EXPERIMENT: To gallop in on a white stallion, sweep my be-taffeta-ed beloved off her pygmy feet, and ride us off into an eco-sustainable sunset: in other words, to fall in love and get married — with eHarmony!

HYPOTHESIS: State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.

As Nerve's new lab rat, I thought I'd go for it all: trade in this dissipated New York sex-mag lifestyle for the American dream: the doting wife, picket fence, and 2.4 screamers. eHarmony will bring me love, permanent love. Just watch: I will take their compatibility profile, be matched with the right woman or women, go on the requisite three dates before meeting the parents, and the rest will be smooth sailing. Nuptials by November!

MATERIALS: Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

• One evening and half a bottle of Maker's consumed in filling out eHarmony's 693-page questionnaire

• The perfect woman, picked from the millions for me by eHarmony's infallible algorithms

• Thoroughbred stallion

METHOD: Describe, step by step, what you did in your experiment.

I'm barely kidding about the questionnaire (you can read mine here): printed out in single-space, it's eleven pages long. Filling it in online, I quickly lost count of how many screens I had clicked through, though after what felt like a half hour, there was a helpful little note at the bottom, "You're eight percent done!" I thought, Great, I guess I won't let my blood just yet.

The thoroughness of eHarmony's inquisition (with probing questions like "How often in the past month have you felt plotted against?") is what separates them from all the other dating sites online. Working from the idea that while opposites might attract, they're less likely to endure, eHarmony tries to pair you with your virtual twin in all the things they think matter ("the key dimensions of personality," they say — but, other than "autonomy" and "kindness," they don't specify). I have to hand it to them; there's a lot more research and science behind their process than you see in the competition, and, like reading that your shampoo has some jungle plant in it you've never heard of, their approach brings forth all our knee-jerk trust in men in lab jackets. And it might just be working; they cite a study saying that "an average of 236 eHarmony members marry every day in the United States as a result of being matched on the site." I could be next!

Overall the whole process feels like taking a Myers-Briggs personality test (remember, the old thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving one?) geared especially for dating and mating. On Match.com, I remember pretty much just needing to be able to spell my own name (difficult for many of their members), but eHarmony wanted to know how stylish I think I am (moderately), how moral (highly, darling, I assure you), and how submissive (uh'). They asked a lot about religion and even "church involvement." What if you go to a mosque or synagogue or Satan's grotto? Do those count?

On a happier note, they asked me if "I waste my time" — can you imagine trying to date someone who said they never did? They gave me a list of adjectives, many of which seemed synonymous (am I more caring, affectionate or warm? More intelligent or thoughtful?) and then asked me to pick. I would have gone with obnoxious and megalomaniacal, but those weren't on there. Some of the questions seemed a little odd: do I enjoy a good joke? Well, it is a good joke. Who would answer no? Pol Pot?

Then there was a series of questions about monogamy that made me a little uncomfortable, though I do think I'm capable of it. They asked about a lot of skill sets, and clearly I have a rather high opinion of my abilities, barring my chances of fixing the family car. At the end, they asked how far I'd go for love; I live in Manhattan, so I said thirty miles. That was the minimum; the reality is probably about fifteen blocks. Drunk as a stepdad and all my inner workings laid bare, I pressed enter. Love loomed on the horizon.

Commentarium (38 Comments)

Jun 10 09 - 12:08am
JS

So that's it? They just take your money and say "um, no dice?" By the way, I liked this one. Good job!

Jun 10 09 - 12:41am
JH

actually it's free to find out they "can't" match you; it was only the psych evaluation that cost the 20 bucks.

Jun 09 09 - 2:18pm
nal

I can echo your experience. Before I found the nerve personals I tried eharmony - total waste of time for an urban, agnostic, intellectual. They kept trying to match me with devout Christians from NJ. Guys whose "five things I can't live without" included "Jesus" and "God" as two separate items. My conclusion was that EHarm isn't designed with dense urban populations in mind. The thiry mile radius alone is a deal breaker. Like I'm going to start dating someone in deep NJ, from Brooklyn! And with all the questions about my religion, not a single one about my politics? Not for city folk...

Jun 10 09 - 12:31pm
KG

A new headline for Adult Friend Finder. Lol.. excellent.

Jun 10 09 - 1:54am
EC

haha i did this as an experiment a week ago
was way frustrated when it came up with no matches
then a day later, my inbox was filled with all these new matches and photo nudges and requests for initiation of conversation
so i deleted my account.

Jun 10 09 - 1:57am
EC

i'm pretty sure you have to pay money in order to see the photos of your matches, too. so the best you can get is their answers to the questions, name, age, and city of dwelling.

Jun 10 09 - 9:15am
EB

I used eharmony for about 6 months in Atlanta and found some of the freakiest broads I've ever encountered. I don't usually go for buttplay on the fourth date -- that's date #5 -- but, hey, when in eharmonyland ...

Jun 10 09 - 1:08pm
MS

Nice to know it's roughly 1 in 5 that is unable to be matched by the system. I also was "rejected" several years ago- I tried it due frustration in finding anyone compatible/suitable (I hear you sb-no short, fat bikers, PLEASE) with me on other sites. It's true what they say, "The more you have to offer someone, the harder it is to find a good/happy match". I eventually settled into a relationship with a young man last year I met at a local hot spot. We are opposites in MANY ways, but, he certainly beats the men I was meeting online!!

Jun 10 09 - 2:09pm
KT

It's pretty old news that eHarmony is a Christian-oriented dating site and that they don't condone same-sex relationships. At the least it's conservative. So if you're not any of those things, why would you expect to match up with anyone on there.

Jun 10 09 - 2:16pm
cb

Ha - fun, despite - indeed - the tame nature of this attempt at "I did it for Science." I tried eHarmony. Now mind you, I've been divorced (twice) and have two kids. My match - a 40-something VIRGIN. No kidding.
At some point I told my e-Match, "Listen, I am NOT the man for breaking you into the whole world of sex."
Not that my viginal would-be-spouse was actually wanting sex.
eHarmony, from my experience, is a fraud.
I laugh out loud whenever their ads come on the telly.

Jun 10 09 - 2:53pm
rp

Tried eharmony with much trepidation. Urban midwestern liberal. Selected "spiritual but not religious" and requested to be matched with no christians. Met a great guy who I never would have met otherwise, who was just one neighborhood over. We have the same political beliefs. He is agnostic and I am spiritual but it works. We are currently househunting. I was also matched with a lot of people I have nothing in common with, but overall, this seems to have really worked for me, and the people seemed a lot more serious and sane and literate than on Match.

Jun 10 09 - 3:46pm
kl

I tried EH and have never met so many people who I'm NOT compatible with. So mister, go on your dates and share with us your humorous stories...
wanna hear mine to get some ideas?
#1. separated, not really interested in dating.
#2 took me to a secluded place and tried to make out with me when I fell asleep in the car.
#3 emailed for over a month and never really wanted to meet.
#4 dork, gave me the "So you have a dog in place of a husband" yuck yuck".
#5 really wanted to meet me then closed his account right before we planned on getting together.
#6 manic depressive. lets me for coffee "GREAT he said" when I met him..."I HATE coffee".
should I continue?
I laugh and remain hopeful...
so let's hear your funny stories!

Jun 12 09 - 1:38pm
rl

I have tried e-harmony twice over the years. No luck finding anyone within 50 miles and they few i did actually date clearly had drinking problems. No Harmony here

Jun 12 09 - 2:15pm
BE

KL, I too have met a few people on eharm who seemingly wanted to email forever and not meet, or met me, acted a little over-the-top enthusiastic about me, and then flaked out on the second date. I think there are a lot of shy people on eharmony. I'm kind of shy myself so I'm cool with it, but several of them are to the point where they actually seem afraid of meeting someone. And I have met several people from there who I didn't click with, but overall they were all nice, intelligent guys.

Jun 12 09 - 3:47pm
aw

I tried eHarmony when they irst came out and got the same response..no matches at this time...and then they found some...all men in their 70s!!! I've gotten many more matches since then, but all are very ordinary, or in AA or no pictures or just plain ugly. the problem with the site is that they will not give you pictures of your matches unless you pay them. the quality of men on the site has proven to be not worth the money...no matter how old they are. I'm glad I am not easily matched...I know I'm not the "usual" woman, but then I'm not looking for the :usual" guy either...

Jun 12 09 - 7:17pm
TFT

eH is run by Christian fundamentalists (I am the former, not the latter) who are well-funded and believe the world is best populated by like minded people. That is their bias. I got rejected too.

Jun 13 09 - 7:41am
CJM

Now give this new lab rat some real experiments.

Jun 14 09 - 1:13pm
NT

I thought this article was great - humorous, light, and REAL. It's something that another "rare bird in the world" but otherwise "normal" person like myself can relate to. As for eH, my friends here in NYC who didn't get "rejected" like me never met anyone. It is what it says - for personalities that fit a category, and hopefully the match won't repulse you physically. That's their niche. Unfortunately, nothing in life that's worth having comes easy!

Jun 14 09 - 11:17pm
agb

I think the absolutely most hilarious part of the article has nothing to do with the subject at hand- but the very real and jarring observation that fabulous women get rejected all the time- mostly by loser guys....ah....how many I know! how about a little dating etiquette/HUMANITY!!! in this dating man's paradise!!

Jun 15 09 - 1:39pm
REM

JH, don't let the critics get you down. This was a fine piece. As for the substance: I'm starting to get depressed that I *wasn't* rejected by eHarmony -- it's really a badge of honor. I can tell you they do take agnostics (me) and Jews (an ex). But I did hear (yes, unsubstantiated rumor) that the system doesn't work well for people with IQs over 120. My own experience was that in the three months I was a member, I met exactly one woman, and that was a mercy date I went out on with an Indian doctor who lived with her parents and was afraid that all male internet daters were serial rapist-killers. I hated the dating-with-training-wheels approach, and despite the fact that having a family was a principal goal of mine, the kept sending me profiles of women in their mid-40s. It's really a site designed to allow the mediocre to meet and mate.

Jun 15 09 - 6:34pm
DS

I tried eHarmony for over a year and had no success. I got plenty of matches, but most of them never replied - not even the courtesy of a "not interested". Of the few that did respond, I only got to the point of actually meeting one woman. We went out for about a month and then she just quit returning calls. She finally broke it off by email. In short, I found eHarmony to be a major waste of time. And now, over a year after closing my account and telling eHarmony why, they still send me offers to reinstate!

Jun 15 09 - 7:22pm
bamf

as an atheist and recovering BPD, i too of course got rejected. if i knew they actually reject people based on those criteria, i wouldn't have spent 3 hours filling out that questionnaire. they really should have warned people before they take that stupid thing. it didn't cost anything to take the questionnaire but my time is very valuable and i felt so cheated i was contemplating filing a class action suit for the lack of prior warning. anyways, after that i posted on craigslist w4m looking for fellow eharmony rejects. the subsequent dates i got out of that post were expectedly not as interesting as those i got when i posted on casual encounters for drug dates.

Jun 17 09 - 12:21am
DW

Yep, to echo some of the comments here, the vast majority (90%) of people I know who actually got through the long-ass questionaire got told that matches couldn't be found for them. All young, mix of male and female, urban and suburban, body types, jobs, etc. The one consistent thing that all are not religious or atheist. So the sixth factor: be up with the big JC or GTFOH.

Jun 16 09 - 6:33pm
MSH

I went on eHarmony for a free communication weekend for kicks, clicked on my very first match that they sent me, went through the "communication" phase then met him at a bar with a couple friends. We have been dating for 2 years...Personally being a 23 year old college student I didn't expect to find anyone interesting on a dating website, but I DID: A 26 year old general contractor who owns his own business and home, who is very funny AND attractive... After reading all of these comments, I'd say I got pretty damn lucky!

Jun 16 09 - 6:34pm
MSH

Also, neither my boyfriend or I are religious at all...so I guess there goes that theory?

Jun 17 09 - 3:28am
NM

Thank you for saving me time. I'm sure if you're a rare bird, I'm some kind of extraterrestrial.

Jun 18 09 - 4:50pm
luv

Great feature, looking forward to more. Ignore all the folks that don't appreciate good writing and think it's only interesting if you shove something up your ass.

Jun 19 09 - 8:46am
Cl

EH blows. I sifted through my matches of men listing one of their MUST HAVES to include SEX and asked EH why this was permitted on their religion based site considering premarital sex is a NO NO in christianity. Plus - it's just gross to list this instead of something more interesting.

Jun 22 09 - 12:18pm
PCD

One in five people get rejected by eharmony. And look at the religious make up of america. one in five people are atheist/agnostic/non-religious. Coincidence? Not really. eHarmony is a christian dating site. I filled out the profile twice. I got rejected the first time, and the second time, I changed my answer to only about five questions. The questions asking my religion (i went from atheist to christian) as well as stating a preference for a christian, and a couple questions about spending time at church. The other bajillion questions were answered the same. The second time through, i got in. It promptly tried to match me with a bunch of people who stated their hobbies as "love of god" and "going to church" and I promptly got the hell out of dodge.

Sep 09 09 - 9:47pm
TH

Another atheist here - and I was rejected when I took the test a few years back.

Oct 08 09 - 2:28am
GM

I'm one of the unmatchables. Rejection never felt so good! Do you wish people would notice you are funny as hell? My best friend shared her trial subscription with me and there seem to be some very nice men looking for love and companionship. If nothing else, the matching sites provide connection on some level and distraction. Had no idea about eHarmony's Christian-base and appreciate the info. Thanks for your good work!

Oct 22 09 - 11:48am
AC

Im very interessted to know who owns the site really..! and who knows/ owns everybodys personality profile, Is there any data protection in place or can other organisations buy your personality profile from E harmoney?! would love to know? won t do it till I do!!

Oct 23 09 - 11:48am
KW

I am grateful to have found this site as I laughed my ass off when I got rejected by EH and laughed at the author's story as well. At least now I know that I really did 'blow up the system' as Gian Gonzaga said...

Nov 24 09 - 6:12pm
KS

I was rejected by eharmony too.

Dec 28 09 - 6:14pm
EM

You don't have to be Christian to use eHarmony...but you do have to be heterosexual and have poor taste in dating sites.

Jul 15 11 - 4:06pm
bs

I tried eh a couple of years ago and got in, despite being atheist and quirky. I didn't put a preference for distance which was a mistake, but a lot of the guys (basically the only ones who responded) were Nigerian scammers pretending to be American or British and stationed abroad. I even got them to refund my money after sending them over 9,000 complaints. They are relatively easy to spot because of their (stolen) photos from modeling websites, their terrible grammar, and their desire to communicate outside the eharmony site almost immediately. They also tend to profess their undying love to you very early on (after viewing your profile once?). It's sad that some people fall for these asshats and lose a lot of money, but they can be messed with. See thescambaiter.com.

Feb 14 12 - 3:31am
asdfasdfasdf

I've also read that if you're not Christian, you get rejected automatically by the system. (I say this as another Eharmony reject-ee.)

Sep 09 12 - 11:00pm
WG

The first time I, too, was rejected by EH. But I am a Christian. I did get accepted the second time I tried. But my experience trying to find interesting guys was bad. I had like 20 open matches and no one would respond. It was a colossal waste of time. Incidentally, an atheist friend of mine met his wife on EH.