Unorthodox and Unhinged

Tales of a Manic Christian


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Call Me Stupid. I am on OKCupid.

cupid-kissing-psyche

“Cupid kissing Psyche”

 

Maybe I am stupid but three weeks ago I signed up for OKCupid.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have recorded my two previous attempts to enter the online dating world. This past July I posted “Sex and the Single Vicar” and in January “Disharmony, Smarmony, eHarmony.” (Feel free to search the archives!)

Both forays were fantastic fiascos.

So why did I join OKCupid?

Maybe I am naïve. (No.)

Maybe I am a romantic. (Maybe.)

Maybe miracles do happen. (Sometimes.)

Maybe hope springs eternal. (Yes, I will agree to that.)

Maybe I am just curious to see who is out there. (Curious-er and curious-er.)

So I downloaded the app on my iPhone. My daughter has used it. Some of the seminary students I work with have used it. I am young and hip (well, at least hip) — so maybe I could use it too.

It’s just a social experiment after all —  to give me practice socializing with the opposite sex.

OKCupid is not quite the meat market that is match-dot-com. Nor is it the straight-laced, fundamentalist nightmare that is eHarmony. A cousin to both, it is somewhere in-between.

So once again I set up a profile. The essay questions are shorter and my answers more succinct.

I am BookWalkTalk: A voracious reader, book jockey, and half marathoner. Native Washingtonian. My profession is spiritual, intellectual, and educational. I work in two places and love both. I love dark and quirky movies, folk rock music, and do not cook. I am looking for an intellectual sparring partner with an enormous sense of fun. Want to talk?

My updated photos are most flattering: a selfie  in the dining room; a snapshot at the 13.1 mile finish line; and one of me building a book tree in the library at Christmas. (Nothing sexier than a sixty year-old woman building a tree out of books!)

And then there are the “yes or no” pop quiz questions:

  1. “Do you think nuclear war could ever be a good thing?” (No.)
  1. “Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?” (No.)
  1. “Would we be safer if everyone carried a gun?” (No.)
  1. “Is smoking disgusting?” (Yes.)
  1. “Do you like scary movies?” (Yes.)

 

The scariest thing is to see how many guys actually answer “yes” to questions one, two, and three.

OKCupid tallies your score and percentage wise matches you up with potential partners.

The winking, nodding, liking, and messaging have begun.

Frankly I thought that within a few days I would be so frustrated I would have already thrown my iPhone against the wall or flushed it and this stupid app down the toilet.

There is a plethora of “Hey Baby, hey gorgeous, hey beautiful, hey pretty, hey good looking, hey angel (and every other variation on this theme). These are guys who simply click on a picture, don’t actually read your profile, and don’t even bother to fill out their own.

There are messages from guys in the wee hours of the morning, who apparently stay up all night trolling for any woman who might click reply: Messages with incomplete sentences, misspelled words, and no punctuation.

I have gotten off the wall messages: one from a polyamorous (look it up!) techie, science fiction freak who is into kink. Another came from a twenty-two year senior in college “tired of dating girls his own age.”

There are of course liars. My favorite so far is the 65 year-old architect and skydiver who turns out to be a 75 year-old bus driver and building superintendent.

There are scammers. Scammer par excellence so far messaged me a week ago Friday.

“Hello, read your profile. This is General Mark Welsh. And you are?”

“Hello, I am Joani. Civilian.”

“What is your email?”

“Sorry. I don’t share my email even with generals I don’t know.”

(Meanwhile I am Googling him, of course.)

 “Where do you live? What is your email?”

“Wow, It seems according to Google that you are the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force! Really?????????”

End of messages.

And it’s only been 21 days.

But in these past three weeks I have managed to meet three real people:

Dale in Pennsylvania who has read every philosopher under the sun, volunteers at the art gallery, and has never subscribed to Cable TV. (Big plus! I HATE Cable TV!)

John who lives on a creek on the Northern Neck of Virginia, is an organic farmer, sometimes musician, professional bridge player, reading St Augustine’s “City of God”, and trying to live off the grid. (While he holds on to his phone he has given up his refrigerator.)

And I had my first date if you could call it that with David. Just breakfast really at Mancini’s.

David is a recent widower, professor, 10K runner, convert to agnosticism, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, still working through his grief. (And resembles way too much my ex-husband, Bill.)

So “Nice to meet you, gentlemen. Thanks for the conversation. Good-bye.”

There is a great song from the musical Avenue Q. I am going to make it my new OKCupid theme song:

There is a fine, fine line between a lover and a friend

There’s a fine, fine line between reality and pretend

And you never know ‘til you reach the top it was worth the climb

There’s a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time”

 

“There’s a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie

And there’s a fine, fine line between you’re wonderful and goodbye

I guess if someone doesn’t love you back it isn’t such a crime

But there’s a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time”

 

“There’s a fine, fine line between together and not

And there’s a fine, fine line between what you wanted and what you got

You gotta go after the things you want while you’re still in your prime

There’s a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time.”

 

So call me stupid. I am going to stay on OKCupid — at least for a little while!

JoaniSign

 


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Disharmony, Smarmony: The eHarmony Expose

online-dating

MythBusters is one of all my all time favorite TV shows. If you are not familiar with the Discovery Channel program, their motto is “Don’t try this at home!” Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, take on urban myths and internet memes and put them to the test. Does vodka make a good stain remover? Can you really catch an unmentionable disease from a toilet seat? Is the legend of the rocket surf board really possible? Can a cannon made from duct tape actually fire?

Science at its very best!

My youngest, Jacob and I used to binge watch episodes on HULU. I was ecstatic this morning to discover seasons 13 & 14 are now streaming!

And here for season 15 in 2015, myself being single and fabulous and available — I have quite a whopper for the Busters to bust:

eHarmony: From Single to Soul Mate

Get deeply matched with singles based on 29 dimensions

The home page of eHarmony’s official website features photos of a dozen fresh faced white people (yes, ALL WHITE PEOPLE!) and all apparently between the ages of 25 and 35. They all have perkie names like Lindsey, Shaun, Cory, Jon, Erin, and Stephan. Only Jamille has a slightly ethnic ring to it.

Click on any one of their photos to read the bumper sticker sound bite of their romantic success:

“ Jon was a baseball fan. It was love right off the bat!”

 “I fell in love with the aviator. Everything just took flight!”

Worse really than any real romantic comedy.

In a previous post, Sex and the Single Vicar,  I wrote of my own experience with eHarmony. : (Best stats ever! I should put “sex” in the title more often!). Misguidedly, I have turned the damn thing on and off three times on my Mac and on my iPhone — most recently for three days on the dawn of this year.

Three times is the charm. My third experience was just as creepy and disappointing as my first and second. While I am neither, my matches are virtually all conservative and seemingly all fundamentalists. While I am a voracious reader, they apparently only read the Bible by their bedsides. While I am an avid walker, my matches seem to barely get off the couch. While I am happily looking for someone who can keep up with me, they are sadly looking for someone to cuddle with on that same couch.

I’ve gotten matched with recent widowers pictured with their recently dead wives. I’ve been matched with matches who can’t bother to post a photo at all. I live in the greater metropolis of Washington, DC, but the matches I’m sent are as far away as Australia and South Africa. I routinely have been matched with men who cannot properly capitalize the name of their own hometowns. And I’ve been repeatedly matched with the same fake and possibly dangerous “Greg” whom eHarmony can’t seem to keep off of their site.

The site entices potential clients with the come on:Feel the love for free for 5 days”. Once you sign up and they’ve got your money, you’ve literally only got only three days to get your money back.  And they mean it. Three times I’ve tried to get my money back to no avail.

What a sham and what a scam.

I am so not alone. I am part of Facebook group of about three hundred single clergy. Male and female, all ages, all denominations, all across the country. And we all have the same story to share. Yesterday I shared my last three days debacle. The cavalcade of comments I got echoed my every complaint.

Somebody should write an eHaromony expose, I suggested. And then I realized maybe that somebody is me. After all what is a blog for? So I did a bit of research.

The reviews are not good. In fact the reviews are terrible. Why did I not read the reviews?

ConsumerAffairs.com gives it their absolute lowest rating: one measly star out a possible five. 1,115 “Top Complaints” are listed and here is how they all go. And yes with caps lock on!:.

“BEWARE OF THIS SCAM!!”

“DO NOT SIGN UP!!”

“DO NOT USE eHarmony!” 

SiteJabber.com gives them a roaring score of 9 % out of 100. 9%!!

“This by far is the worst dating site.”

 “Absolute rubbish!”

 “Worthless.”

 “Expensive and useless.”

 “This site is ridiculous.”

 “Horrible. Do not join!”

 “If I could, I would choose zero stars!”

Yes, where do I click for zero stars?

The eHarmony  website claims that they are not a Christian company. Totally not true. Their 78 year-old founder, an evangelical psychologist and entrepreneur’s philosophy is grounded in the dubious principles of Focus on the Family and James Dobson’s deeply conservative theology.

According to a USA Today article:

“Warren started out marketing primarily to Christian sites, touting eHarmony as “based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family’s 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 ($50 million spent last year, $80 million projected this year) hints at his Christian background. And while it’s no secret, the Web site doesn’t play it up, either.”

Warren has tried to distance himself by no longer appearing on Dobson’s radio show and renouncing Dobson’s endorsement on the front of his best selling books. He claims:

 “We’re trying to reach the whole world – people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds,” Warren says. “And if indeed, we have Focus on the Family on the top of our books, it is a killer. Because people do recognize them as occupying a very precise political position in this society and a very precise spiritual position.”

Don’t believe it. What Warren is actually about is money.  eHarmony is about reaching maximum profits. Maximum profits based on false advertising and bogus science.

The company promises to make lasting matches based on 29 dimensions. Their promise is based on  a proprietary algorithm  — scientifically proven. Proven by their company paid experts, of course.

But their claim was criticized in a psychology journal last year by a team of academic researchers, who concluded that it just isn’t so.

Summarized succinctly at psychologicalscience.org the study concludes:

“Many of us enter the dating pool looking for that special someone, but finding a romantic partner can be difficult. With the rise of the digital age, it is no surprise that people have flocked to the Internet as a way to take control of their dating lives and find their “soul-mate.” But is online dating essentially different than conventional dating, and does it promote better romantic outcomes? In this new report, Eli J. Finkel (Northwestern University), Paul W. Eastwick (Texas A & M University), Benjamin R. Karney (UCLA), Harry T. Reis (University of Rochester), and Susan Sprecher (Illinois State University) take a comprehensive look at the access, communication, and matching services provided by online dating sites.”

“Although the authors find that online dating sites offer a distinctly different experience than conventional dating, the superiority of these sites is not as evident. Dating sites provide access to more potential partners than do traditional dating methods, but the act of browsing and comparing large numbers of profiles can lead individuals to commoditize potential partners and can reduce their willingness to commit to any one person. Communicating online can foster intimacy and affection between strangers, but it can also lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment when potential partners meet in real life. Although many dating sites tout the superiority of partner matching through the use of “scientific algorithms,” the authors find that there is little evidence that these algorithms can predict whether people are good matches or will have chemistry with one another.”

“The authors’ overarching assessment of online dating sites is that scientifically, they just don’t measure up.”

A corrolary of the scientists’ critique that dating sites “can lead individuals to commoditize potential partners” is the sad and not too uncommon client lament:

“I’m either the most undesirable person on earth or eHarmony is just a scam.”

And this is where eHarmony turns evil  –yes evil — as it exploits the loneliness of its users.

Constant clicking on the site is not healthy for your mental health. Constantly checking in on all the mismatches, unanswered messages, and snarky comments will at best discourage you and at worst depress you.

Quite ironically eHarmony’s website boasts a bunch of self esteem boosters:

“Why women with low self esteem try harder”

 “Why you should care about your self esteem.”

 “15 self esteem boosters!”

To the contrary however, habitual use of  eHarmony often leads to disharmony. You find yourself constantly doubting yourself. You find yourself constantly asking the question:

“What’s the matter with me?”

Well, friends, I know for a fact that nothing is the matter with me. I am single and independent and interesting and engaging and incredibly attractive both inside and out! (Scientifically proven by independent scientists: my therapist and my psychiatrist!) Nothing is the matter with me.

And nothing is the matter with you either.

But everything is wrong with eHarmony.

Nothing is true about their claims. They should be ashamed.

It’s a scam. It’s a sham.

eHarmony eXposed.

Myth — not even plausible.

They can’t be trusted.

Myth — busted.

Now, my friends,  believe in yourselves, just as the God who created you and loves you believes in you — without a doubt — believe in your God-given gifted selves. Believe in yourself enough to delete that damn eHarmony app off of your Mac and off of your iPhone and off your iPad or off your Kindle or off your Galaxy or off whatever device you happen to have. Delete it and the myth of mine and yours unworthiness will be totally busted — totally busted once and for all.

Soli Deo gratias.

JoaniSign