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


“Little Cat B (the Tale of the Engine Light)”

Thursday, 12 March, 11:48 a.m. – The engine light comes on in my Chevy Equinox.

Thursday, 12 March, 11:49 a.m. – I say a very bad swear.

Thursday, 12 March, 12:07 p.m. – I pull into the AutoZone where “Roy” plugs his “majigger” into my “kerswilly.”

Thursday, 12 March, 12:15 p.m. – Roy and I are married in a civil ceremony

Thursday, 12 March, 12:16 p.m. – I’m kidding! Roy gives me a code.

Thursday, 12 March, 12:17 p.m. – And also The Clap.

Thursday, 12 March, 12:18 p.m. – I’m kidding! Hardly anybody applauded.


Friday, 13 March – I take my car to Belle Tire where a tech plugs his own majigger into my kerswilly. He does not charge me for the privilege of verifying that I do, indeed, have “a code,” but further detail will cost me “a child.” He narrows the problem down to cats.

Friday, 13 March – I call my local Chevy dealer to find out whether my old catalytic converter is still under warranty.

Friday, 13 March – It is not.

Friday, 13 March – HAHA!


Saturday, 14 March – I write a note to Chevy Customer Care and plead mercy. (The catalytic converters [there are two – Cat 1 and Cat B, I think] are 2,000 miles out of warranty.) I beseech Chevy Customer Care for help. I hardly use any swears.

Saturday, 14 March – They write back to me.

Saturday, 14 March – Chevy Customer Care and I are married in a civil ceremony.

Saturday, 14 March – I’m kidding! They say “maybe.”


Monday, 16 March – I call my local Chevy Dealer and ask them about my cats. “Stan” tells me to bring my kerswilly down to the shop where he will plug in his… I stop him and tell him I am sore. We agree that this joke has been played out.

Tuesday, 17 March – The engine light shuts off. The gas mileage shoots up to where it was before the decay. God laughs.

Friday, 20 March – I take my car into the Chevy Dealer where Stan tells me that my cat is in bad shape. I slap him.

Friday, 20 March – Stan and I are married in a civil ceremony.


Coda: Nothing has actually been repaired yet, although my kerswilly has been majiggered three times in the last eight days. The Chevy Dealer has ordered me a new Cat B. This shiny and much younger (probably) replacement part will be delivered and installed sometime next week for $250 instead of the original estimate of a Brazilian dollars$, due all or in part to my whining on Chevy Customer Care’s public Facebook page, using polite (honey-coated) words and hardly any inflammatory (vinegar) blames.

Stay tuned for next week’s exciting conclusion where I thrust my vehicle repeatedly into a service tunnel, and then broadcast the turgid victory of my euphemism.

Now don’t ask me any more questions. I need a nap. Somebody hold me.


Erin Waugh, 20 March 2015

“True Stories Told in the Key of E-flat”

“The Boob Nurse”

Back when boobs mattered, I visited a doctor.

Let me explain: a thousand years ago I had a job – a job that provided health insurance. (What a charming trifle that was!). Anyway, I was visiting a doctor for some routine girl-thing (remember that quaint curtsy?), and the doctor found a small lump. On my thyroid.

The thyroid is a gland at the front of your throat. It sits just underneath the larynx, and its main job is to frighten you into thinking you’re going to die. If a doctor roots around in your junk long enough, he will find a lump. Give a physician enough time and a solid reach, and he will find a bulge on SOMETHING. And this guy had a good six inches on me. (Rimshot!) I’m kidding. Where was I…

Anyway, this First Lump doc sent me to a Second Lump doc, an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in paying off their student loans, so they absolutely adore insured women with shit in their throats.

I walked into Second Lump’s office with what we called in those days “a referral” which we carried in “on paper” that we had “impaled upon the end of our spears.” I’m kidding! Women weren’t allowed to carry spears until Britney. (Oops! I did it again.)

I waited in the lobby for a season. Finally I was called into an intake room by a nurse. Or a nurse’s assistant. Or a troll of some sort with a stethoscope around her neck and a death wish over her head, apparently. See, here’s what happened: this Second Lump triage nurse weighed me, measured me, and took my blood pressure. She peered over her glasses at my chart, looked me up and down, and said “So you’re here to follow up after your mastectomy?”

I glanced at my smooth sweater and said, “No, I’m here because you’re a retard. “ Then I hit her with my penis.

No I didn’t. I stabbed her with my Britney spears.

Nah. What I actually did (because this really happened) is went dry-mouthed and pathetic for the space of about two beats. I pointed weakly at my throat. I began to stutter. Then I straightened up all 5-foot-9 inches, 125 pounds of me (I know because it was on the chart), and said, “I hope your children survive the chlamydia you gave them.”

Actually, I have no idea what happened next because I’ve blocked out everything after the S.W.A.T. team arrived.

The point is, I’m fabulous, and so are my boobs. Two perfect miniatures, unscarred and arrogant. They are twin heroic effigies of a life lived upright against the relentless pull of both gravity and scorn. Perky. (Yeah, I said it.)

Also, the lump was nothing. Kind of like that intake nurse. I bet her burning and itching are almost gone.


Erin Waugh, True Stories in the Key of E-Flat

5 March 2015