How do you feel about eHarmony?
Have you ever met anyone on any dating sites?
In the past I met one guy, and while he was gorgeous and talented, selfless and an eloquent speaker (total prerequisites if you wanna be my lover) our dating fizzled after a few months, and it wasn’t because we lived ninety minutes apart. Distance wasn’t the issue-comfortable compatibility was. We related on every level possible, but after a while, it was like dating myself (sans the gorgeous and talented part…and the eloquent…never mind), and it really sort of grew boring. We remained good friends, and now, ten years, a husband, a daughter, and a baby boy on the way, we’re still friends and catch up once every few Christmases or so.
One person who does have a success story is my best friend, Claire*.
Claire, God love her, dated every local man within a 15-mile radius, and while we didn’t live in a large, thriving metropolis, it was still pretty impressive. Claire has classic good looks: thick, dark hair that tumbles just so halfway down her back, aquamarine eyes that seem to always be laughing, and a full, pouty mouth that men at bars and parks and driving ranges couldn’t tear their eyes away from if they tried. Needless to say, Claire had no issue getting men to notice her; it was more an issue of one party always coming undone and losing interest a few weeks into the courting that did it.
Claire finally bucked up and joined eHarmony, and to make a long story short, ultimately met her husband on there–on the first try.
I sat down with Claire to help her retell the story.
Sarah: So, ahem, Claire. [laughter] How are you today?
Claire: Oh, you know, pretty good. You?
Sarah: Good, thanks. So, you know why we’re here –
Claire: [interrupting] – To make me relive one of the more embarrassing parts of my life? Why yes, I do. [she smirks]
Sarah: Oh come on now. I was there. It wasn’t that bad. It’s just rehashing it for your family to see all over again that really needles you.
Claire: Well, it wasn’t an easy task telling them I’d met (and become engaged to) someone “off the internet.” Especially since they’d had such high hopes for…never mind. We can scratch any of this from the record, if you think it’s necessary.
Sarah: Oh, it’s not necessary. Not at all. So, Claire. Tell me how you met Henry, what you guys did on your first date, and then of course what happened between your second and third dates that really made your wheels turn.
Claire: Must I? … [makes a face] Yes, I know. OK. You know the bulk of the story; you were always there–I’d meet a guy, be interested for a few weeks, almost get to the point of introducing him to my family, and then one of us would lose interest. And you know my family–they’re loud, they’re not all that reserved, and there are a lot of them. Introducing a man to my family is big business in that it’d never been done before. At least not by me, at that point. [Claire clears her throat] So, after a bunch of failed dates in a row, and that one time we both tried speed dating –
Sarah: – That’s not necessary; it’s not part of your story, Claire.
Claire: Oh, Sarah doesn’t like it when I inject her business into the interview? I see how it is. [evil grin] Anyway, after that one disastrous time we both tried speed dating [I kick Claire under the table we’re sitting at in our favorite coffee bistro], I figured I was doing something wrong, seeking men in the wrong places, and as you know I’m not the biggest grocery shopper or library fanatic, those two places seemed out, because it wasn’t genuine. I decided to create a profile on eHarmony one night, and by the next day, I’d had three men email me. One was definitely out–he lived halfway across the country, for crying out loud. That narrowed my options down to two: a man named Jamie, and another named Henry. Didn’t I always seem to end up with the guys whose names ended in ‘ie’ or ‘y’? Weird.
Sarah: So who did you respond to first, Henry or Jamie?
Claire: Well, Jamie lived closer, though they were both within my geographical areas of interest, so initially I’d responded to him first. I’d already checked out his profile, and he didn’t look like a serial murderer–had a job, a dog, actual friends, and hobbies, too–so after talking to him a few times, I set up a date for the following month, contingent upon things continuing to go well “on the internet.” If my parents knew, at that point, what I was doing, they’d have been appalled. Stalking men on the internet and giving out my telephone number. “We raised you better than that, Claire!” is what they’d say.
Sarah: Oh I know.
Claire: But I was a twenty-five year-old woman with a career of my own and an apartment of my own, too. It wasn’t as if I had to tell Mommy and Daddy what I was doing every minute of the day.
Sarah: Don’t get defensive, now.
Claire: Whatever, Sarah. Anyway. Around the time I’d responded to Jamie, I also sent Henry an email because from his profile he seemed very sweet. I didn’t want him to think I was this ignorant hag who didn’t even have the decency to respond to a lovely email. So I messaged him, and he responded within ten minutes. My hackles immediately went up, and my “stalker” radar went nuts. I mean, was he waiting all this time for a response that he’d sat at his computer and waited and waited? And then I realized that I was being crazy and me-centric, and let it go. His response email was even sweeter than the first–very understanding and not seeking too much information too soon.
Sarah: You always did like to be the pursuer and not the pursuee.
Claire: You’ve got that right. So later on in the week, it started looking like I was the pursuer, and Henry wasn’t giving up too much information despite my crafty go-round questions I’d answer first and hope he’d answer in return. That always worked before but not with Henry. I’d become increasingly obsessed with finding out about Henry, so much so that I cancelled the date with Jamie that had been coming up the following week. I suggested to Henry that we meet up for something simple–like coffee–and he immediately OK’d the idea, taking the initiative to pick the time, date, and place (which was a relief, since I’d started thinking that he wasn’t even interested anymore), and we signed off with plans to meet at this very coffee hub the next day.
Sarah: Did you guys sit right here, at this table?
Claire: Oh come on now, these questions are getting ridiculous…Yes, we did, actually.
Sarah: You dog.
Claire: So, right, we meet the next day–right here, this coffee shop, this table–and it was immediate. I know that sounds really corny, and I still insist that there’s no such thing as ‘love at first sight’, but there was definitely attraction–for me, at any rate-at first site; after all this time I still can’t speak for the cryptic Henry. We spent four hours at this table, and after sitting idle over the last cup of the night, we were finally asked to leave.
Sarah: Are you kidding me? We come here all the time. We probably spend 15% of our annual salary here. And they asked you to leave?
Claire: Well, with respect to the owners, it was twenty minutes past closing time. [laughs]
Sarah: Oh. Well, OK then.
Claire: We ended up going to an all-night diner, where we ordered a late, late dinner, since all we’d had since 6 PM were three large coffees each, and continued talking. Henry was the most intelligent, thoughtful, think-before-you-speak man I’d ever met in my life, and I still couldn’t believe the luck I’d had in finding him online of all places. Naturally, the conversation turned to that very topic, and I had to ask: what brought you to online dating? [she pauses]
Claire: And he said that it was a first-time thing for him, a fluke. He was surfing the internet one night when a pop-up appeared from eHarmony, and he thought, ‘Why not?’. He wasn’t even seeking anything in particular out when he filled out his profile and claimed he didn’t expect anything to come out of it when he emailed me, though he’d hoped. I told him my story, all about my previous dating escapades and how comically tragic some of them ended, and instead of cringing and making excuses to leave, he actually laughed and shared some of his own. I mean, you know I’m not a jealous person or anything, but in the past, when former-relationship stories came out of the woodwork, it usually meant the date (and potential relationship) was over, but this wasn’t the case. I wasn’t jealous, and instead of wondering why he was rejected by other women, I found humor in the situations and shook my head that any woman would overlook him.
Sarah: So, would you say that was when you knew that this would be a “thing”?
Claire: Yeah, definitely. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, and moreso, worried as to what I’d have to tell my parents–I mean, come on: “I met him on an internet dating site”?–but I was confident this guy was the one I’d spend the rest of my life with and at that point, the worry about what to tell other people and the attached stigma of: Oh no!–online dating kind of disappeared. More important things took its place, like where our next date would be. And when. SOON.
Sarah: Alright, well, we’ve gone on much, much longer than I thought we would have. Damn you can talk.
Claire: It’s probably why we’re such good friends. [another under-table kick]
Sarah: Ouch. Right. Something like that. So to conclude, how did your family take it, how did the rest of the relationship pan out, and where are you today?
Claire: Well, two nights later, I took Henry home to meet my family, and though they completely freaked when I told them I met someone off the internet [in a shrill voice, she squeaks, “…But Claire, how do you know he’s not some weirdo, pedophile, axe-murderer?”], they were gracious enough when they finally met him. You know. Two days after I told them I’d kind of met the love of my life. A little skeptical ‘til they saw that he was, indeed, a normal person and didn’t hack me to bits in the first three months of dating, but it was progress. Not that they could have changed my mind anyway. We dated for another nine months, and on our one-year anniversary, Henry showed up at my apartment with a bouquet of daisies and a ring in a box. I was so happy I cried; we started planning the wedding the following month and were married six months after that. We’re married for two years, now, as you know, and hey, oh, right. We’re expecting our first child.
Sarah: WHAT! You didn’t tell me this! When were you going to tell me this?! You were planning on telling me this, right? Eventually?
Claire: Yeah, but I figured this’d be the most fun way to do it.
Sarah: You are so in trouble when we leave here. Ugh! Last, I guess, to wrap this up, why did you choose eHarmony over the rest of the dating sites out there?
Claire: That’s simple. It was the least-cheesy, the most reputable, and didn’t make me fill out teenage-themed personality tests like, “What’s your favorite movie, Twilight or Twilight?” Plus, the commercials make me sort of soft inside. That’s officially stricken from the record.
Sarah: Oh, you think so do you? Stricken from the record my a …
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of certain individuals and to prevent them from enduring any further family-poking
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