About Me

January 31, 2008

Why Does eHarmony Reject People?

Am I the last person on Earth to learn that eHarmony (http://www.eharmony.com) actually rejects people? Over a million people, to be specific. I assumed they just said that in order to make their service more desirable, on the theory that appearing to have higher standards would give them more of an allure. (Remember the immortal words of Groucho Marx: "I wouldn't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.”)

But a friend e-mailed me the other day and told me that HE – a nice, normal, interesting, creative single guy – got rejected. He forwarded me the eHarmony rejection message, which stated that they were unable to match him at this time, explaining:

“eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process. We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match. Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.”

Now keep in mind, I have received eHarmony matches who literally could not compose a sentence without typos in every other word, and they reject my friend, a perfectly normal, articulate, interesting, creative single guy? What gives? My friend had listed “atheist” under his religious views, and since eHarmony has a Christian bent (even though they don’t advertise it), my friend thought that’s probably why he was rejected. A few Internet searches on rejection by eHarmony turned up other atheists who also assumed that’s why they were turned down.

I did some further searching and found an article by Janet Kornblum in USA Today entitled “eHarmony: Heart and Soul,” which discusses how Neil Clark Warren, the psychologist who founded eHarmony, has a divinity degree, and several of his books were published by conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. Interestingly, Kornblum notes that Warren “started out marketing primarily to Christian sites, touting eHarmony as ‘based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family author Dr. Neil Clark Warren.’ The connection may come as a surprise to today's mainstream users: Nothing in Warren's TV or radio ads…hints at his Christian background.”

But now Warren is trying to distance himself from that and is promoting eHarmony in a secular way, because, in his words, "we're trying to reach the whole world — people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds.” Even people who can’t compose a coherent e-mail, if my experience is any indication!

But Kornblum goes on to state that “eHarmony does not reject on the basis of religion; it has atheists, agnostics and even Wiccans among customers, [Warren] says.” And apparently his patented Compatibility Matching System™ does NOT consist of printing out people's profiles, throwing them down the stairs,and pairing them up by how closely they landed next to each other, as I had suspected. Warren says his research has shown that a marriage has the greatest chance of thriving if the two people share at least ten of the 29 “areas of compatibility" that eHarmony matches you on.

Warren is very pro-marriage, so eHarmony is, too. He says that’s why he won’t match gay or lesbian people (which annoys me) – because they can’t legally get married. Even though so many of them want to.

I came across another interesting article from May 2007 in the Washinton Post, entitled “They Met Online, but Definitely Didn’t Click,” in which the author, Paul Farhi, explains the main reasons eHarmony rejects people. Apparently, 30% are rejected because they’re already married. Yes – MARRIED. If you already have such questionable ethics that you’re willing to cheat on your wife or husband on-line, why is being married the one thing you’re honest about!? Crazy.

27% of applicants are under 21, and 9% gave “inconsistent answers” within the 258-question application. Other reasons for being turned down include having been married MORE THAN FOUR TIMES before the age of 60 – I sort of perversely admire anyone who would own up to that -- and anyone who answers the questions in such a way that they seem to be clinically depressed. EHarmony and Dr. Warren claim that they don’t reject anyone on the basis of religion.

But since eHarmony is so pro-marriage, I’m beginning to wonder if they’re prejudiced against people who are divorced. Although I’ve only met or e-mailed with a few guys from eHarmony, none of them had been married before. And whereas on the other dating sites, they show you in the profile whether the person is never married, divorced or widowed, eHarmony doesn’t list that on anyone’s profile. So maybe if you seem to be a little depressed, for example, but have never been married, they’ll accept you. But if you’re a little depressed and are also divorced, that’s too much.

As soon as I get a chance in the next week or so, I’ll try registering as if I’m an atheist, and as if I’m divorced. I’ll let you know what happens!

Links to the articles mentioned in this post: http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-05-18-eharmony_x.htm



January 30, 2008

Match.com Saga 2: My Almost Perfect Almost-Boyfriend

The longest relationship I’ve had since ‘06 was with a guy I met on Match.com last year. I really, really, REALLY liked him and pretty much thought he was perfect. But since he broke up with me, I’ll have to call him Almost Perfect. Sigh.

Almost Perfect was a good writer, so even though it took him weeks to finally ask me out via e-mail, I didn’t mind. He lived relatively close to me in Brooklyn, enjoyed his job as a computer consultant (what else?), was interesting and funny, and gestured vaguely like a rapper when he spoke, even though he was white. After our first date we stopped at a bookstore where he showed me some of his favorite books. (I’m a sucker for a guy who reads). He said his mother was a poet. When I told him I write plays, he said, “I once spent a year reading nothing but plays!”

He loved jazz, and on our second date he gave me a CD he’d burned for me of his favorite jazz songs. That night he also told me about how, a few months after September 11th, he’d needed a break from New York and moved to Asia for two years, living right on the beach. “And I have a foster daughter there,” he added.

I want to adopt kids in a few years, so that definitely got my attention. “In Asia?” I asked, confused.

“Yeah.” He showed me the photo of an adorable six-year-old on his cell phone. “Her father’s white, and he left before she was even born. And her mother – “ he hesitated, then said, “ – her mother was murdered.”

“That’s horrible!” I said.

“Yeah. So she lives with her grandparents in this really rural area, and the school system is terrible,” he said. “When I left, some of my friends said I should raise her, bring her to the U.S. and enroll her in school here. But I couldn’t. I’m not her father. That would be kidnapping. But I go back twice a year to visit her and help out her family as much as I can.” Then he paused and said, “I’m sorry – I know this is a lot –“

“No, I think it’s great that you do that,” I said, and I meant it. But I can’t explain why I didn’t push him further on this topic. How had he met this little girl? What motivated him to take an 18-hour flight twice a year to see her? And why would his friends expect him to bring a kid he wasn’t related to back to the U.S. and raise her? Did I sense that it was an emotional subject? Or was I so mesmerized by his perfectness that it didn’t occur to me to ask?

We made it to a third date, then a fourth. As we went bowling at an alley downtown, he regaled me with tales of moving to the West Coast as a teenager to live with his dad, and how his father moved out after getting re-married, leaving Almost Perfect, then a high school senior, and his younger brother in the house by themselves. You know all those movies about high school kids going crazy when their parents go away? Almost Perfect LIVED it.

On my train ride home that night, I was completely befuddled. I really, really liked the guy, but he told so many bizarre stories I didn’t know what to believe. Was he even who he said he was? I hadn’t done an Internet search on him because he had a fairly common last name. But it occurred to me that his first name wasn’t that common, so when I got home that night, I turned on my computer and typed his name into Google.

The first headline that popped up was: “Canadian Man Appeals for Justice After Fiancée Is Murdered”

I gasped, clicked on the headline, and there was an article, complete with a photo of Almost Perfect’s foster daughter as a toddler, smiling as she hugged her mother, who had been murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend in 2004. She and Almost Perfect had met soon after he’d moved to Asia, lived together for over a year, and were ENGAGED when she died. I put my hand to my mouth, afraid I was going to throw up. There were other articles, and I clicked through them one by one. The most recent one was over a year old, in his hometown newspaper in Canada, and included an extensive interview with his mother the poet.

Everything he had told me was true.

Except that he’d never said a word about his dead fiancée.

I had no idea what to do. Should I tell him what I knew? Should I wait for him to tell me? For our next date, he invited me to his place for a dinner he’d cooked himself. He was so nervous he spilled red wine all over me, and in that moment I knew he liked me too. I decided not to say anything – let him tell me when he’s ready.

“You’re the first person I’ve ever had over to my apartment besides my family!” he said as he served the garlic bread.

Dread tightened my stomach. “Um – how long have you lived here, exactly?” I asked.

“A year and a half,” he said.

The words CAUTION: REBOUND ALERT! REBOUND ALERT! appeared above us in a bright red flashing cartoon bubble. No, not really. If only they they had – I might have avoided the heartache that followed. Instead, I thought desperately, “Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything -- I’m sure he’s had a girlfriend since his fiancée died! Maybe a woman who lived in Manhattan, so he spent every night at her place! Yeah, that’s it!”

Our second to last date was the essence of perfect. We went to dinner at a Thai restaurant, and I asked him how long his next trip to Asia would be. He said, “Well, usually I try to stay as long as possible, but SINCE I’M DATING YOU NOW (emphasis mine), I’m only going to stay a week.”

“Really?” I said, putting a hand to my heart – and he was in. I couldn’t have stopped liking him if I’d tried.

After dinner we went to the bookstore to see one of my friends do a reading of her brand new book of short stories, which was so much fun. Afterward, Almost Perfect said, “My brother and his wife were planning to go to this bar in Park Slope tonight. Would you like to go? Or would you be too nervous?”

“Why would I be nervous?”

“You know,” he said. “Sometimes meeting someone’s family for the first time can make people nervous.”

“I’d love to,” I said firmly.

We went to the bar, and I met his brother, who was just as perfect, and his equally perfect wife, and we picked out our favorite songs for the jukebox to play, and Almost Perfect held my hand under the table, and as his brother and sister-in-law left, they said they were so happy to meet me and looked forward to seeing me again, and then Almost Perfect leaned over and kissed me, then smiled and said, “I’ve been wanting to do that all night.”

See? I’m telling you. PERFECT.

As we said goodbye at the subway station, he asked if I wanted to get together Friday night, and I said I couldn’t because I was seeing a play with a friend. “What about Saturday?” I asked.
He got a strange look on his face and said, “I can’t Saturday.” He didn’t say why, and I didn’t ask, just suggested he come over for dinner on Sunday night instead.

When he arrived on Sunday, he said, “Do you have an Internet connection? I can show you my photos from Asia!” With every click, I grew more and more anxious, thinking, is this going to be a photo of his fiancée? Is this how he’s going to tell me? And what then? Do I act surprised, or do I confess that I’ve actually known for over a month?

Finally, I said, “I have to tell you something.”

“What?” he asked.

So I told him that I’d Googled him, and what I’d found out. He looked at me in utter surprise and said, “I thought you already knew.”


“No,” I said slowly, “how would I have known?”

“I thought I told you!” he said.

“You told me about your foster daughter, but you never said how you knew her.”

“Oh!” he said. “I’m sorry! Well. This is awkward.” And then he told me the whole story. About how he and his fiancée had been planning to move back to the U.S. and get married, and he was going to adopt her daughter. How they’d started fighting a lot. How, as they were having problems, an old boyfriend started calling her. How, when she mentioned going traveling and visiting said ex-boyfriend, Almost Perfect had encouraged her, thinking that if another guy was going to make her happier, then he should be strong and let her go. How she went to see the guy. How he murdered her and fled to his native Europe, where he’s still a free man.

“I feel guilty,” Almost Perfect said, “because I encouraged her to go see him. I used to do a lot of work on the case, trying to bring him to justice, but every time I did, it would bring me to a really dark place. I finally realized I could visit my foster daughter, I could help support her family, but I couldn’t work on the case anymore.”

So that was that. We finished looking at his photos. We started watching a movie. He kissed me. He kissed me again. We went a little further, but still very PG-13. And then, suddenly, he sat straight up, looked around and asked, “What time is it?”

It was late.

“I’d better go – I can’t be late for work tomorrow – my boss will yell at me.” And let me tell you, he could not get out of my apartment fast enough! He was already nearly out the door when I asked, “Do you have everything?”

“I think so,” he said quickly. “I’ve got my wallet, got my cell phone, think that’s it. I’ll see you!” A quick kiss on the cheek, and he was gone.

I did NOT have a good feeling about this.

He was always good about e-mailing me within 24 hours of seeing me. But he didn’t e-mail me Monday. He didn’t e-mail me Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon I couldn’t stand it anymore and e-mailed him. He responded saying he’d had a good time on Sunday but had felt like a pig afterward (?), and wondered if I could meet him for coffee that weekend so we could talk. He signed it, “Your friend (hopefully), Almost Perfect.”

I wrote back and said if he just wanted to be friends, tell me now, don’t make me wait until the weekend. And so he did:

“Yes, I just want to be friends. I had a great time dating you and I am grateful to you because you brought me out of a very dark place. But I don't want to commit to anyone right now and I have had the tendency to do that in the past. I had a wonderful time on Sunday and I will probably remember that night the rest of my life. The problem is, I don't have the heart to be intimate with you and then go out with other women the next day. But I want to continue to casually date until I am sure I have found the right match. I think the least painful thing to do is to break things off now, rather than later.
– Almost Perfect”

The next day, I wrote back:

“Oh boy. OK. Everything you said is completely understandable. As soon as those articles popped up on Google I began to worry that I was just your rebound person. Know, though, that you probably shouldn't introduce someone to your brother and sister-in-law, or make them think you are shortening your trip to Asia because you're dating them, unless you're truly sure about them. It's rare for me to actually like someone, but I really liked you, and your doing those things made me think that it was safe to like you and is making it hurt a lot more now.
I know I have some books of yours to return to you, but I need some time -- OK?
Friends, though....”

And he wrote back:

"You are extremely kind to respond to my email. I'm sorry that I hurt you, I did not mean to. I tried not to make promises but I know that introducing you to my family was an unspoken promise. I hope that one day you will not hate me and we can be friends. I think that you will find that I make a better friend than lover. Please keep the books if you can or give them away if you do not want them.
Sincerely, Almost Perfect”

And that was that. Except, he didn’t really mean it when he said he wanted to be friends, because a month later I e-mailed him asking how his trip to Asia had gone and if he wanted to go to a concert in Brooklyn later that week. He wrote back thanking me for the invitation but said he had to decline, because he had a date that night. Yeah. I got the hint after that.

My theory is that he’d met someone else he liked better. Remember how, when I asked him out for Saturday, he’d gotten that strange look on his face and said he couldn’t? And the whole time we were seeing each other, he was still getting on Match every few days – in fact, I’d stopped checking how often he was getting on, because it would just upset me. He had last logged in that Thursday or Friday, two days before our last date. After we broke up, I checked once a week or so to see if he’d logged on. He never logged on again, and after three months, he finally removed his profile.

I still feel like I’ll never know the full story. Meeting him did give me faith that there actually are people I’d like on these sites But if he was still regularly trolling Match looking for someone "better," he obviously was not as perfect as he seemed.

For a while there, though, he sure seemed to be. :(

January 28, 2008

Match Point

Name: Match.com (http://www.match.com/)
What it is: On-line dating site
Cost: Free 72-hour trial period before your credit card is charged
If you don’t cancel during the free trial, it is:
$39.99 for one month
$22.99 per month for three months
$19.99 per month for six months -- and if you e-mail (or respond to e-mails from) at least five “eligibles” per month and still don’t meet your match, the following six months are free.
Random fact: You can set up a profile and search Match.com’s 20 million members for free, but to e-mail or receive e-mails from any of them, you have to pay. Keep in mind, that means anyone out there can see *you* without paying – they can’t get your name or contact info, of course, but they can view your photo.

The scoop: Over the past year I’ve dated 13 guys from Match, and overall it was a pretty positive experience. Most of them were only for one or two dates each, just because we didn’t end up having as much in common as we thought we would or there wasn’t that ‘spark.’ Although a couple guys just wanted a fling, most were very nice and seemed to want a real relationship. Looking back, the only truly bad experience I had was with a man I ended up never meeting (I’ll post about him later this week). And I did date one guy from Match for six weeks, and another for two months -- I’d probably still be going out with him if he hadn’t ended it, sigh.

My date: One guy seemed fairly normal on our date – it was afterward he became strange. I’ll call him Beating-A-Dead-Horse for reasons that will become obvious.

Beating-A-Dead-Horse, the second guy I ever met from Match, was five years younger, but he contacted me first, so I went with it. He was a terrific e-mailer, funny and smart, and after we made plans to meet, I joked that he'd recognize me at the restaurant because I'd be wearing a pink feather boa. I got to the restaurant -- and there he was, standing outside with a sheepish expression on his face, holding a pink feather boa. I could not stop laughing. "I love it!” I said.

"I'm glad you're here -- I was getting some strange looks," he admitted.

Dinner went well, and I was enjoying his company. As we finished, he suggested a movie, so we walked to a nearby theater to see "Pan's Labyrinth." (One-sentence review: Extremely well-done, but so depressing you kind of want to kill yourself.) The only weird thing he did on the date was, once we got into the theater we each went to the restroom, and when I came back out, I didn't see Beating-A-Dead-Horse anywhere. I stood there alone waiting for him, assuming he was still in the bathroom...only, he wasn't. He had come out first and was sitting on a ledge, smirking. "I wondered how long you would take to notice me!" he said. It annoyed me, first because it made me feel stupid, and second because it wasted five minutes when we could have been finding seats. We ended up getting the last two seats together in the entire theater, and we were lucky to get them.

I still liked him, though. But after we parted, a few days went by and I hadn't heard from him. Finally, I sent him a quick e-mail thanking him again for dinner and saying I'd had a good time, hoping that would prompt him to ask me out again. This is what he wrote back:

"Thanks for coming out on Friday. I had a good time too but I didn't really feel any chemistry between us. I wish you the best in the future and good luck with your search. Cheers, Beating-A-Dead-Horse”

Well. I can certainly take a hint, so of course I didn’t write him back. But would you believe, two days later he wrote and rejected me AGAIN!

"I'm not sure if you got my other email, but I honestly don't foresee a romantic future for us. However, if you want a platonic friend to do stuff with, I'm open to give that a try. And you're very welcome. Thanks for coming out."

At that point I thought, Sheesh, I'd better say something to this guy or he'll be e-mailing me a "rejection letter" every other day! So I just wrote back: "Thanks, Beating-A-Dead-Horse!” and signed my name.

At least I’ll always have a pink feather boa to remember him by.

Discounts for ladies to NY Easy Dates

If any women in the NYC area want to try speed-dating, you can do so for only $20 this Tuesday night 1/29 at New York Easy Dates. (Normally it costs $37, so this is a good deal.) Just go to http://nyeasydates.com/speed-dating/events/648.html and use the code "twenty2" (without the quotes).

January 25, 2008

EasyDates (because ‘DifficultDates’ was too hard a sell?)

Name: New York Easy Dates (http://www.nyeasydates.com)
What it is: Speed-dating, i.e. talking to about a dozen random people for strictly four (or five, or eight) minutes each
Cost: $37
COUPON CODE: Try typing "welcomeback" (without the quotes) in the promotional code box for $7 off. It may only work if you’ve gone to a New York Easy Dates event in the past, but it’s worth a shot. Or try "last minute" for events less than a week away.
Random fact: Speed-dating was invented by a California rabbi in 1998 as a new form of matchmaking.

The scoop: Before this past year, I’d found my first and only speed-dating experience five years ago excruciating. But when a friend was interested in trying it recently, I gave it another shot – and we had a surprisingly good time! It’s actually fun (or funny, depending on who you meet) – because how can you possibly take the idea of “dating” ten people for four minutes each seriously? You can’t. You just have to laugh. So if you’re going to try speed-dating for the first time, try to go with a friend if at all possible. Not only will you be less nervous, you can debrief afterward about everyone you met (which can be even more fun than the event itself).

And if you’re in the New York City area, start with New York Easy Dates (http://www.nyeasydates.com/) which hosts events primarily in Manhattan (and a few in Brooklyn). Of the companies I’ve tried, they seem to attract the nicest, most educated and interesting people, in my experience (not that I didn’t also meet a few weirdoes, but if you become a regular reader of this blog you’ll soon see that, like bacteria and Britney Spears articles, you can find weirdoes ANYwhere). Plus, New York Easy Dates is the only one that serves food like cheese and crackers, chicken wings and mozzarella sticks during the break. I’m all about the complimentary snacks.

The nice thing about speed-dating is, you meet people and see how normal they are in person right away, as opposed to the endless e-mailing that is an occupational hazard of online dating. And you only get each other’s e-mail address if you both choose each other, so you don’t have to worry about crazies getting your contact information – if you don’t like ‘em, just don’t pick ‘em.

My dates: The most recent New York Easy Dates speed-dating event I attended had the theme of “creative and artistic singles (and those who want to meet them).” The bar was cute but tiny. I’d only been there five minutes when I spotted Way-Too-Fast, and it was all I could do to keep from groaning out loud. I first met Way-Too-Fast at a previous speed-dating event two months ago, and went on one real date with him afterward. We each had one drink, and the next thing I knew we were kissing in his car and he was asking me to go back to his place for the night. He seemed genuinely surprised when I turned him down because, oh, I don’t know, I BARELY KNEW HIM! “I’ll call you,” he said as he dropped me off at the train station. “I won’t hold my breath,” I thought.

Sure enough, he never called. And now I’d have to speed-date him. Again. Blech. Since there were a few more women than men, at times I’d have no “dates” and pull out a newspaper to read. When Way-Too-Fast was sitting at the table next to me, I couldn’t help overhearing him say, “Oh yeah, I can see you’re getting some muscle” as he squeezed his date’s arm – exactly the same line he’d used on me (and probably a hundred other women). Unable to take it anymore, I got up and started grazing at the snack table. When the bell rang signaling it was time for our date, Way-Too-Fast came right over to me, asking, “You weren’t going to abandon me, were you?”

I said, “I figured we didn’t need the whole four minutes.”

“Sure, we do – we can catch up!” he said. Uh-huh. I asked him why he said he’d call me and then never did. That’s what bothered me. Why didn’t he just say, “I had a nice time, thanks, have a good night,” like an honest person?

First he claimed he hadn’t said that he would call. Then he said he’d been busy because his sister lost her job and he’d had to help her find a new apartment -- plus he’d taken on a new project at work. “I’m not B.S.-ing you!” he insisted. “Besides, you could’ve called me.”

“Are you kidding? I’ve read He’s Just Not That Into You! I know the deal!” is what I should’ve said. But instead I just said, “Oh, I figured you wanted more than I was willing to give,” and devoured more cheese and crackers.

So. That was awkward. But I did meet ten other creative men – filmmakers, writers, actors, musicians. An interesting bunch. The next morning I checked off my three favorites on the New York Easy Dates web site. I have a mutual match with one guy so far, and we’ve been sent each other’s e-mail addresses -- we’ll see if anything comes of it. They only tell you how many mutual matches you have, so it’s possible all these other men picked me that I didn’t choose -- or at least, that’s the ego-trip I can choose to indulge in. Ha!

January 23, 2008

How eFfective is eHarmony?

Name: www.eHarmony.com
What it is: On-line dating site
Cost: $59.95 for one month
$36.95 per month for three months (billed in one installment of $110.85)
$28.95 per month for six months (billed in one installment of $173.70)
$20.95 per month for 12 months (billed in one installment of $251.40)
Random fact: According to a Harris Interactive study from the fall of 2005 and posted on eHarmony’s web site, on average 90 eHarmony members get married every day.

The scoop: To be honest, I had heard some negative things about eHarmony -- that it’s hard to cancel your subscription, that you tend to get matched with much older singles who live far away, etc. But a friend’s mom met someone really nice through the site, and then I got an offer I couldn’t refuse (which has since expired, or I’d share it with you) -- three months for the price of one. So I thought, why not?

eHarmony asks you a ton of questions about yourself and what you want, and I mean a TON – it took me over an hour to get set up. But then they e-mail you the people they think would be a good match for you, based on what you’ve said (you can stipulate that you only want to meet people within a certain distance of where you live, for example), along with the “proven personality profile” and their patented Compatibility Matching System™ . You have to roll your eyes through some of this stuff, but I have to say, it’s refreshing to have matches just e-mailed to you. Searching for guys on Match.com (review coming soon!) was so time-consuming and excruciating after a while. The down side is that sometimes you’ll log into eHarmony and have several “closed” messages from guys you didn’t even know were considering you. Rejected already! But it’s not like you even knew they existed before, which takes (most of) the sting out of it.

When I first signed up I thought it would take forever to meet anyone in person, because they put you through so many steps until you can actually exchange contact information -- you have to send a set of multiple choice questions to each other and answer them; exchange your “must haves/can’t stands” lists (um, doesn’t everyone list “rudeness” and “poor hygiene” as “can’t stands”??); exchange short answer questions; and finally you get to freely e-mail each other. You can bypass all this by choosing to go “FastTrack” with a particular match and e-mail each other through the site right away, but you both have to agree to do this.

My date: But surprisingly, it was only two weeks and five days from the first day of my subscription to my first real date, which is actually pretty good. Even on Match, I found you can e-mail a guy forever until he finally asks you out (if he ever does).

We’ll call my date The Great Debater. He’s 36 (a year older than I am), moved here from India when he was 16, and is some sort of computer consultant. (Computers apparently need a lot of consultation, judging by the number of computer consultants I’ve met.) We met by the clock at Grand Central Terminal. He was cute, and seemed nice. He treated me to hot chocolate from Starbucks and got a cup of coffee for himself, but that particular Starbucks only had two seats, both taken, so we ended up sitting on a bench in the terminal, watching passers-by and talking for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, pretty soon our conversation degenerated into a political debate about whether people only making minimum wage, doing poorly-paid but much-needed jobs (like scrubbing toilets) should be “allowed” to have kids, considering how hard it would be financially. I like discussing politics, and it can be really educational to talk to someone from a different viewpoint, but it’s not like I have a Ph.D. in this stuff, and after a while my head hurt. But he kept going on and on, and of course he’s a Republican who voted for Bush. In one of the most liberal cities in the country, I always seem to meet the Republicans! Why didn’t their patented Compatibility Matching System™ catch that?? When he wouldn’t stop talking I finally had to put my hands over my ears and say, “No more! No more!”

Then he did stop and apologize (“Here we were supposed to be discerning if we could be each other’s life partners, and all we did was talk politics!”), but we really had nothing more to say to each other after that.

“Well, you can always use another friend, right?” The Great Debater said as we shook hands good-bye.

I said yes.

And then I went home and added “no Republicans, please,” to my eHarmony profile.

January 21, 2008

The Dating Guru welcomes you to BestDatesNow

Welcome to BestDatesNow! Especially in this day and age, there are so many different ways for singles to meet each other – on-line dating, speed-dating, parties, activity groups, social events, at the laundromat (hey, I’ve heard it’s worked for some people) – it can be hard to know where to start! But have no fear. Since my last relationship ended, I've been hitting the town regularly and sampling the various and sundry ways for singles to meet other singles in the 21st century. And it suddenly occurred to me -- why not share this information with others who could use it? So, every time I attend one of these events, I will write a review and give you all the real story. How do the different on-line dating sites compare? Is speed-dating worth the money? What about "social clubs" where a bunch of singles simply mix and mingle? Stay tuned to find out! Now that I'm on the e-mail lists for so many sites and groups, I will also post any discount codes for on-line dating sites and singles events, so that you can try them for yourself.

Thanks in advance for reading, and for telling all your single friends about this site. I hope it proves helpful as you navigate the jungle that is modern dating! And if you have any suggestions about singles sites/events/groups to try, please let me know on this blog or at my e-mail address: BestDatesNow@gmail.com