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The dating diaries. First up: eHarmony
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 - Whats YOUR USP?
© James Woodson
But to start at the beginning, eHarmony begins with a very lengthy questionnaire. This is its USP*; the connecting on a deep level bit. Now, I know I sound scathing but believe me, I am looking for that deep spiritual connection. I really am. I just don’t like it shoved down my throat, as per the adverts.
It took me two sittings to complete, but I really do enjoy all that psycho-babble stuff. The questionnaire covers important qualities you’re looking for in a partner (affection, ambition, friendliness), your interests and theirs (food, sport, culture), and then asks you a series of questions that test how you react to certain situations -- to figure out what your feelings, values and passions are. I think this is a really good thing because it puts it all out there straight away. 
Bizarre highlights for me include the stipulations for smoking and alcohol where the survey asks, ‘How many times would you say you smoke/drink’ rated from never to several times a day. This is for your own ‘usage’ (which makes it sound like crack) and also for what you would accept from your potential super-beau. Now, forgive me if I’m wrong but doesn’t everyone lie about this stuff?

It’s amazing how many non-smokers or ‘occasional social smokers’ turn out in real life to be scrounging fags off you within about ten minutes of first meeting up. But internet dating has become the new doctors in terms of lying about consumption, whether that’s cancer sticks or units of alcohol.
I, on the other hand, refuse to be one of those charlatans and sign up, completely honestly, as someone that smokes ‘several times a week’ and ditto, drinks. This is true. A few days in, when I’ve seen quite a few of my matches, I realize that I’m pretty much in a virtual smoking room.

Now don’t get me wrong, I accept smokers with open arms. I specified (because I had to) that I’d ‘have’ someone who smokes, gasp, ‘several times a day’, because I honestly don’t mind that. But equally, I’ll happily take on a non-smoker. I can’t help but think, though, I’ve basically been ‘matched’ (you know, on that deep spiritual level) with a ton of smokers precisely because I smoke. That’s my USP, which I can’t say I’m that happy about.

*USP, for those not familiar, means "unique selling point."


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