When my girlfriend came home almost an hour late from work one day last week, I greeted her by saying, “Don’t worry, I’m just signing up for a dating site.” She gave me a look of shock/confusion, like she couldn’t believe I was calling it quits—it was only the first time she was late and it wasn’t even her fault. But I explained it was for an experiment.
I’d never used a dating site before, unless you count making a fake Gay.com profile to trick my friend Kevin in college into thinking he had a stalker or helping my straight friend Sarah find a non-douchey “meat and potatoes” kind of guy in Bloomington-Normal (no luck).
Signing up for Chemistry.com was as excruciating as an actual chemistry test. It was high school all over again, but instead of multiple choice and equations, it was: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly agree.
Instead of straightforward questions, there were statements such as, “You enjoy the company of others.” I was stumped on whether to agree or strongly agree. Or maybe I should disagree? I mean, does it make me co-dependent if I like being around people? But I don’t want to be considered anti-social. I’m just selective.
In general, strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing seemed too extreme, but when I finished mostly “agreeing” or “disagreeing,” I wondered if the site was going to just categorize me as a total flake. The test was giving me a complex, already. But, I kept on, curious about the women I’d be matched with.
It was more exciting to enter my preferences for the other person—not that I was seriously looking, of course. Among some key traits I rated as “very important,” were that the other person be athletic/toned (as I’m pretty into fitness), a non-smoker and have some sort of higher education, be between 25 and 30, and definitely live in the city—not with parents.
When I finished my profile, I had a notification that I had nine matches already! While I felt a little sleazy getting ready to look through these matches while I’m not at all available or interested, I reminded myself, it’s just work. Plus, I was curious. So it was either continue, or watch “Must Love Dogs” (again).
Within about thirty seconds, I realized Chemistry.com didn’t know me at all. Absolutely none of my suggested potential dates were athletic or toned. In fact, most of their profiles proudly stated they were “big and beautiful” or “full-figured.” While I’m all for confidence, I like someone who shares my love of healthy eating (so we can get drinks and not feel guilty), Jillian Michaels and the gym. I mean, that’s romance, right?
Looking beyond the body-type issue (you know, because I’m really not shallow—just health-conscious), I tried to see if any of these matches had anything in common with me.
One woman’s headline said she was “Luking 4 sumone special.” Listen, I’m a writer. There’s nothing that turns me off more than improper grammar. Another girl listed camping as one of her favorite things to do. I won’t be caught dead in a tent, outside, with mosquitoes, sleeping on the hard ground, waking up damp with morning dew. I mean, gross.
Instead of looking into any more of my “matches,” I planned the perfect kind of getaway—to a city—with my perfect match I found the old-fashioned way: through a mutual friend, in a bar (after the gym). (Jamie Murnane)