This summer I paid the ferryman for a ride down the river Styx. In plain speak, I paid to put a profile on an Internet dating site.
Maybe equating the experience to purgatory is unnecessarily morbid and dramatic since I did enjoy the experience - for the first week.
In June, I filled out a lengthy questionnaire and paid for a three-month subscription on eHarmony. com. Immediately, they sent dozens and dozens of profiles selected as matches to my criteria.
Sifting through the profiles was, at first, fascinating, then wearisome, and then frustration set in.
PAYING FOR IT
For good or for bad, Internet dating has become for singles a primary resource for meeting. But I'd never paid for it before.
When Internet dating began, I took advantage of free offers made to women. I quickly stopped when, last year, sites started to block access to free users, especially our ability to respond to interested - and interesting - messages.
I had never tried a site that matches participants, yet I finally decided to put my buck down for the full-meal deal.
Was it worth it? There is no way to say.
Frankly, I'd give my entire net worth to meet my soul mate - and wouldn't pay the cost of a kumquat to go out with a multitude of perfectly nice, entirely forgettable men.
Is it worth $1 to pull the handle on a Las Vegas slot machine? Sure, if you guarantee me the jackpot.
TAKE THE TIMEIt's a given that dating takes time. Internet dating requires far more relentless amounts of time, with most spent on not-quite-right profiles and weeding through the Mr. Might-Bes.
Not checking regularly - and thereby missing someone interesting - is a fearful specter that haunts all users. A week or two of messages passed back and forth hopefully leads to a date, only to find out that while on paper everything sounds good, in-person chemistry doesn't produce a fizzle, much less a spark.
Every day I logged on to sort through Mr. Wrongs in case Mr. Interesting deigned to reply. I averaged an hour a day, not including time spent on dates - an average that includes days I logged on again and again, in case he had written in the half-hour since I last logged on.
I met great guys this summer, interesting people with great conversation who occasionally introduced me to new things. New things, but I rarely met new personalities.
eHarmony.com advertises matches made using 29 dimensions of compatibility. Compatibility is important, but I think eHarmony.com follows the dating philosophy of "like goes with like." "Opposites attract" and "familiarity breeds contempt" describe my own dating philosophy.
While basic key values must match, I don't want to date myself. I need a contrast, someone who brings something new and interesting, which means something I don't already have.
Matching led to people who shared my best qualities, rather than introducing good qualities I hadn't mastered or considered.
Through eHarmony.com, I'd say I met a higher caliber of men than I'd ever encountered before while Internet dating - and all of them serious about building a relationship. Most of them, unfortunately, reminded me too much of myself.
I love me, but I find time with my mirror dull in the extreme.
IN THE END
I did meet someone this summer, whom I continue to date.
Is he someone special or another reason I'll glad to be done Internet dating? It's too early to tell.
Whether he turns out to be Mr. Right or Mr. Throw-Him-Back, I'm glad for another break from Internet dating and to have someone to chuckle with during it.
Sofia lives in North Seattle. She can be reached at email@example.com.[[In-content Ad]]