By Nick Papa
“You’ll never guess what your sister did this time,” said my mom’s annoyed voice in a message left on my phone last spring.
That afternoon, my mom was perplexed upon finding an e-mail from an unknown sender.
“Hello, Diane — click here to view my eHarmony profile!” Confused, she clicked the link, which brought her to the eHarmony home page of “Diane-to-meet-ya” (meant to sound like dying to meet you when read aloud).
Yes, my witty sister had taken it upon herself to sign up Diane, our single mother, for an eHarmony profile.
An online dating site that has gained popularity since its founding in 2000 by long time psychologist Dr. Neal Clark Warren, eHarmony not only provides you with a profile but claims to match partners based on 29 dimensions of compatibility in the categories of character, personality and emotional makeup.
I have to question how well this system works, considering that of the six different men who left messages in Diane-to-meet-ya’s eHarmony inbox, none made the cut for the real Diane Papa.
Not wanting to base my personal opinion on the experiences of my mom, I signed up for an account under the pseudonym Alex Flyte: a six- foot-tall businessman from New York City, earning $80,000 to $120,000 a year and looking for a relationship but unable to find the time to go out and get one.
For the entire duration of my time on eHarmony, I was annoyed. Immediately after entering my name, I was asked to narrow down my matches by selecting from a list of “acceptable” ethnicities, income brackets and education levels.
The site proceeded to ask me with which religion(s) I identify, listing every single Christian denomination I have ever heard of and some I had not. I almost laughed when, of a list of over 50, I was asked to select the four terms which most applied to me.
After 10 minutes of endless surveys, my matches were generated.
Unless I describe physical appearances, or the fact that “Jane from Westchester” loves my favorite book, or “Caroline from Long Island” enjoys playing tennis and eating at my favorite Italian restaurant, there’s not much I could tell you about my matches.
Through the process, I felt like there was something creepy about trying to seek out a significant other on the Internet from dividing people into categories. Just because people have similar interests doesn’t mean they are compatible with one another, and physical appearance certainly means nothing without a good personality that compliments one’s own.
The eHarmony Web site claims their services are an $87 value, but I’ll tell you this: take that $87 and get a haircut, new outfit and good attitude.
The best relationships are those that develop naturally: not where one has forced or sought one out. Be yourself without conforming, and you will eventually find the person with whom you are meant to be.
According to the Christian Marriage and Family Dynamics textbook, 95 percent of all people will get married — so, unless it’s your choice not to marry, relax; it will happen naturally, without the Internet.