I’m glad I’m not “single and looking.” Because I don’t have much enthusiasm for modern love. By which I mean….online dating.
I met Susie one of the old-fashioned ways…at work. This meant I had time to observe her from a distance and then become somewhat acquainted with her before deciding whether or not to ask her on a date. You can learn a lot about a person from casual interaction. Folks on dates are presumably on their best behavior….danger!…danger!
Today, a lot of folks are turning to technology as a matchmaker. I’m not convinced…
Susie’s sister-in-law Debbie visited last weekend and we began talking about online dating when we saw a Sunday Morning segment about how one of the online dating sites has developed a new algorithm for matches. Ah yes, a new algorithm is just what we needed to further refine the science of modern love.
The same “quants” that brought us the financial meltdown are going to bring us true, lasting love. Riiiiiight!
One Ph.D. featured on the segment pointed out that regardless of what folks say they are looking for romantically, it’s not unusual for them to end up with someone that has only a few of the identified “traits.” What? Folks say one thing and do another? Really….?
Debbie, who’s a pediatrician, mentioned that she knows another female doctor who is in her fifties and has never been married. She uses online dating services and does go out on many dates. But Debbie thinks her doctor friend will never get married because she’s looking for perfection, which includes “no baggage.” I wonder if Debbie’s friend believes she is perfect and without baggage.
I know a number of folks using eHarmony and similar websites to “meet” people. eHarmony especially aggravates me with its claim that it will match you based on a test for 29 areas of compatibility. Sounds so “scientific.” But love is not science. Nor will it ever be.
I know someone at work who’s been using eHarmony and other such websites. He’s not had a date yet, despite the “matches.” There’s been e-mails going back and forth and also many telephone conversations. He’s even been “winked at” on some sites which have this as a feature. (Technological teasing for cowards, in my opinion.)
But he’s not had a date yet. The women always seem to have some conflict on a day he suggests to meet. If he’s “compatible” with someone, why doesn’t that someone agree to a date?
Because then they’d have to cross over from the perfect world of imagination to the messy world of reality. I have to wonder whether, for many women, these match sites are their version of telephone sex sites for men… a “safe” way to indulge romantic fantasies for a fairly low price. (I don’t understand telephone sex sites, either.)
Susie and I have been together 25 years. I don’t know if we’re compatible in the 29 areas eHarmony pushes. I suspect not….
Before I met Susie, I “thought out” what I was looking for in a relationship. Basically, someone like me: upper middle class upbringing, urbane, college educated, professional career, able to hold her own in discussions about philosophy, history, etc. (Of course, since then I’ve lost interest in intellectual debate.)
But that is not Susie at all. On the surface, we have little in common beyond a love of travel. Had a mutual friend suggested to me going on a blind date with Susie, I’d have refused after learning about her background. Lucky for me (and her), we met the way we did or we’d probably not be together today.
Fact is, I dated a number of women who met my “profile.” Since I didn’t stay with them, I made a logical conclusion: maybe a “similar background” is not the real basis of a relationship. Maybe what I should be doing is looking for the person who will “perfect” me.
For example, since I have a tendency to be a dominating personality, then maybe I should be with someone who is not also dominating. Since I can be a “clown,” maybe I need a “straight person” who is not also trying to be a clown.
From that perspective, Susie and I are perfect for each other. We are two sides of a coin, which are different, not identical, on each side. But both sides make it one coin.
And quite apart from all that is the issue of, for lack of a better word, “chemistry.” When I’m with Susie, I am with myself. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I’ve never felt that way with anyone else. Which is probably why I never stayed with the others. I enjoyed their company and all that, but I never really bonded with them. (I wonder what algorithm eHarmony uses for chemistry?)
Modern love? Not for me….