Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Match.com vs. Matchmaker

I have never been a fan of online dating. Quite simply, the data doesn't pan out. Websites give the erroneous impression that dating is about compatibility, but it isn't; it's about how two individuals interact, even with polar opposite personalities. And that is operating under the assumption that one is being honest on their profile.

Carolyn Bucior wrote an hysterical article chronicling her online dating adventures.  
The men wrote simple, declarative sentences like “I like to laugh” and “I like food.” One loved summer. Another loved fall. But they didn’t explore the issue. It was headlines only.
What was the rest of the story? I like fall because the crisp dry weather makes me feel energetic? I like fall because the first frost puts an end to my seasonal allergies? I like fall because I find it easier to hide the corpses under the freshly fallen leaves? 
Then the website insisted that a perv was definitely her "match."

And how did she end up meeting her man? 

A shidduch date. 

OK, fine, she was set up by mutual friends. Same thing. 
In the end, I met Alex the old-fashioned way: through mutual friends in Milwaukee. Friends who knew I was quiet, goal-oriented and overly critical. Friends who knew Alex to be thoughtful, brilliant, politically astute and uncompromising.
He lived far away (258 miles), and while we both had tried eHarmony, we had checked off that a match must live nearby . . . On our second date, Alex revealed a trait (smoking) that I would have considered a deal breaker on a computerized checklist. I didn’t criticize . . . 
We were married the next year, which was when he fully realized, very much to his discontent, that I chattered over breakfast. He pretty much hates that trait in me. But many mornings he compromises, an indication that the whole story of compatibility is more than the sum of our descriptors.
Annoying quirks are within us all, but when it comes to relationships, there is always what one is willing to put up with. 
I hope online dating never replaces one of the oldest professions in the world: in-person matchmaking. No computerized program can beat the intuition and good intentions of friends who are willing to introduce two middle-aged singles, step back and let them figure out if they “share extraordinary levels of compatibility in areas proven to create relationship success.”

In other words, if they can fall in love.


Anonymous said...

I agree online dating sites are not ideal. but in this day and age with shadachanim calling only the select few what other alternatives are there for someone to take control over their own dating life instead of staying single.

Princess Lea said...

Firstly, the term "shadchan" is terribly misused nowadays. A "shadchan" is simply someone, anyone, who set up two people successfully.

There is a couple out there who was set up by my mother. Ergo, she was their shadchan. Is she a "shadchan" shadchan? No.

I find that those who did not grow up being familiar with the shidduch system erroneously believe it is about a woman who self-titled herself as such. In the end, one should be focused on their own personal circle of friends, family, and acquaintances who can help them network.

Secondly, when it comes to dating and that whole bashert business, there is no such thing as taking control. There is the illusion of control, but in the end two people meet when they are supposed to.

Maya Resnikoff said...

Thanks for the motivation- my husband and I make an effort to try to introduce folks who seem like they might work well together, but it's often tough going- this one's too frum for that one, or getting people in the same place at the same time is hard. Hearing that singles find it worthwhile is a good reminder that we should just keep making efforts.

Princess Lea said...

Singles very much appreciate it! Being a shadchan is very hard; whenever I've tried it it has blown up in my face, spectacularly so. But I try not to let that keep me from shadchaning again. As long as I have made the effort, it counts.

Singles only get aggravated when we are being treated like unreasonable pieces of meat. :)

Lost and Found said...

Out of curiosity, do you believe that there is any sort of tool a dating website could create that you think would be helpful towards setting singles up in a way that matches people up? Or are they pretty much "useless" in that sense?

Princess Lea said...

As long as it is on the internet, devoid of human presence, no "tool" will help.

I think we should just relax about dating. The more we overanalyze it, the more we suck any sort of enjoyment or romance out.

Lost and Found said...

Fair enough.