Adventures in Online Dating (and why eHarmony should offer me a month for free)

This day and age, nearly every one I know has tried this mode of finding a romantic partner at least once.*

For some, the experience is hilarious.

For others, admittedly a little harrowing.

And for those precious few who keep the rest of us hoping it just might work for us: heart-warming.

For me, what it really came down to was putting my money where my mouth is.** I have this amazing friend whom I've been harassing for years to create an account. She is beautiful, intelligent, and charming. I know I'm a little biased, but seriously? She is a great catch.  The problem is she works in a profession that isn't exactly conducive to meeting all those eligible bachelors I am certain would love to make her acquaintance. Online dating seemed, to me, to be her perfect solution. She remains unconvinced.

No matter how many times I tell her the stigma around meeting someone online is gone, she won't buy it. So, I decided I have to prove it to her.  I've made it my personal challenge to demonstrate that this is a viable source for making potential romantic connections (Also, who are we kidding? It's great blog material.)

First, I had to choose a venue:

  • I eliminated any of the free sites right away. I'm sorry, I don't care what you say; those sites were primarily created for hooking up. And if I wanted to do that I would just lower my standards (significantly) and head to some club on the west side.***  Plus, the last thing I need is another distraction on my phone, so Tinder was definitely out (though I confess, I have found my friends' experiences on this particular app especially amusing).
  • Christian Mingle wasn't an option because last time I checked; Christianity is a religion and not a corporation or a brand. Call me a cynic, but I'm automatically dubious of any business that feels the need to preface itself with the label "Christian." Shouldn't that just come out in the way you interact with your clients? I digress…
  • To put it simply, Match overwhelms me. It feels like a virtual free-for-all, with too many options and too little structure. 
  • While I'm sure there are other online dating sites out there I haven't mentioned yet, I might as well just admit right here and now that my mind has been pretty much set on eHarmony from the beginning. For three main reasons: 1) The majority of the aforementioned precious-and-successfully-matched couples I know met on this particular site, 2) It's the most structured (and I like structure), 3) My dad is a fan of the creator.****

Next, I needed a deadline.

Let's just say, if procrastination were a sport; I would have a more than a few dusty gold medals laying around (you know, ones I'd been meaning to properly display but never got around to…). Even writing this post has been on my "mental to do list" since January 1st, and the only reason it's actually getting done before the Spring is because I sprained my ankle and am thereby couch-bound on this otherwise lovely Saturday evening.

A deadline was crucial for me if there was ever any hope of turning all my "smooth" talk into action. I somewhat arbitrarily decided on New Years' Day.*****

Third, and perhaps most important, I needed accountability.

Luckily, my friends have been annoyingly super supportive in this regard. For example, my best friend, Joelle, literally refused to leave my home on New Years Day until I had at least answered the initial questions required to create my profile (this experience was an entirely separate blogpost in and of itself, so I will leave that one for another time). She finally showed mercy when it was time to upload pictures. (Trust me, by that point we both had had enough.)

I thought I was off the hook for awhile, but a mere three days later my other best friend, Kaitlynn, drove up from my hometown and planted herself on my couch like she was a peaceful protestor participating in some kind of sit-in. She would not budge until those dang pictures had been painstakingly lovingly selected and uploaded to my profile-in-progress. Do you have any idea how hard it is to summarize your looks, your interests, and your personality in a mere 11 photos? Also, are you all aware that I apparently look exactly the same as I did back in 2007?

Finally, I needed camaraderie.

Fortunately, I have two other girlfriends who agreed to try this online dating thing at the same time as me. Only, it turns out, they don't have the same problem with procrastination as I do, and they actually created and activated their profiles before our deadline. I blame Groupon and its practically irresistible one-month deal for As I said before, I had my mind firmly set on eHarmony, and am about as stubborn as I am procrastinatory (side note: did you know that is actually a word?), so I held out for a similar deal…that never came.

As a result, the majority of my online dating posts will be stories from my friends' experiences until I can finally save up enough money to make my account active and create some potentially embarrassing memories for myself.

If you have any blog-worthy online dating stories of your own that you'd like to share, I'd love to provide you an audience, so let's chat.

*This is not an exaggeration. Seriously, ask around. 
**For the record, I have yet to actually do this, namely because eHarmony is so dang expensive and I'm waiting for them to send me some screamin' "Don't Be Depressed on Valentines Day" deal so I can actually afford to make this experiment a reality. In the meantime, I'm not above asking for donations to the cause…(hint hint)
***I say the west side because I definitely wouldn't want to be caught with my lowered standards by someone I knew here on the east side (don't worry, mom, I'm totally kidding about this one)
****Let's face it: no matter how old you get, you never really grow out of wanting your parents' approval.
*****Okay, I admit it: I secretly chose this date because my roommate and I threw a New Years Eve party and I wanted an excuse to procrastinate on cleaning the next morning afternoon.


OK Nattie, I'm in. Call me for my CC # and let's roll this! I have 3 dear friends (2 of whom also have MS) who met and married the love of their life through eHarmony. They all have said by the time you actually put the thought into doing your profile you know more about yourself. It was like that had dated for 6 months already on the 1st date. I know you are careful and cautious, and that's good thing. So, while you are recuperating on the couch, let me say "Happy Valentines Day"...and you have my number. I love you!!!
Jena said…
Hahahaha - your sister passed along the link to this HIGHLY entertaining account! I wish you the VERY best of luck and one day this year, I will start blogging again to share my speed-dating experiences. Until then, I just sit back and enjoy everyone else's online comments and occasionally share my exasperation on facebook!
Vanessa's Dad said…
Congratulations for taking charge of your life and exploring your options and your world.