Friday, July 08, 2005

Online Dating: Love is Complicated

Online dating is probably the wrong term, perhaps I mean computer dating, but call it what you will, what I'm thinking about happens here at and also here at and many other sites like this.

It was the topic of a very interesting conversation this week with Doc and Mary and Jerry and my French friend Nathalie and me (and some other bloggers who were at the party but I don't have their links, sorry.)

Notice today, the phrase on "Love is complicated, match is simple." And right next to it, see their ebook offer to get "How To Find The Right Person in 90 Days" just click to download.

Let's go back to that phrase: "Love is Complicated" and I would say, you got that right buddy. My friend Nathalie and I talked about the idea that believing software can solve matters of the heart is FLAWED right from the get-go. Leave it to a French person to know that some things are better left alone -- like love -- and have done just fine for centuries without the aid of a computer.

Yes, you can create applications to solve technological, financial, travel, retailing needs -- but who came up with the brainiac idea that a computer should be applied to the heart? That the rational should remedy the irrational? That logic can settle emotional matters? It's stupid.

And their claim that you can find your mate is 90 days supports my theory, that they are putting speed and efficiency at the top of their list -- both traits of a computer -- when it comes to love, which is just completely silly. I go with The Supremes on that subject, preferring their believe that "You Can't Hurry Love."

eHarmony tells you the 29 dimensions of compatibility to a good match. They ask, "Are you ready to find you Soulmate?" and later they say, "Fall in love for the right reason."

Hello?!? Fall in love for the right REASON -- hey, love isn't reasonable, never was, never will be. It's irrational, not rational. More "computer conquers all" thinking which I reject. Soulmates ... don't you need to encounter the soul by encountering a person, not a laptop screen?

Nathalie put it well on the ride back to LA from Santa Barbara. Let me see if I can get her ideas pinned down. They were in French -- that alone makes them sound 100% more sensible on the subject of love. Didn't the French invent it?!?

There is a mystery to living your life, going about your business, following the passions of your work, family, art, music and not being so intentional about "computer shopping for a lover" so to speak. You go about your life and you run into a person you find interesting. You don't know anything about him (we'll go hetero here just for clarity sake). And because you don't know anything about him and he doesn't know anything about you, you get to enjoy the pleasure of discovering that person. It's a delicate, subtle process of discovery.

Getting to know someone is not about spending 5 minutes reviewing their "profile" or checking out a personal ad's laundry list of "I like to take long walks on the beach" and other bogus stuff. (And don't even get me started on how people LIE in most self-assessments.)

So you run into this stranger -- for some reason related to your actual life. You also don't know if he's even in the market or mood for love. (Again, on these dating sites, the cat is already out of the bag, you know whoever is there is looking for a mate ... something deadly dull about that, and not mysterious.) And you get to learn a lot about the person and learn a lot FROM the person as you get to know them. You don't read their emotional, social, educational and sexual CV on a computer. You get to be friends with the person and you get to learn how nice or not so nice a person they might be. That time matters.

The French have an expression, "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison
ne connaƮt pas." It means, "The heart has its reasons that reason never knows." To me, that's the last word on computer dating.