24 December, 2007

Little Love Among Matchmakers - New York Times

Little Love Among Matchmakers - New York Times

It's amazing the sort of news that one can find in those "non-essential news sections" of the newspaper, e.g., Lifestyles, Culture, Theatre, Travel, Technology, Business, etc. I usually tend to avoid the "regular" sections of the newspaper, e.g., local, national, and world news, as all too often these days, the stories are just too depressing.

For instance, the last time I dared venture a look at the regular news section, the first article I came across was about the teenager who shot and killed nine people and then himself at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska. I mean, who can deal with this kind of information shoved into your face when all you're trying to do is keep abreast of current world events? It just makes my depression dovetail.

So with that in mind, I pretty much stick to the relatively less sensational and more boring sections of the paper, such as the Business, Technology, Life, Culture, Travel, and other such sections. And it is there that I came across this wonderful gem:

The online dating service Chemistry.com plans to unleash a new campaign that seeks to depict its older and larger competitor, eHarmony.com, as out of touch with mainstream American values. The ads, which will appear in weekly newspapers and magazines starting Monday, attack eHarmony for refusing to match people of the same gender and for the evangelical Christian beliefs of its founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren.

Ah, how sweet the melody of this musical reporting. I've always held that eHarmony.com's refusal to match couples of the same gender, e.g., gay/lesbian couples, was a choice they made on their part. I've lost my records on this via theft but when they first came out and I contacted them as to why they didn't offer gay/lesbian matching, their response was that the research of their founder, Dr. Warren, was targeted specifically at heterosexual couples and he had done no research as to homosexual couples and therefore they couldn't offer such services, or something along those lines.

Well, what a load of malarkey if ever one were to be had! As if what gay/lesbian couples seek in a relationship is so different from that which hetero couples seek. If one is seeking a relationship, I believe that the aspects of one's personality that these sites use to match users with others will basically be the same.

The eHarmony.com's response as to why they don't match couples has changed over time. Now, according to the article, this is what they're saying:

“EHarmony’s matching system is based on psychological data collected from heterosexual married couples, and we have not offered a service for those seeking same-sex matches. Nothing precludes us from offering a same-sex service in the future, but it’s not a service we offer now.”

Bingo, bango, mingo, mango (or however that goes)! They've basically come out and said it now. It's not that they can't do it, it's that they choose not to do it. And why do they choose not to offer their services to gays and lesbians? Probably because of the evangelical religious beliefs held by their founder (this is my opinion, in any event).

So way to go, chemistry.com; I'm hoping that you'll draw tons of eHarmony's subscribers away from them. I recently had a friend disclose to me that she subscribed to eHarmony's services. When I told her that they refused to offer their matching services to gay/lesbian individuals, she told me that she would drop her membership in protest and demand a full refund.

Now, with chemistry.com's aggressive advertising campaign to set it as the leader in matching services for all individuals who desire a relationship, she has another route to follow. And so, hopefully, does everybody else who doesn't feel like being chastised for not adhering to the evangelical christian beliefs to which eHarmony.com subscribes.