Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yesterday, in a fit of boredom, I thought I'd amuse myself with eHarmony.com, that matchmaking website that promises to hook you up based on "the twenty-nine dimensions crucial to relationship success." That old dude comes on the TV commercials with all those happily married couples he's helped set up thanks to eHarmony's free individualized personality profiles, and I'm thinking, "Damn, I need to get me a free individualized personality profile."

So you've seen those annoying online personality tests, right? They used to be popular back in the heydey of the Internet, before people thought to use the medium for more significant projects. You'd rate yourself on these various traits — Are you enthusiastic? Are you lenient? Are you over-caffienated? — and after some computer math, you'd get a printout describing your personality. It's like a shrink, but in multiple choice.

Same kind of idea with eHarmony. There's about two-hundred rate-yourself questions and then just to throw you off, every now and then they ask a free-response question. I had to somehow determine, say, how sexy I am on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 7 (extremely) and there's no temptation to fudge the numbers just a little bit.

I tried to answer pretty honestly because, as I'm sure the personality test could've told you, I'm obsessive about things like that. It took about an hour to finish and I clicked "Submit" to get a list of hot, compatible single women and here's what eHarmony came up with:

Unable to Match You at this Time

eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants to fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.
Yes, that's right, I'm such a freak that eHarmony won't even try to find someone for me. A cold, unfeeling machine tells you how your odds of finding a soulmate among the three billion potentials on this planet are so small it wouldn't even bother to look — if you think that's not depressing....

Anyway, the personality profile that I was so curious about basically told me stuff that I already knew. Which, come to think of it, how self-unaware do you have to be before you've got a computer psychoanalyzing you?