Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

E-Harmony Or Egads?

April 2, 2007

Online matching services are a part of the new dating scene brought about by the Internet. There can be good and bad experiences. One of my five daughters met her husband online. I’ve met many loving couples who got their start through online matching services.

This is uncharted territory for everyone. It comes with reliving self-conscious anxieties of adolescent adequacy and the kindling of romantic hope as men and women search for love and connection. A North Dakota reader sent me this humorous take on what it is like to be online.

The ink was barely dry on the divorce decree, when I came to a decision, one quite surprising for me. This is the girl who hardly knows the difference between a download and the down low.

However, having a business background, I am abundantly aware of the axiom that it doesn't matter how good you are or the quality of the product you are selling, if no one is aware it exists. you have to advertise - market your product - ME!! This should be no sweat. I was weaned on sports and pinochle, what's not to like?

So, with much trepidation, tempered with new found resolve, I began the online dating process. Come on fellows, I'm not Medusa. No one who has gazed upon me has turned to stone, yet... initial matches were curiously silent, but slowly things began to sputter along.

Finally a potential live one, a business man that apparently had some gray matter going on between his ears and was interested in me (see, he's brighter than he knows). Progress was swift and smooth, until he suggested exchanging photos. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but the only thing I learned about cut and paste was in kindergarten.

Finally with some help from friends, a digital photo was uploaded and sent along. He emailed me back, saying I looked like Marilyn Monroe. Now I know I’ve never been accused of that before. After the fateful photo exchange, the online process accelerated to warp speed and a phone call was planned.

Yikes, for someone who was chatty online, he was suddenly silent. Dead air makes me nervous, so I dove right in, where angels fear to tread. I asked him to clarify his comparison of me to Marilyn Monroe: Was it the live one or the dead one?

Maybe he didn't appreciate my sense of humor, maybe it was the fact that he was a widower and I was a divorcee. Whatever the reason, before the phone call was over, I knew this match was finished. Oh, I read it all. Men still pining for their sainted deceased wives, men still in love with their ex's.

Another, insisting that "reserved sex" was very important to him. What the heck is that? I wanted to send him to the local funeral home. Would the gals there be still and quiet enough for his tastes?

Or how about the ones wanting companionship in the form of someone thirty years younger. I've dubbed that the "Harry met Sally" syndrome. Remember the memorable line, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" The sweet young thing replies, "What happened to Teddy?"

My friends suggested another website. So I checked out the local possibilities for the men in my age group. Oh my goodness. Is this website a cruelty joke, or what? One said he was on work release (if it was a joke, it's on you!). Then several others that made Grizzly Adams look like the poster boy for Gentleman's Quarterly magazine. They looked like scraggly northwoodsmen - and we don't even have any trees here! We do have bathtubs, and they looked like they could sure use one.

Am I putting all my eggs in one basket? Not on your life. I've read tons of dating advise and put it to good use. I’ve spent more time in church than the pope. I’ve cruised the frozen food section in the grocery so much, that I've had to wear my "big ugly" from L.L. Bean, or turn as blue as the kids’ freeze pops.

In addition, I’ve had plenty of advice along the way. My many dear friends, bless them, have been enjoying the ride, living my misadventures vicariously. I was told to go after widowers, because they need someone. Great, I told them. I'd be a greeter at the funeral home front door, that way I’d get first crack at the newly eligible. Taking me seriously, I was told to volunteer as a grief counselor....just perfect!

It was also suggested that I dumb it down.......yessiree, I’ll just go out and git me some "peptobimbo" - that'll do'er. That would probably elicit responses such as: "Are your parents retarded? 'cause you sure are special." My mom even got into the act, sending me an article about pickup bars for the 50+ set in my hometown.

Am I being too fussy? No! Don't get me wrong, I'm not under any illusions. I’m not expecting perfection. After all, men have that Y chromosome issue.... where do I go from here? I am seriously considering ditching e-harmony for e-bay, and letting the men have a bidding war over this babe. For, don't you know, I look like Marilyn, the live one!