VentureBeat Outtakes: eHarmony

Recently, I subjected myself to lots of fun and embarrassment by volunteering to review online dating apps for VentureBeat. If you haven’t already checked it out already, a) you should and b) you don’t know that I, and a male co-adventurer/writer were assigned to go on five dates in 5 days in 5 days using 5 online dating apps. We opted for Tinder, Grouper, Coffee Meets Bagels, Let’s Date and eHarmony. Unfortunately, I was the only one brave enough to actually try eHarmony so I didn’t get to rant about it as much as wanted to (which was a lot.)

I hate the idea that all my suffering should go to waste, so without anymore context or copyediting, here’s why I’d rather die alone than use that site:

At the opposite end of an app like Tinder is eHarmony, which I found both horrifying and fascinating. When you join, you fill out a long, invasive, ambiguous survey that attempts to figure out what sort of person you are, which seems alarmingly subjective. Once that’s over, their algorithm (I guess?) matches you with compatible folks, whom you can engage with through eHarmony’s onerous “Get-to-Know-You” process.

It involves sending questionnaires back and forth that include painfully trite questions such as: “If I had a bad day, what would you do for me?” “How much personal space do you need?” If you make it through these steps, you finally send a “make or break” list by choosing items  from eHarmony’s list of positive and negative qualities (“generous,” “adventurous,” “victim complex”). If you try to circumvent the “Get-to-Know-You” process, you get a somewhat patronizing pop-up from eHarmony warning you that Todd (or whoever) might be put off by your radical forwardness.

I can just imagine showing up on a first date and saying, “I’m glad that we both want to spend 2-3 nights a week together and don’t believe in theft or irritability. Should we just head to Reno now, or did you want to ask my dad’s permission first?” In fact, if this app has any success rate, I bet it’s because getting into a relationship is easier than logging back on to eHarmony.

Although I actually gave this app a fair shot, partially driven by morbid fascination, eventually my creative attempts to avoid the paywall failed. I was asked on a date but in order to reply, I needed to become a full member, which by my calculations, costs about $200 to start. So, Mike, Paul, whoever – if you’re out there reading this – it’s not you, it’s eHarmony.

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