In previous versions of this site we’ve pilloried “Hannity Date” for its creepy and quite often hilarious program of coupling like-minded wingnuts on the Internets… With that concept in mind — and this is posted just for fun as much as anything else — I’ve got a question after the break…

Okay, so e-harmony and other such sites claiming to match up people according to various metrics — or as they call it “levels of compatibility” — which sounds good in theory (albeit counterintuitive to the more emotional and viscerally magnetic theorems whereby opposites attract), how do they actually work out in practice? Does anyone have statistics on that? I would wager they’re most likely bullshit, but of course, I could be wrong… Still, I’d be intensely curious to know more about the numbers, and in particular about the couples featured in their ads to see how their “harmonious” relationships worked out in real life.


24 Replies to “C-Harmony”

  1. Man, I was glad to see your comment. I’ve always been creeped out by EHarmony ads–their methodology reduces what we are to the merely robotic. I’ve just never seen anyone suggest that they felt the same way before, although Googling might well prove me ignorant.

  2. Dawg, actually I recall hearing that e-Harmoney had a religious bent from people who are acquainted with the various dating sites. They suggested that the company was mostly concerned with creating good christian families. Alas, I am also too lazy to actually do the googling!

  3. I lied, I went googling and found out that e-Harmony came under fire for not matching homosexuals and suggesting that non-religious people were more likely to cheat (along with people who have been emotionally or sexually abused).

  4. I don’t anything about these things. The last experience I had with anything remotely resembling this was back in the 80’s, when a dear but needy friend decided she was going to find a man through the personals. After a string of casual meet ups with a slew of losers, she gave up. I believe she’s a nun now. 😉

  5. There’s a girl that travels with my hubby on VIA (commuting to Toronto). She (makes very good money and it’s very expensive apparently uses a dating company, but I don’t know if it’s eHarmony.

    I do know that she’s dated so many men in the last couple of years everyone is laughing at her. According to her, they end up to be jerks (most last 2 or 3 months). Her criteria is “money/professional” – I have to wonder why a guy with money, that is well educated would need a site like this. She was upset because her brother says most of them look like those photos on America’s Most Wanted posters.

  6. Navvy — I’ve heard that there’s some kind of a religious tilt to E-Harmony but haven’t bothered to delve into the matter in any great detail. Apparently, some gays were upset at being barred from it, took them to court, got a settlement in their favour and the E-Harmony folks then had to set up some kind of alternative gay-friendly site as a result.

    Or something like that.

    It’s all kind of a mystery to me, but their relentless ads on TV do creep me out on some level and I’ve been more than a little curious about the methodology behind their claims of helping to achieve “compatibility” between couples as a way to an harmonious relationship. The essential notion of that seems open to question at the very least. In other words, can that idea be verified in practice?

  7. Sandi — The whole concept of fishing around for dates and/or mates online horrifies me. I’m given to understand that many people do it, but I can’t possibly imagine what might be involved. That’s why I’ll say that I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to such things — I don’t even like the salacious ads that appear in the local alternative newspaper. It’s just bizarre and kind of repulsive in so many respects.

  8. RT – May I be so bold as to suggest a post on the situation of the Liberals in Quebec. Just a suggestion.

    As for these on-line dating services, some people I know swear by them, and it does broaden the pool of potential mates.

  9. Red,

    Skeptic Magazine did an article recently that basically demonstrated that the claims to scientific results are nonsense, and furthermore, that they are not likely to come up with anything resembling scientific claims any time soon.

    The article is in the Vol.15, No.1, 2009 issue. I don’t really have the time right now to give more details on it, but if I find some time I might relay some of the major points.

    For what it’s worth, I think that any method that gets dates for people who have trouble otherwise getting them (e.g., through socially uncomfortable situations, like the bar scene) is difficult to criticize. I do, however, take issue with them making bogus claims as the efficacy or the success rate – inasmuch as I take issue with any lies told in the name of advertising. That is, not very much, since it’s so ludicrously common.

  10. RT,

    As a Red Tory, you may want to give cHarmony a wide berth. Unless you want that kind of spice and dynamic from your date.

    Getting $#it faced at some country bar waving $50 bills around is probably all you need to do to start trolling for cougars.

  11. I must admit. I actually attended a very nice wedding with a couple who met on E-Harmony or some dating site (I fully recognized that I am embarrassingly acting as a advert here). I was surprised, but given the fact that I come from a large family and am exposed to the relationship overtures of my siblings, I have to say, going it alone is pretty tricky. It appears that going on a dating site is the venue of last resort. I even heard one of my friends use “Just Lunch” in which you have lunch with a potential companion. There is something unsettling about mechanizing this whole process in such a short period of time. One must wonder just who is amenable to such an arrangement. But hey, if the clock is ticking….

  12. I know a number of couples who met on the internet, and I don’t see the problem with it. This is in the mid-twenties age group, btw. Attractive people, even. I also had a boss in his fifties who met his wife a few years back on the internet, and they’re a great couple.

    You can strike up a quick conversation with people rather quickly, weed out the immediately creepy without feeling obligated to finish a beer, meet up with potentials, blah blah. I haven’t done it myself, but I see no reason to see it as creepy. It’s just quicker, less hassle. Any relationship that develops is no less valid just because there is a (rapidly fading) social stigma about it. Once all you old farts die off, no one will be around who thinks that meeting people on the internet is icky 🙂

    You can also be more honest; “I want casual NSA sex,” “Me and the boyfriend want a bi girl,” “I want to suck a straight guys dick.” All these things are easier to filter for on the internet than they are in dance clubs and bowling teams.

    I dunno.

    Seems easier to match make, no matter what kind of relationship you are looking for.

  13. Drake — I’ll try to deal with your comment in two parts.

    First, the supposed difficulties of the LPC in Quebec bores me deeply, so I have no real interest in going there. If you want to natter on about it, knock yourself out, but I have neither the time, inclination or, quite frankly, knowledge to speak to the issue. Besides, I presume you just want to crow over what you perceive as problems within the LPC.

    Second, I never had to make the slightest effort to pick up women and was married at 23, so the notion of there being a “pool of potential mates” out there is quite alien to me. Therefore, I find the idea of trolling for dates online quite disturbing.

  14. Gordon — No, there’s nothing wrong with it per se, but to me the idea of “shopping” for sex or relationships (and conversely advertising for it) seems a bit weird.

    Again, this why I’ve said that I’m kind of an old-fashioned prude when it comes to this sort of thing. To each his/her own affair by all means — whatever floats your boat and all that — but to me personally, it has a high degree of creepiness associated with it. I’m not passing judgment; it’s just my own feeling.

  15. Dave — I wasn’t aware of the article, but that’s essentially what I was alluding to. I think the marketing claims of E-Harmony and other such sites are preposterous and would like to see them debunked, but at the same time, as you suggested, it’s hard to knock them too hard if they are actually helping people hook up with one another in ways that are possibly rewarding to all concerned.

  16. I remember a movie called “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” that came out when discos and bars opened up allowing women (without escorts) – I think the same thing could apply to this online stuff.

  17. I, too, am passionate about cutting government spending and feel that art is the liberals’ way of tricking me into being homosexual.

    damn, i man darn, rick mercer into teasing me with the idea that cHarmony is real…….

  18. I had a profile on Match.com for a few years. For someone who was busy, wasn’t into the bar scene and didn’t live in the gaybourhood, it made sense. It was the only way to connect with people.

    But no matter how many things I had in common with someone on paper, most first dates were a real disappointment. Chemistry is something that can only be determined when you meet. And often having a lot in common on paper gave people the impression that there would be a guaranteed match. When it didn’t happen, it was a real letdown.

    Ironically, I met the guy I am dating now online, but he is a blogger. We started commenting on each others’ blogs, realized we lived about a mile away from each other, met and hit it off.

  19. I guess one essential point is the notion of “compatibility.” Do folks get along when they agree with everything, and see and feel things the same way?

    I would suggest not. The spice is in the dialectic.

  20. eHarmony was founded by an evangelical who used to have ties with James Dobson, and thus its initial customer base tended to be evangelical Christians, though eHarmony’s founder, Neil Clark Warren, pushed for expansion into the “secular” market–Salon.com had a good interview with him at the time. Warren really had no intention of marketing his service to homosexuals, but he claims eHarmony’s algorithms are based on decades of psychological research on heterosexual couples and the data isn’t there for GLBT couples yet. Take that as you will.

    I’ve tried eHarmony and haven’t found it full of devout religionists–I’m assuming when it was rolled out to Canada, we aren’t swimming in large numbers of conservative Christians so the initial pool of customers was more diverse. Also, they have other avenues (an evangelical friend of mine met his wife through a Christian dating site). I’ve also had no success with it. I don’t find it more effective than any of its competitors, but maybe because eHarmony unrealistically raises expectations. Their commercials are definitely creepy. As a friend noted, all the “couples” featured seem to have been paired on the basis of skin tone.

    I’ve known other people who’ve successfully found partners through the web, but none who credit eHarmony. Most seem to find each other through chat rooms and the like rather than dedicated dating sites. But I haven’t found making initial contact with potential dates via the internet creepy. Running off with someone half a world away you’ve only had online relations with–absolutely creeps me out. Making arrangements to meet for coffee for the first time–no big deal.

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