Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dear eHarmony

Dear eHarmony,

Like many of your subscribers, I am a busy, professional, independent woman who waited a long time before deciding to fill out your very lengthy profile form. I did a lot of head shaking as I answered all of those questions. (Rate the importance of “honesty” on a scale from 1-5? Really? Is there a 30? How else would you answer that?) I very much regarded the whole process with a “What the hell?” sort of attitude, having been alone and recovering from the end of my relationship for...well, A LONG TIME. Clearly, meeting someone, no matter how it might turn out in the end, was an idea whose time had come, if only to get me out of my yoga pants on a Saturday night. Would I find a fling? A friend with benefits? Would it be a string of weirdos who would at least give me writing fodder, blog entries called “Horrible First Date, Number 73?” Would my blind date flex his muscles at me at the bar or ask me how many miles I had run that morning (obviously, ZERO) or text all during dinner or tell me that teaching theater was a very “cute” way to make a living? My expectations, eHarmony, were low. If I’m being an honest 5 on a scale of 5.

Every journey starts with a single step, and since I am a woman long used to being In Charge, I set out on your little website with a business-like plan to pick someone. Anyone, really, to be First Guy. Just to get it over with, no big hopes. Just to get out there. But then I saw…well, this smile. Dark hair, twinkly eyes, whose profile basically said, “Nice Guy seeks an up-front, positive woman who understands busy schedules and hard work and that kids are priority, and values both adventure and quiet time on the couch.” He sounded ideal. But what about the little things? There is not a place on your profile “wish list” to include things like: Looking for a man who will hold open the door. Who will hold my hand from the penguins all the way to the top of the giant turtle tank on an Aquarium third date and remember the quirks of my murderous cat. Who will bring me both wildflowers and a mix CD before week one is even over, and who will render me legless by unexpectedly kissing my ear at the dessert counter.

Based on my experiences so far, you might need to consider updating your questionnaire.

And I know you advise taking everything very slowly and approaching intimacy with care and caution, but honestly, eHarmony, what can you do when you look at his face for the first time and literally hear your own voice in your head say, VERY LOUDLY, “Yep. This guy.” What can you do? You go with it. And the new story begins.

You have all of these commercials with beautiful couples nudging each other with their elbows and tossing their heads back in laughter and gazing at each other with such a sense of affection and true companionship. And on my cynical days, I would just shake my head and fight back the uncharacteristic taste of bitterness those commercials would leave. But clearly, eHarmony, something in those images must have resonated. The quiet part of me that longed for someone who would look at me like that, who would know me like that, who could make me laugh and blush and sigh must have somehow still believed that those stories were real and possible. Something inside me kept the faith that even though I was 40-plus and mothering teenagers, it could still happen, against the statistical odds. And so I kept writing my vision-board-ish journal entries about Mr. Wonderful, who would be able to cook and think to hold my coat for me and be a super invested, connected dad. And - though this is basically impossible, of course, but since I was ordering him up from the Universe I figured I might as well include the following CRAZY little quirks: He will give me reason to visit random cities, like, say, Nashville or Minneapolis, because he would have to travel for work and not mind having me around to keep him company in airport waiting rooms. And, though this is REALLY pushing it, could you maybe make him able to tolerate show-tunes and someday sit in a dark theater with me as an overture rises and hold my hand? And if it isn’t still too much to ask, (though I know it is) might he possibly be comfortable drinking scotch and smoking cigars with Chris and Tom and the guys? How about good grammar, nice lips, maybe an interest in wine and lingerie? (On me, preferably.) Yeah. I know. That’s just Crazytown 101. But still…if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream Big. And extremely specifically.

This is a long introduction to a very short story, eHarmony, because this story starts and finds its Happily Ever After in a New York minute. I found him, literally one day after signing up for your fine service. He said yes, then we both said yes yes yes, and now we are planning picnics and buying tickets and sharing confidences. No one can predict the future, but this today we have found? Beautiful. Inspirational. Healing. So, I hate to say it, eHarmony, because you did a very nice job, but you’ve just lost yourself a couple of prime subscriptions. We are all set.

Let us know when you need us to film our commercial.

Kelly and Adam
Because we’re an “and” now.

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