Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The Internet Date, Dissected

This post is sponsored by eHarmony. Date smarter. Start now, free!

Midge: SO. Ken, we met on an internet dating site. We liked each other's profiles, exchanged a couple messages, and then met up ... the next day? Later that same day? I don't remember, but I do remember remembering that a friend had told me online dating only works when the people meet up right away, presumably to avoid creating email-driven (and therefore inaccurate) ideas of the other person. Anyway, so we met up at that outside bar/restaurant place. Does this match up with how you remember it?

Ken: Definitely the same day. I remember because it was one of those hungover Sundays, and I woke up and was scrolling around on the site. You sometimes get a bunch of messages on Sundays because people get home from bars on Saturday nights and immediately go online. I think somewhere deep in the site's mainframe there's a line graph that shows a comically dramatic spike at like, 3:30 a.m. every Saturday night.

Anyway. Yeah, I remember we talked enough to establish that neither one of us was insane, and then we met up. And you were very mildly late because you had just stopped at friend's house to [activity redacted].

Midge: Ahhh! Right, I apologized for being late, and instead of stopping there, I was somehow instantly comfortable enough to let you know that I was late because I had been [activity redacted]. Oh man. I'm sorry about that. That was actually the only time I've ever done that. Basically.

If I recall, we had a couple glasses of wine in the afternoon (except you were having ... whiskey and soda, because you're allergic to wine and beer), and got along well. And then I suggested we go to a different place, and get food. Right? And you were driving a moped.

Ken: No apology necessary! It was kind of good. It like, quickly widened the borders of acceptable discussion.

Whiskey soda, yeah, I can't believe you remember that. We walked (rather than drove) to the other place, which was probably good, because I think I immediately spilled a glass of water all over the table. Not a little spill. And I remember it seemed really important to establish that that was because I was generally clumsy and not drunk. And we talked a lot, and that was good. Like about families, and young-person-with-writerly-ambition stuff. You had a bunch of really good general conversation-prompting questions.

Midge: Oh I'm really glad to hear that! And yes, I remember you spilling your drink, but you didn't seem drunk at all. Things do get a little blurry there, though, and I can't remember if we actually ended up eating or not (?).

But yeah, I remember it as a good conversation, too. Was it then that I recommended that book to you? We had just one drink, I think, and then you got back on your moped and I felt really worried that you were going to die from having drinks with a stranger and getting in a Vespa crash. I was envisioning the police being like, "He died from online dating, and it was alll ..." [and here they'd do some Vanilla Sky internet profile-wrangling] "HER fault," and they'd bring my profile up on their police screen. I was so worried about you. But then you texted like 2.5 minutes later to say you'd gotten home. Thank you for that.

Ken: No problem! I'm also not sure if we ate or not. At some point my memory just cuts to a montage scene from a movie where people are having a good conversation in a bar.

But I'm pretty sure that book was a later thing, further along in our process of transitioning from algorithmically matched strangers to casual friends in real life.

Anyway, that night, yeah, I got home and managed to not die at all. That would've been awful and made this a really morbid cautionary tale. Instead, I asked you out again a couple days later, and you turned me down in truly the nicest, most straightforward way I've ever seen. The short paraphrase version was that you'd had a good time, but It just wasn't there. That paraphrase doesn't really do it justice, but just trust me that it was very nice.

So then I asked you if we could still hang out as friends, because we'd hit it off really well, which sort of feels mortifying to write! But in context it was normal. (Right? RIGHT?!) And you said yes. And we did. And now, months later, here we are — seasoned date recappers.

Jesus, Midge, the internet is so weird.

Midge: I know, right? Now I don't really know what to say! Although I am glad to hear you say that. I do sort of remember myself saying I thought you were too young for me, which is maybe a stupid thing to say/hear. But isn't it so much easier when people are honest with one another? I'd so much prefer, "Midge, I had a nice time with you, but I'm not really feeling it" than "Yeahhhh let's hang out next week?" and then they just sort of fall off the planet by degrees.

Have you gone on any successful internet dates recently? Can I ask that? (I have not, although I recently signed back on to That Site We Were Using.)

Ken: [30 minutes of email silence]

Midge: Now I feel weird, am I making this weird? You're probably just on the train or something.

Ken: No you're not. I'm slow because I'm trying to cut down the thing I was writing back because it felt tortured and too long and I feel self-conscious about it. I don't know how to hit the right tone for this.

Midge: No, I'M worried about striking the right tone — your tone is perfect.

Ken: Okay, then, yes, it's so, so much better (to be honest). But also hard. In December I was talking to a friend about a guy she'd been seeing who had just acted more and more lukewarm before mysteriously disappearing, and as I was commiserating I realized that it was entirely possibly that somewhere in Brooklyn someone was having the same conversation about me. "What's his deal, anyway? Why can't he just be honest?" So my New Year's Resolution is to not be that guy. Also to exercise more.

I've been on a few more internet dates, but none of them were too great. They either end a hook-up like the ones that more normal, extroverted people have with people they meet in bars, or else we get along but don't really have too much chemistry. Nobody's been that bad, though. Well, there was one girl who worked in reality TV, and someone on her show had committed suicide, and she was talking about how it was good for ratings. But even she was actually smart and nice, and self-aware about the weirdness of that. We play Words with Friends now, she beats the crap out of me.

Midge: Hah! Well, you're actually the only person I've been out with from the internet. Is that sad? Probably, for the amount of time I spend on it. Anyway, let's end this with a bonus round: what was I wearing on our date? If I recall correctly, you were wearing a long white robe with a silk sash around the waist, and two more silk sashes wrapped around your feet instead of shoes. Am I close?

Ken: No! Not sad at all. It's probably just evidence that my online dating profile is a shimmering beacon of greatness. Also, laced with pungent e-phermones. And I'm so flattered that you remember my clothes. You, of course, looked chaste and stunning in a full body Victorian bathing garment and one of those rat cage helmets from 1984. Unless I'm mixing you up with some other internet date, which would be really embarrassing.

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor; advertisers do not produce the content.

Photo by charles taylor, via Shutterstock

140 Comments / Post A Comment


does barbie mean nothing to you ken?! YOU BASTARD!


@redheadedandcrazy Isn't there also a barbie named Midge? Or am I making this up?

Bon Vivant

@Megan Patterson@facebook you are Not making that up. at all.


@Megan Patterson@facebook (I think that's the joke)


@Megan Patterson@facebook there IS so I suspect that these are pseudonyms purposely used to bring barbie relationships to mind,


i think i'm missing something here - where did the silk robe and vintage bathing suit part come from? i think i don't get the joke


@redheadedandcrazy Interestingly enough, Midge is a redhead.


@applestoapples Midge also had her own fellow-- his name is Alan. (I know this because the Midge bridal doll was my sister's prized possession from the ages of 5-8.)

Lily Rowan

If they were Barbie and Ken, it would have worked out! Midge and Ken are just friends.


@redheadedandcrazy Growing up in the 80's I was always so thrilled when they issued a Midge or Teresa. Non-blondes unite!


@redheadedandcrazy Not in my house. In my house there was always enough Ken to go around (we only had one Ken doll).




Online dating was very very very exhausting, but I kind of miss it, if for nothing more than the sheer variety of interesting ladies I got to meet and that nervous excitement before a first date.

But these are some rose colored glasses, because I also distinctly remember feeling at times that online dating was the devil incarnate and designed specifically to suck my soul and wallet dry.

What I mean to say is, it was fun and not fun at the same time and I met some cool people and dated one of them for a lengthy amount of time, but to paraphrase Mr. Wallace, that was an wearyingly fun thing I'll never do again.


@Emby I have to confess that I met the person I'm currently dating (who is amazing) online, so it's not all bad. But I also went on a ton of horrifically awkward dates (where do these women come from?). I guess it's the same as regular first dates with people you meet in the real world. but online dating increases the frequency/volume of the dates, thus increasing the awkward.


@Emby It is SO exhausting! Glad others feel that way too. After a while, it just seemed a waste of energy to go out and meet relatively nice/interesting people that you have no spark with. Plus, yeah, money. Goddamn money! (Fist shaking)
Now I just date my neighbors. Man I'm lazy.


@Emby But as someone who has never really done the "let's go on a first date!" thing in any context other than online dating, it does help with making you feel more experienced in that context. I also made a rule that first meet-up had to happen early, and it could only be either (a) a cup of coffee after work or (b) something else I actually wanted to do (DC = museums). Still TOTALLY exhausting (I found the website-being-on and email-reading and email-writing the worst part, actually), but the limited scope really helped (ie, so many bad first date stories involve people being dressed up and at dinner and on the hook for the cost of dinner and feeling obligated to stay through the meal, etc)


I can't believe I'm doing this, but: the picture is of a scooter, not a moped.

I do not know who I am anymore.


@hotdog It's ok, the description of him first riding a moped then her later anxiety about a Vespa crash was bothering me too. Pedants (not paedos) unite!


@hotdog Somebody had to do it! I don't think it's pedantic to point it out.

Alibi Jones

@hotdog I never knew they weren't interchangeable until I read your comment and wikied. Educational! (Of course moped is a portmanteau! So obvious, now!)


[activity redacted] = buy weed?


@Exene I was thinking "poop."


@Exene Yeah, I'm curious too. And about the reality TV thing.

tea for all

@Hellcat she may have worked on "the real housewives of beverly hills." one of the husbands did in fact kill himself before the premiere of the new season, triggering a flurry of re-editing. keep it classy, reality television.


@tea for all Yeah, that's actually what I suspected once I thought about it a little bit.

Iggles McFearson

@Exene I AM SO CURIOUS about the redacted activity! So mysterious, these online daters!

sarah girl

@Exene My guess was "smoked up"


my first okcupid date was hilarious in quite a few ways. First, the coffee shop we met at was full, as was every other coffee shop in the area so we had to walk around til we found a bar. second, we both had to go to the bathroom like 50 times each. it would've been worse if only one person went to the bathroom all the time, but we both had to. I think it was nerves/beer. Anyway, online dating is weird and most of the time horrifying, but sometimes there are gems.


So a couple weeks back I got an email from eHarmony that some guy wanted to connect with me. Which is hilarious, because I haven't been on that site in probably 5 years and I thought I had disabled my account. But maybe they get you for life? And also, sorry guy, whoever you are, I'm not interested on account of being monogamously coupled, but I appreciate the request and I'm sure you're a nice person.

dj pomegranate

@tortietabbie srsly eHarmony never ever forgets you. I think their database is linked to maybe the NSA's.

Lily Rowan

Oh god, is this where I can post about how I have a second date tonight?? Off the internet, so the first date was the first time we met! So I have no idea if he thinks this is VALENTINE'S DAY or just Tuesday.


@Lily Rowan Well...the reality is that it's both, so hopefully you both have a good sense of humor about Cupid and can laugh about it! And also have ridiculously passionate kissing because of it too :)

Katie Heaney

@Lily Rowan OMG tell us everything after! OMG what if he sprinkles you in rose petals. AHHH no that's weird, sorry, ahhh that just came into my head but....it will be normal! I'm sure!


@Lily Rowan If he shows up with Russell Stover chocolates, DTMFA. For a second date it better be AT LEAST a Whitman's Sampler. If he brings you Burdick's truffle mice, sleep with him immediately and NEVER LET HIM GO.


@Slapfight Truffle mice?


@PistolPackinMama I don't know how to make the fancy link...
They are sooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooood!


@Lily Rowan GOD I have an Internet date tonight, too, only it's my fault because I thought Valentine's was Thursday and I was all, "hey how about Tuesday" and now it's just so awkward and I am living in an episode of 30 Rock. Except my date is not Jon Hamm.

Lily Rowan

@everyone Hahaha! I think it's much more likely that he's surprised when restaurants are full up on a Tuesday, but we'll see! I would totally make out with him in public for truffle mice, but I did not shave my legs today so will not be sleeping with him.


@Lily Rowan

Just don't do the thing with the legs?


@Lily Rowan One time in high school, my mom was out of town and my dad and I decided to see a movie and have dinner. We saw that movie Something's Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton? Which was weird to begin with, because Diane Keaton is a DEAD RINGER for my mother.

And then we were trying to go out to dinner, and every place we called was full, and finally we got in somewhere and when we sat down I realized there were roses and red things everywhere, and I went, ohhhhh. And what made it even worse than accidentally having V-day dinner with my dad was that I was SO SURE everybody thought I was his bit on the side, which, ew, and THAT HAPPENED IN THE MOVIE TOO so it seemed extra plausible.

And that is my Unwitting Valentine's Day story.


Just in case you're wondering, THIS IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE HAIRPIN.

These are the delicious little candies on which to munch in between the richer, more complex fettucine with truffled alfredo, pancetta and arugula posts such as Ask an Abortion Provider.


I am fully supportive of you kids making bundles of money, but eHarmony is a fucking horrible website and no one should ever use it. It was created by a evangelically religious nutjob, resisted for years having same-sex options available, and there have been a ton of allegations of racist and classism lodged against them.
There are dozens if not hundreds of online dating sites, if that's your thing. Stay the fuck away from this one.


@cherrispryte Yeah, it's weird to me that they're advertising here, and on Thought Catalog, because how is this their niche? As a general rule we are not so much the evangelically religious nutjob crowd.

Or this is a poorly disguised conversion attempt on their part.


@cherrispryte Agreed. I'm not totally thrilled about seeing them as sponsors here, given their well-publicized and undeniable hater attitude towards teh gays.


@cherrispryte Logged in to say the SAME THING. I do not support eHarmony, and am sad that it is marring the usually radiant visage of my favorite website.

H.E. Ladypants

@cherrispryte I am so glad someone else had the same thought.


@cherrispryte totally agree.


My reaction to this piece:



Oh, it didn't work out anyway. Whatever."

I am totally over him, as you can see.


Someone told me that eHarmony is low-key Christian, and the secret of their self-reported success is they match hardest on the "spirituality" portion of the quiz, and if you decline to claim spiritual-ness (and maybe also prety conventional values?) then they decline to match you.


@noReally This makes bundles and bundles of sense. Everyone I have heard of who has been relatively successful on eHarmony has been very religious.



Yep, the founder is an Evangelical and the site is very much geared toward heteronormative marriage-minded Christians. Nothing "low-key" about it. If you search around on Salon.com, there is a completely hilarious/disturbing interview with the guy from a few years ago, in which he cheerfully informs the (woman) journalist interviewing him that she would probably have trouble meeting a potential husband because she's too smart. *Scream*


@noReally I belonged to eHarmony for one month some years ago (I canceled my membership when I met my now-husband on a different site), and even though on my questionnaire I answered all of the "spirituality" questions with "Not religious; No I mean it: not at all religious; BOO to God; How many more times must I mention the not-religious thing?", nearly all of their matches for me were religious guys. I didn't go out with any of them.


@noReally Yes. I filled out their entire questionnaire once about 7-8 years ago or something, which took hours, got to the end, and received "we can't find anyone to match you with right now!" (I'm an atheist. And apparently destined to die alone.)


@noReally I took the e-harmony personality quiz a few years ago and it deemed me "UNMATCHABLE" because I didn't fit into one of their "sharply-defined categories". They used those exact words. "UNMATCHABLE"! What the fuck?


@noReally I don't know. Unless my dad lied on his questionnaire, he's not religious and met his girlfriend of 2+ years on eHarmony.

I had terrible luck on eHarmony, every guy I met was a total weirdo or wanted to get married tomorrow.


@noReally I was rejected too!


My first OKCupid date went well, which confuses me, because wasn't it supposed to be horrible? Doesn't everyone have reams of OKCupid horror stories? Admitting this feels like admitting "actually, we just took the first apartment we saw."

Srs question: I'm not sure if I feel a "spark" but I feel like kissing him at the end of date #2 will help settle that decision. Except I hate PDA and awkwardness and I live in NYC and the idea of, like, kissing under a subway station makes me want to vomit. What do I do.


@alphabiddycity Invite him up to your place and kiss him there. TA-DAH!

but srsly kiss him, even if it's weird and in public. People are forced to kiss each other in public all the time. You'll live, and you're right that it will help settle things.

I heard OKCupid takes a few months to figure out your preferences enough to start alerting you to people you really actually might like, so congratulations! Maybe you got lucky. Or else he's about to be a fucking terrible kisser.

Lily Rowan

@alphabiddycity Kissing by the subway is the best! It's so high school. Seriously, making out in public is one of my favorite things about dating -- it's the time when you like each other enough to kiss, but not enough to go home together yet, so everything is possibilities.


@alphabiddycity My first match.com date went well. So well, in fact, that four months later we are together and having our valentine's dinner tonight. BUT FUN STORY: We've only been dating 2 months, because I spent 2 months not interested.

So to offer an alternative answer, maybe delay the kiss some more and like, invite him over, but have plans to leave ("why don't you come by and pick me up on the way to the coffeeplace/bar/restaurant?"). then if it sucks you have an escape plan.


@alphabiddycity I don't remember the order, but I had 2 bad OKCupid dates, 2 mediocre ones, and then I met my boyfriend. He didn't kiss me until the 4th date though. I was a little concerned he just liked me as a friend a la the people in the article.

And then we did kiss and ended up making out with an embarrassing degree of passion on a city sidewalk. Like, obliviously enough that bypassers felt the need to comment. And I generally disapprove of PDA! We no longer have extended kissing sessions on the sidewalk, but I have no regrets. DOOOOO IIIITTTT.


@MissMushkila You are all so encouraging. I keep on reading in this thread things like "I just didn't feel the chemistry" or whatever and I just don't know if I do or do not! First dates are full of so many other feelings that I wasn't focusing on that, I was just happy we were talking and not staring at the floor. So I guess I will go with the "just kiss him and see" route and then I can possibly move on to the helpful advice below about how to let someone know you want to be Just Friends. Augh. Dating.


@Lily Rowan Totes agreed on the kissing outside the subway! I still get a little pang when I go past one particular station. and it was in the snow. sigh. (the only time i have ever liked snow apparently is during outside first kisses with internet lovers)


@alphabiddycity I don't have any OKC horror stories. I met my ex on OKC, but everything that happened between us was pretty run-of-the-mill, nothing I could blame on having met him online. One of the first times we kissed was on the sidewalk in NYC and someone walked by and said "get a room" and I was mortified but it was also fun! Just kiss, it's fine :)


Oh man, I wish I could do that, "Oh, I don't want to bone you that much, but could we be friends, because you seem cool otherwise?" That would be amazing. I guess I just need to learn to say it? And be fine if they say "Ew no thanks if there's no boning I don't even want to see your face". Or make friends like normal people do. (Dear A Normal Person: How do you make friends as a grown-up, especially when you work weird hours and usually go out of your way to avoid other human beings? Love A Lonely Misanthrope)


@Bitterblue I feel like after people have that conversation, they don't really see each other, ever, because one party always does want to bone. the friendship is more like a once-every-two-months gchat saying "we should hang out sometime!"

Also, I would LOVE to have Ask A Normal Person.


@Bitterblue I tried it once. The guy said he was okay with that, and we DID start hanging out as friends, or so I thought. Within about a month he was confessing his undying love, and I discovered that he'd been describing our allegedly platonic lunch sessions as "dates" to other people (in spite of the fact that I had a serious boyfriend that whole time!), and then he stalked me for about a year. :(


@Bitterblue I have done this so many times, and 99 percent of the times the response has been "Nope! I hate you now! Boning or nuthin!" Once I made a friend.


@WaityKatie But maybe I should also add that the friend I made has been lackadaisically declaring love/trying to get in my pants since we became friends. He's harmless, but it sometimes gets annoying.


@Bitterblue: I have successfully converted someone from OKC into a good friend. For me, the best approach is to say as much on the first 'date' - no ambiguity. Not everyone will reciprocate, but I think people in general appreciate the directness.

Katie Heaney

Is that true???? About how you're supposed to meet right away? WHAT ABOUT THE CRAIGSLIST KILLER THOUGH


@Katie Heaney
I've read that, but in my brief foray into online dating I ended up talking too long online then meeting (but always in a public place!). The problem is it's easier to not be awkward online and then when you meet and it's awkward it's a total let down. Also advice columns tell men not to smile in their default picture. This is dumb as my two biggest appearance concerns were teeth and voice and internet dating keeps you from knowing if he fits those conditions before hand.
So yeah. 3 awkward dates, 3 men with weird voices, 1 with braces. (not that there's anything wrong with that... I just couldn't. Also he was painfully nerdy. Not in a good way, a really into accounting way.)


@Katie Heaney The problem is that sometimes you get this whole elaborate email exchange going, and sharing personal histories, and this and that, and then you finally meet in person, and it's...THUD. Nothing. You find him repulsive and boring and then you are angry that you wasted all that time crafting witty emails.


@BuffyBot Aahhhhh!!! The weird voices!! I'm so glad I haven't been the only one to experience this.

Lily Rowan

@WaityKatie Too many guys are funny in email (or I'm willing to think they are funny) and then total deadbeats in person. Annoying!


@Katie Heaney He was just going after prostitutes and masseuses.


@Lily Rowan I did meet one guy recently who was as funny in person as he was online. Sadly, his voice sounded like Jonny Wiseau's from The Room: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ4KzClb1C4


@WaityKatie Me too! One weird-voice, one super-mumbler.


@WaityKatie I think weird voices are actually the most problematic part of internet dating, and seeing as I've complained before about the short guys elaborating on their height factor before as a tall lady, that's saying something!

I just - I need to be attracted to your voice ya know? although i feel like my voice can be pretty awks. i wonder if anybody has ever not followed up with me because of that. huh.

Katie Heaney

@everyone oh good, something NEW to worry about!


@Katie Heaney Oh pshaw, I bet your voice is like, totally mellifluous.


@redheadedandcrazy I agree, although there are so many things about interacting with someone in person that are so different than online. Voice, smell, facial expression, the fact that everyone looks totally different in reality than they do in pictures...I feel like meeting online is in some ways the WORST way to meet someone that you are contemplating getting it on with. What are the chances that all of those things will go right? I think the types of people that I like to call Checklist Daters do a lot better online than those of us who need, like, a vibe, y'know?

Katie Heaney

@BoozinSusan OH GOD I wasn't even thinking about MY voice, I was just worrying about everyone else's.


@redheadedandcrazy good point. Of my 3 terrible dates, none followed up with me either, but I've always been told I give off a disinterested vibe even if I am interested so I chalked it up to that. Maybe I have weird voice? I know my teeth are ok, I can rest easy on that.


@BuffyBot I am totally going to judge on the voice too, but only because an unattractive voice (unattractive to me) is a sexiness killer. I just can't help it! (This sounds so shallow. But is it shallow to want to date people you are attracted to? Thank god I'm married...)


@WaityKatie This is why I can't wrap my head around online dating. I know scads of guys IRL that I don't want to date though they are cool and charming and whatnot and I'd probably love their profiles if they had them. It seems like so much energy to go through the millions of first dates just hoping to like someone. I guess the good thing is that at least you'd know none of them are in relationships, unlike real-life crushes.


@pilcrow Ha, actually you don't know that none of them are in relationships! At least if you know people in "real life," you generally know if they're married. Online, it's anything goes. Now if only I could figure out how to meet anybody in reality...


@pilcrow I've been told by many coupled-up folks that I'm "too picky" for wanting to date people I'm attracted to. See also: "you don't like ANYBODY! Wah!"


@WaityKatie Ah, hahaha, I get that all the time, too. Why is it considered "being picky" that we might want actual chemistry with people -- which is kind of rare to find?
@Katie Heaney: You're welcome (in John Hodgman voice)


@WaityKatie: I get this all the time too. As a guy I guess I'm supposed to hit on all girls everywhere, all the time despite chemistry. Bleh.

Wow, Hairpin. Taking $ from right-wing nutjobs who have been pretty vocal homophobes. Way to consider your readership there, ladies.

See that advertisers? Not even sponsoring cute posts on The Hairpin will rid you of your reputation of hatred, bigotry, fear, and general asshattery.

-Queer Femme Dyke Heathen who will nevereverever use eHarmony


@S. Elizabeth I feel I have had an icy bucket of fishsicles dumped on my Hairpinnery enjoyment after finding these things out (sorry... didn't know, on account of... not sure why?).

Hairpin? C'mon. C'MON HAIRPIN.

*fishsicle sadness*

Judith Slutler

@S. Elizabeth For serious, I get it that it's financially helpful to have these sponsored posts or w/e, and I don't expect feminist purity from my ladyblogs, but eHarmony is not at all an OK company. They're assholes.

@PistolPackinMama Honestly, this kind of bullshit is enough to make me stop reading this blog. I am very, very offended by this.


@Emmanuelle Cunt Well, think of it this way. Hairpin is getting money from those idiots, but we're destroying whatever good will this post created in the comments. I mean, how stupid of Eharmony to think they could corral this group with a cutsey post. They're basically just giving The Hairpin a grant, because they'll get nothing out of this sponsorship.


@S. Elizabeth I understand that. I do. It is very not good.


@S. Elizabeth- Completely agree! I scrolled down to the comments before I even read the article and was shocked there wasn't more uproar about this. They should have Asked a Queer Chick before taking any money from eHarmony. Seriously disappointing.


@S. Elizabeth

The more $ taken from eHarmony, the less $ eHarmony has!


@atipofthehat: "The more $ taken from the Family Research Council, the less $ the Family Research Council has!"

Yes, yes, hyperbole. I know that this could be analogous to rolling out the Hitler comparison to any politician with whom one disagrees - but I think it's a pretty lame argument in favor of accepting money from eHarmony...

@atipofthehat See, it's not just money taken from eHarmony. It's money in exchange for advertising and association with a left-leaning women's website -- an association that is valuable and probably seen as a good strategic move by eHarmony as a means of undoing some of their ill will. It's also very false advertising by this association; I see it as an attempt to use a website like The Hairpin to mask its values, i.e. if the Hairpin condones it, it must be okay!

This kind of advertisement is more complicated than simple "oh yay, money for the 'pin!" There is bargained-for exchange, and we should be questioning and fully examining what eHarmony gets out of associating with this website, and we should be critical of what that means for us, for the website, for a company with a questionable track record.

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day, everyone!


I always liked Nerve. Lots of interesting people. Then they started charging. I'M NOT GOING TO PAY TO DATE! YOU HEAR ME, INTERNET?!!
You know, unless the dating site buys your first round of drinks for each date. Then it might be worth it.


@Slapfight Actually, this is brilliant. Dating sites could partner up with Living Social or something to give you a sweet deal on your first date and the location could change per week. And then if your date's not going well, there's good chance some other online daters will be on their first date and then there's potentially a whole scene of singles looking for love at the same place! This could also be an interesting reality show...


@sox Maybe we should start this company?! It'd be a pretty fun job!


@sox This actually sounds champion.


@Slapfight I'll be your first investor!

mike dibenedetto@twitter

@Slapfight Hey. Mike from Nerve here. I understand that some people don't like the idea of paying for online dating. but we believe that in the end it leads to a better experience for a number of reasons which you have probably heard before (so I won't go into them again). And I also wanted to point out that Nerve was always a pay dating site.


@mike dibenedetto@twitter Hey Mike. I stand corrected. It was a pay dating site, but you could contact select members for free at one point. And I am cheap. ;)
Again, it was my favorite online place to meet interesting dudes, so thanks for the cool online dating atmosphere.


BUT WHERE IS MOOSE? He is going to be so mad when he hears Midge has been going on dates with other guys.


I'm really disappointed The Hairpin took money from eHarmony, which is well-known for its bigotry and homophobia. I'm surprised, Esther.


@likethestore Oops, that should be Edith.

@likethestore I'm pretty peeved and disappointed that The Hairpin didn't consider its readership when considering who sponsors the posts. Because yeah, wow, eHarmony sponsoring a post about heterosexual people falling in love. Awesome.


@S. Elizabeth Heterosexual marriage-minded CHRISTIANS falling in love. Those are the only circumstances in which love can bloom.

@WaityKatie Obviously. Love can only fully bloom when you have a superiority complex and think God approves of you and your special snowflake love.

Iggles McFearson

Sooo, how exactly do you turn someone down in a nice but straightforward manner? I am the absolute worst at this, and usually end up going on multiple dates with people I'm not into until they realize how awkward I am and decide not to go out with me anymore. Yep, boys, come and get it...


@Iggles McFearson "No, thank you. I really appreciate your asking, but I am not feeling a connection/spark/it. I do hope you find someone who is a better fit though."


@Iggles McFearson First, wait for them to ask you out again. It's such bad manners, and so presumptive to say, after a first date: hey, just so you know, I'm not into you. The other person might feel the same way! So, wait until they ask you out again and say exactly what the commenter above has said.


@Iggles McFearson I usually pretend I'm willing to see them again, and then turn them down via email when they follow up later. It's the coward's solution!


@Iggles McFearson It's probably easier after the first date - earlier is better, so you're not leading them on. The first date (if you don't know the person well/at all beforehand) is widely understood as a test. You're both feeling each other out (or up, if it goes well?), so you can say that it isn't working for you.
And you're just giving an assessment of their date skills, rather than their personality/worth as a human being, hopefully.
As for tactics, I think @PistolPackinMama has it in the bag. "I had a nice time, but I think we're not a good fit for each other. Good luck!" etc etc.

Reginal T. Squirge

@PistolPackinMama Yep. I got almost that exact same sentence from an online date once and it was the best.


@skyslang Oh yeah. I was assuming that was going to happen... I can't even imagine saying "yeah... no" without needing to, you know?


@PistolPackinMama Okay, also... this is an important topic. But I also hate that we are doing it in EHarmony-land, as per: S. Elizabeth's comment above.

Ew. E-Harmony doesn't belong in my dating conversation.

Iggles McFearson

@PistolPackinMama Thanks! That really does make sense- I think I have to keep in on a sticky note on my phone or something, because my brain usually goes into "What if they hate meeee?!" mode and I forget all common sense! Now I am PREPARED TO REJECT, huzzah! Many thanks!


@WaityKatie Are you sure you aren't me? Because that's exactly how I do it. Don't judge, I'm just really afraid of confrontation and hurting people's feelings (on purpose).


@Anji I mean, it's just really awkward and weird to respond, when someone says "so, do you want to do this again?" with "no." Where do you go after that? If I could say it and then disappear in a puff of smoke, I would. One time I tried to say "well, I'd like to hang out as friends," and the guy actually pressed me for reasons why! Dude! What are you doing??


@WaityKatie Annnnd, that just reminded me of the time when my online date suddenly stopped talking in the middle of the date, sat back in his chair, and said, "I've already decided I want to go out again, so there's no need to say anything else." When I tried to ask him further questions, he responded with "I'm saving that for the next date." You can probably discern what happened after that. (we're married now!) Just kidding.


@WaityKatie 1. The puff of smoke thing is something I really, really need.

2. That guy sounds amazing, in the "I am literally amazed by your behavior" way.


"You sometimes get a bunch of messages on Sundays because people get home from bars on Saturday nights and immediately go online."


George Templeton Strong

@cherrispryte Thank you. Every time I see eHarmony's ads on TV I cringe. The evangelical YOU MUST GET MARRIED! point of them aside, from a production standpoint they're just as bad as those horrendous "Weekender" ads from the New York Times (still being shown in New York, despite the universal ridicule that they provoke.) Good luck to those of you looking for love from someone of your own sex on eHarmony, or from someone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ as Her Own Personal Savior. Can't be done, I don't think. Happy Valentine's Day!

@George Templeton Strong And they're homophobic douchetards.

George Templeton Strong

@S. Elizabeth Didn't eHarmony have a lawsuit filed against them by a woman who wanted to meet other women and she was denied? As Chuck Schumer would say, Shame on them. Blecch. Do it the old fashioned way, like I did. Strike up a casual friendship with a friend of a friend and then meet a third friend and realize that you have met the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Hope that person agrees. #winning

@George Templeton Strong eHarmony has been involved in multiple lawsuits in various jurisdictions regarding its policies surrounding queer people on their site. Wikipedia has a good run down.


Hi, Hairpin! You're the best! But get rid of your eHarmony partnership, seriously, it is revolting. (Alternately, Hairpin! What's going on here? I love you. Get it together.)


Hmm, maybe it's a little late in the day for this to be occuring to me, but Edith's dialogue scenario is a pretty straightforward tongue-in-cheek jab at eharmony, no? I admittedly don't know a ton about eharm's ethical wrongs, although I was vaguely aware of them (I don't online date, period.), but I'd like to trust that the site group as a whole, which includes at least one very outspoken (beloved) homosexual, made a deliberate and careful decision...


@sox Note that this is also coming from a person who occasionally indulges in Chik-fil-a, another well known evangelical company. And I shop at Target an awful lot, who is known to be guilty of myriad bias (biases?).


@sox I've made a rule for myself: every time I have Chick-fil-a, I immediately go home and send $20 to the Human Rights Campaign. I want to give up the fil-a forever, but their chicken is just so delicious.

Iggles McFearson

@PistolPackinMama Thanks! That really does make sense- I think I have to keep in on a sticky note on my phone or something, because my brain usually goes into "What if they hate meeee?!" mode and I forget all common sense! Now I am PREPARED TO REJECT, huzzah! Many thanks!


...waiting on the eventual Awl/Hairpin dating website/miss connections forum...

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