I signed up for an online dating site last year, with no real intention of actually meeting any “internet women” but out of curiosity about the whole thing and because a couple of people I knew were doing it and it seemed like a rich comedy goldmine. My boss wrote my profile because I was quite rubbish at doing it myself and it was only fair the work involved be shared out because everyone would surely benefit from the comedy shenanigans that would come of this venture.
A year on, there was no comedy – a few e-mails exchanged here and there, very little progress, I’d certainly never met anyone, and to be honest my heart wasn’t in it. I’d go months without even visiting the site, when I did I’d flick through a couple of profiles and click “no, no, no, no, maybe, no no no no, absolutely not, no no”. To be fair, that also seemed to be what women were doing with my profile as well…
But I’d been thinking it might just be a nice way to meet new people and with my social life dried up since I quit drinking it might get me out of the house.
I abandoned match.com and tried eHarmony, with an intention to write my own profile and be myself, and see how that went. I had a feeling it would probably be humiliating and soul-destroying, but when you don’t drink you have to get your kicks somewhere.
eHarmony drew me in because they have this great thing where you can answer questions – from simple stuff like “what season of the year is your favourite?” or “tea or coffee?” to things like “how do you feel about your partner having kids?” and “if you saw an old woman carrying heavy shopping would you stop and help?”, and you can add small comments to explain your answer. This seemed like a good way to get across the real me, in conjunction with an honest and unique profile summary, and some pictures of myself where I’m not drunk and don’t have an octopus hat on.
I’ve only been on this a couple of weeks, and the only success I’ve had is in completing a substantial amount of the 600 or so questions, which very few women on the site even seem to bother answering. But when they do answer some of these questions, when you view their profile, you see the ones that you have both answered (and whether you answered the same or different). This morning, I logged in to answer some more questions as I was bored, and saw this at the top of the list of questions already answered.
Hmmm, there must be a reason for this. Also ironically, I’d answered 404 questions and 404 is the name of the error you get on the internet when something you are looking for doesn’t exist. How very fucking appropriate.
I flicked through today’s matches, the usual mix of teachers, social workers and nurses – they seem to be the only professions who use online dating. Usually the ones I get matched with love the outdoors, thrill-seeking, skiing, backpacking etc. Patented eHarmony matching system my arse.
One girl, who after viewing her picture I immediately filed under “too hot, not a chance” had answered some of the same questions as me, and this one was right at the top. The questions are multiple-choice and you can see her answer, compared with my answer, below:
This was typical of the things I’d written in my answers to questions on the site, either extreme views or smart-arsed comments or quips.
This was yet another example of what I call the Sobriety Shocker. The Sobriety Shocker is when you are not drinking and you realise that you’re still equally prone to doing stupid things, saying stupid things, or acting like an idiot.
When I quit drinking there were Sobriety Shockers everywhere. You always assume there are certain things you do or did only because you were inebriated. Like getting your phone out at the work Christmas party and saying “right who wants to see a photo of my cock”. Perfectly normal behaviour when you’re drunk. The shocker is you realise you are often equally susceptible to doing such things when sober.
You realise soon that all those occasions when you regretted doing things “when you were drunk” are not over. And you can be equally stupid, childish or thoughtless when you are completely sober. After enough of these occasions you realise … you were not just a daft reckless fool because you were drunk, but that it’s an inherent part of your personality and you cannot change it.
I’d written all of my eHarmony answers while perfectly sober, but a sober person would have considered (you’d think) that these answers were intended to attract the lady of one’s dreams, and not just written the first thing that came into your head. But no, hundreds of times I had simply written the first funny or offensive thing I thought of and moved on, and then wondered why very few people actually contacted me.
Here are a selection of my other responses.