hair and a job?
I have recently been declared “legally blind.”
But… how are you even typing this…?
I am a double amputee below the knees. I had a triple bypass in ’97 and a kidney/pancreas transplant in ’99.
No. This is…No. I’m being pranked. This is who the scientific ass-punks of eHarmony think is my ideal mate?? An overweight, unemployed bald man who can’t see, can’t walk, and can’t breathe?
I just had a stent put in my heart where there was 90% occlusion, and alas, my weight has crept up as the skin on the stumps break down when I exercise. I have no kids, I have never been married.
A man with someone else’s kidney but his own bloody stumps? What. The. Science.
I sip my coffee to recover my composure. I push my chair back from the desk and stretch my legs (I have legs!), and I accidentally run the caster over my purse reminding me that… THEY CHARGED ME FOR THIS MISTER POTATO HEAD!!
An ideal mate for me? Me, who takes her dog out running every day? Me, who puts an unnaturally high value on hair and the outdoors and the ability to create one’s own urine?
And hold on one more god-fearing minute there, FrankenStumpy. “The first thing you’ll notice about Christopher is his smile?” Not his mother-fucking wheelchair??
And did he really yell in ALL CAPS that there would be no sex before marriage? Has this been a serious problem for you, Short Pants? Not trying to be mean, but rooting around in the untrimmed cleft between Colonel Sanders’ white meats searching for your raggedy pope’s nose sounds like… Okay, I’m mean.
Dammit, eHarmony… This FAIL is so loud it hurts my ears. I am deafened by eDissonance.
Screw this. I turn off the lights and turn on Captain Jack Sparrow. Bring me some veggies.
From the chapter “Why Do I Need a Man Anyway?”
“eDissonance” by Erin Waugh