Friday, June 22, 2007

I Rationally Deconstruct eHarmony's Relationship Profile

People change,, and it wouldn't kill you to let users update their personality profile. Maybe I've matured since eHarmony did it's algorithm-match thing for me, and I'd like to find out. I'm still answering honestly — I think that's really the only way to find the woman of my dreams... or the woman who can tolerate me — but there's always the chance that eHarmony will find deep inside me reservoirs of affability I never knew I had. I got a new email address, so a brand new Relationship Questionnaire will follow, and let's see where it takes me.

The first page of the eHarmony profile is just basic personal info, plus (I think) your soulmate's height and age, so onto the profound stuff, right?

Page Two. Oh... I remember why I stopped this. "What is your personal income?" Less than $20,000 — although I like how $0 is an option, too. This seems superfluous; first, last time I was in math class, zero is less than twenty-thousand, and second, how many homeless people are actually posting profiles on eHarmony in the first place? And then there's another problem question, which is "How important is your match's income to you?" The short answer is, like everything else in this stupid survey, I don't know. There are so many ways of interpreting this question — are they asking if I wouldn't be happy unless I married rich? I think most people's gut response, certainly mine, to the idea of marrying into wealth is that it would be great. No sitting in traffic commuting, or ordering a small coffee to save money, and you can make a hobby out of getting ineffective plastic surgeries. (I can't believe those trophy wives haven't filed lawsuits yet.)

But Western society also has a complicated, several-millenia old history of gender relations, and frankly I already have an inferiority complex without a pre-nup and yet another, quantitative, measure of my worth. Maybe they're asking how important it is that my "match" have a similar income to me? Or is it a negative question, would I reject my "match," my soul mate that God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen for me, because she's poor? How much of a golddigger am I — what if I loved her in every other way, would the money still matter to me? Would I even give us a chance to find out? Plus, there's political correctness to take into account: I think this is a good question to be wishy-washy over, on a scale of one to seven, I'm choosing a three.

My ethnicity: that's easy.

What ethnicities would you be willing to accept as matches? Mother-fucker! Maybe I'm reading too much into this, because you look around the room and.... Maybe it's just me, since I've never really asked anyone about this, but everybody I know who's married is married within their race. I see people walking down the street holding hands, and they're usually the same race. You look around the room and you first focus on people of certain races. You have to pick someone to talk to, to get to know, and it's not like you've got a ton of information about them. I guess I can check off all the ethnicities here without feeling like a liberal guilt jackass this time; presumably eHarmony takes care of the awkward compatibility testing, and then I've noticed that no matter what their appearance is, people look a lot more attractive once you get to know them. I guess "How important is your match's ethnicity?" Not very.

Now I get to describe my appearance, via vague characteristics and this coarse seven-point scale. (FYI: Seven means the given characteristic describes you perfectly.) Rank the degree to which I'm: well-groomed, handsome, athletic, overweight, fit, and sexy. Well, Mom says I'm handsome... Here goes, in order: 4, 4, 2, 2, 3, 2, but that last one's really for women and himbos, right? I want to explore this a bit further...