E-Romance Is Smarter Than You Think

Going on four years at UCSD, I’ve learned that scoring a decent date from the general pool is just short of impossible — considering 99 percent of on-campus pickup conversations fall flat after, “What’s your major?”

That’s where Internet dating sites — widely viewed as the crux of societal shame — swoop in to save the day. So-called desperates try to salvage a potential future with their kindred souls, dreaming of marriage, a white picket fence and guaranteed sex for a lifetime.

I’ve been one to believe that my own intellect and sexual prowess (stop laughing) will score me a male suitor with an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney. But whenever I review my roster of former flames (read: past errors in judgment), I wonder if eHarmony could have automatically weeded out these bachelors faster than the handful of dates I endured.

Under the alias of “Sandy,” I decided to give the whole online hookup machine a whirl — for the sake of research, of course. Though slightly alarmed at the maniacal smiles of eHarmony’s featured couples (next gig, Prozac ad), I began to answer the encyclopedia-length questionnaire, all about me. Turns out finding a husband online is almost as time-consuming as chasing live tail under the Loft’s strobe lights.

But just before the site lulled me to sleep, I startled at page nine. It was dedicated to asking me three billion questions about religion: what my spirituality is, which faith I would consider in a spouse, etc. Filing through my mental archive of lost loves, I believe Suitor No. 2 in the life of Kelsey had to be removed because of — ding, ding, ding! — his Coptic Orthodox upbringing (aka, he wasn’t Catholic).

OK, eHarmony. Your approach, it seems, is very effective. Most of us have a whole slew of unconscious significant-other requirements, and when we fail to write them out — or, in this case, type them into a system — they can get lost in the romance of sunny strolls on the beach, sharing milkshakes at Ruby’s and moonlight kayaking.

When you have to explicitly rank these preferences via online bubbles, priorities suddenly become a lot clearer. Stuff like religion weighs more than cute little dimples, and the folks at eHarmony — who probably would’ve e-mailed me an “I told you so” after my relationship with this guy ended — can take care of this problem before it even begins. One point for online dating.

With this in mind, I stuck around to see what Sandy would have to do next in her search for the perfect husband. After checking off a waterfall of adjectives to describe myself, I realized just how great the temptation to fabricate Sandy’s persona was: seductive, posh, dominant. How accurate could this matchup even be? Arnold the dung-shoveler from Topeka, Kan., could pretend to be some kind of Greek god with every quality Sandy could dream of, but sooner or later, the truth would surface, and it would be back to the drawing board — er, ACS computer lab.

But online con artists aren’t the only ones who — for lack of a better word — bullshit in the process of pursuing a girl. Take Suitors No. 1 and No. 4 in my real life: Both fellows starred in Oscar-nominated performances about how heavy drinking and partying didn’t matter to them — understanding me as someone who didn’t generally get turned on by stumbling, babbling idiots ending up unconscious on the bathroom floor. So when their inner drunkies couldn’t help but burst through the seams of their too-tight, straight-edge guises, I could only wonder how possible it would have been for me to spot this earlier. As possible as detecting an online sham, perhaps?

At this point, I admit I’m not quite ready to fill out a “Kelsey” profile — which would suspiciously resemble Sandy’s — to hook in some stranger on the Internet. But that’s not to say that, in the future, I won’t consider this kind of in-depth assistance. So far, eHarmony is a hell of a lot more thorough in filtering out bad eggs than my own instincts have been.

Finding love shouldn’t be thought of as some kind of mathematical formula (damn you, UCSD) that you can apply universally; whatever road leads me to my better half will be worth the degradation of having my personality digitally mapped.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal