I admit it. I'm old fashioned. Back in my prowling-for-men days, I used basic methods: school, work, bars, parties, friends of friends. This system, at least for me, worked just fine. I saw a guy, I liked a guy, I dated a guy. Problem solved.
Lately, however, it seems you can't turn on any form of media without being bombarded with online dating services promising eternal love. For kicks, I googled a few today. Here are some of the top finds, and their tag lines:
Match.com (It's free to look!)
Chemistry.com (Find chemistry now!)
Zoosk.com (Discover your match!)
Singlesnet.com (Online dating made easy!)
LoveAndSeek.com (Start a meaningful relationship today!)
Date.com (Don't let love pass you by!)
PerfectMatch.com (Discover the PerfectMatch difference!)
And the one with maybe the funniest name:
Plentyoffish.com (Sign up now and find your soul mate!)
A well-known online dating service, eHarmony.com (Love is there, we can help you find it!), has been around for quite awhile. In fact some years back I decided to check it out. I sat myself down at the computer and filled out their rather comprehensive application form that included questions about age, education, marital status, desire for children, appearance, religion, hobbies, and social behavior. This was not a short process. I carefully considered and answered questions honestly on page after page after page. There were at least five sections that I can remember asking me to describe myself by checking off words like stylish, attractive, athletic, overweight, plain, healthy, sexy, generous, under-achiever, sensitive, content, spontaneous, witty, loyal, compassionate, intelligent, frugal, stable, spiritual, and so on. They wanted to know if I often left a messy room, am I satisfied with my appearance, do I feel unable to deal with things, do I get stressed out, do I make others feel good. There were 22 possible religious denominations from which to choose and a dozen or so ethnic options. They wanted to know what I do for a living, how much money I make, how tall I am, and how important all of these features are relative to a partner, who I imagined sitting out there in the void at his computer, waiting to hear from me. After what had to be several hundred mouse clicks I checked the status and saw my application was only 36% complete. IRS forms are less complicated.
But I persevered. After three ignored phone calls, a developing eye twitch, and an hour and a half of my life I'd never get back, I proudly pressed the submit button, put hands on hips, tapped toe, and waited. The cursor spun. The blinking screen message said "processing." Finally, the answer to "Love is there, we can help you find it!" appeared.
WE'RE SORRY. THERE IS NO ONE IN OUR DATABASE WHO IS A MATCH FOR YOU.
I've told many people this tragic and frankly preposterous tale and most don't believe me. The problem with my application? I told the truth. I didn't say I was a 6-foot tall model with cascading blonde hair and cornflower blue eyes. I didn't say I was a size zero with a double-D bra. I didn't say I was 29 and a brain surgeon, a job I could blend perfectly with my life as a devoted wife and mother, and I most certainly did not say that I would like to have many more children who I could guarantee would not interfere with spreading rose petals on the bed and meeting my man at the door with a martini. What I did say was that I was an intelligent middle-aged women with a couple of bucks in the bank and a good sense of humor who could look okay when she worked at it but who would never wear a bikini again. Oh yeah...and I said I like pets.
Yes. I am old fashioned, and am thereby questioning this new system for finding love.
Memo to me: If I ever get back on the prowling circuit, and if and when I ever fill out another application for an online dating service, I'll lie. Then I'll walk out the door and head for the local pub, which has no database and where I just might find a guy who thinks a witty, non-thong-wearing pet-lover is enough to at least start a conversation.