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The Dating Dare: Intro

(This has grown into a series of entries, because it's not fair to ask you to read four pages of writing in one sitting. I know you won't, anyway. But this time, I've already written the whole series, so there won't be any surprise fake-outs and take-backs.)

One of the tried-and-true foundations of my friendship with Nadine is that when it comes to the world of dating advice and adventures, we've got each other's backs. This looks like a variety of things. Sometimes, it is being the confidante for confusion and heartache. Sometimes it is lending a helping hand (or word) in communicating with the mysterious male species. Sometimes it is giggling joyfully. And sometimes, it is daring each other to do crazy things.

I once told Nadine she should email and then go on a date with a man who approached her friend at a bar to ask if Nadine was single. And you know what? She did. I think I then helped her tell him she was uninterested in another date.

So when she dared me to go on eHarmony for the month, I had no reason to say no. Not only did I owe her a dating-dare, but I know several people who have met their spouses through the internet (including last weekend's delightful wedding!). Also, it was free.

Let me do a quick walk-through of how eHarmony works, for those of you who've never tried it. (I am guessing that more of you have than would readily you can just skim the rest of this post and eagerly wait for the next three.)

When you sign up for eHarmony, the first thing you do is an extensive personal assessment. I did this at Thanksgiving, when there was a free weekend and Nadine initially dared me to test the waters of web-based romance (conclusion: three days is not a long enough timeframe). You then choose a variety of personal preferences for matching – geographical restrictions, ethnicities, age, frequency of smoking, religion – and rate how important each factor is to you.

eHarmony gurus then interpret this data and match you with seemingly eligible individuals. These matches get delivered to you, and you click on a name to view their profile. From there, you are in control of your destiny.

Meanwhile, you fill out your own profile. The usual: height, occupation, age, city, etc...and a few other questions, including:

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What quality is most important to you in a match?
  • What three things are you most thankful for?
  • What five things can't you live without?
  • What else is important to know about you?
  • What do you like to do in your leisure time?
  • What was the last book you read and enjoyed?

You can also upload photos. As a non-paying member, I could not view photos. I am under the impression that this is a double standard, and that non-paying men can view photos of women. But I could be wrong.

And then, for the month of November, you communicate with your matches for free.

It's important to note that “free communication” only includes steps 1-3 of a 4 step process:

Five multiple choice questions from a list
Your 10 must haves & 10 can't stands
Three open-ended questions (from a list or create your own)
Secure & confidential email

So if you want to continue communicating with someone past the open-ended question, you have to sneak your email address into your answers. I say sneak, because rumour has it that eHarmony blocks email address exchanging, which makes sense. But is mega-easy to get around.

I should also explain this “must haves/can't stands” deal. A few years back, I read a book by eHarmony founder called, Date or Soulmate? and so was familiar with the concept. But basically, he encourages “the list.” That is, it is important to know what traits you need a potential partner to have, and what traits you cannot handle in a potential partner. The only catch is that NOTHING is assumed. NOTHING. Not personal hygiene, not fidelity, not punctuality or shared spirituality or communication styles. And you can only choose 10 of each category. Much more difficult. A good challenge to consider though, and one that will potentially keep you from getting romantically involved in a relationship that is doomed from the start.

There you have it. Eharmony in a nutshell.

Next up: Three things you ought not write on your online profile.


Mindy said…
I'm glad your online dating experience is a lot more exciting than mine, lol. Looking forward to reading more :)

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