Harm Me With eHarmony

Dear Dategirl,

My 40s have been horrible for dating, so in the spirit of being willing to try anything, I signed up for eHarmony. It cost real money, but I thought they would at least have guys around my age who were looking for a relationship, not just a hookup. So far, eHarmony has sent me nothing but much-older sad-dads and grandfathers—active seniors—from neighboring states. Never mind that I specified my preference for guys around my age in the immediate urban area.

The latest from eHarm was an e-mail breathlessly promising that "Fred," a banker, was a "highly compatible" prospect who matched me on several key levels of deep compatibility. When I opened the profile, there was no photo and all his answers were x's. As in "the thing I am most passionate about" is "xxx." What a joke.

Am I a chump? How is a woman in her 40s supposed to meet guys? This eHarmony debacle took me for $200, and I haven't had a single date. I am attractive, independent, sexy—really not into dating a 69-year-old retiree living two states away. Can you advise?

—Unharmonious

The first rule of online dating is to avoid eHarmony. This is a company based on matching churchy seniors with other churchy seniors. Back when I was on the market, I also filled out their laborious questionnaire. I recall that fully half the questions were about my religious beliefs, of which I have none. Like you, the few "compatible" matches consisted solely of far-older gentlemen who lived an average of three to four hours and/or states away. Color me picky, but I'm not going to pursue a relationship with Charlie, the 65-year-old retired stamp collector from Phoenix.

If I were at all surprised by this turn of events, I'd try to contact someone in customer service, and they would issue some bullshit response about their "patented 29 Dimensions™ of Compatibility." But I'm not surprised they ripped you off, so why bother? Type "eHarmony" and "scam" into Google and watch what happens.

For one thing, this is a company that had to be sued into letting gay people join their service. In fact, they're so afraid of catching the gay that they set up a separate site called "Compatible Partners." Hot, right? Is that for landing ass or picking a bridge buddy? My guess is the latter. For another, they're a proud sponsor of Rush Limbaugh's show.

I know tons of couples who've met online, yet absolutely zero who've met through eHarmony. My friend Jay once went out with a nut he met there, but she spent their entire date trying to rope him into Landmark Forum. My advice: Call your credit-card company and see if they can reverse the charges. You're not eHarmony's first disgruntled customer, believe me. Keep an eye on your statements, too, because they've been known to keep billing. Then I'd give online dating another try, but stick to sites that let you do the picking: Match, Nerve, OkCupid . . . hell, even Craigslist is better than eHarmony.

dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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