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Letter to the Editor:
eHarmony Feels Like a Job Fair

About six months ago, I decided to give online dating a try. The experience has been educational, to say the least. And, I wish I would have had a better idea of what online dating was really like before I signed up - which is why I'm writing this letter. Maybe my take on things will be useful to someone trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge. I joined, but from what I've read it sounds like my experience would have been similar at other dating sites.

I thought was going to be like a big cocktail party, to which my friend, Dr. Neil Clark Warren ( founder) had invited some men that he thought I would like. These men and I would cyber-meet-and-mingle, chat, and get to know one another a little better. After brief, but pleasant chats, most of the time the gentleman and I would then part and move on to mingle with other guests at the party. Hopefully, some of us would find that we enjoyed each other's company enough to continue our conversation outside the party, but if not, at least I would have had an enjoyable time meeting some new people.

Instead, feels like a giant Job Fair where there are a lot more applicants than there are available jobs. So, I'm going from table to table, dressed in my best interview suit, with my resume in hand and at each table, the man sitting there is comparing my resume and appearance to his long, long list of "Essential Mate Qualities." And when, inevitably, I don't measure up, he says, "No, I'm not interested in talking to you. Please move along." I'm not having fun here.

Will I try online dating again? Probably not. For one thing, the seemingly single-minded focus on physical appearance is disturbing. If I had a dollar for every average-looking middle-aged man that specified his mate must be above average in attractiveness, well, I'd probably have enough to pay for another month's membership in Yes, I'll admit it, in spite of what my mother says, I'm average-looking myself, but I'm not out there looking for a George Clooney look-alike, either. For another thing, I'm both amazed and horrified at the long and specific lists many men have for potential mates: tall, slender, long brown hair, green eyes, well-educated, looks hot in a bikini, likes to work out at the gym, enjoys cooking and cleaning the bathroom, can scuba dive, doesn't have children, non-smoker, social drinker, wants sex twice a day, has a good job, speaks Portugese... OK, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

I think for now I'm going to stick to real-life cocktail parties where men and women can experience the total picture: not just your appearance, but your facial expressions and body language, your laugh and voice, the way you interact with the people around you, even the way you smell.
~ Vickie T.

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