As I clicked through the mammoth-size compatibility survey for Compatible Partners, a few thoughts raced through my mind. Would my fiancé, whom I have been with for seven years, get a glimpse at my e-mail that evening and see a message welcoming me to a dating website? What if I am completely delusional about how awesome I am, and thus unmatchable? Should I declare that I’m agnostic — my Roman Catholic mother would have a conniption — even if it were for the sake of this story and not actually finding my mate? Would I end up running away with some 26-year-old woman who loved pugs and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and then appear in some lovey-dovey commercial with Natalie Cole singing in the background?

Clearly this online dating thing is slightly daunting to me. I’ve done minimal dating beyond group dates at the mall food court — I’ve been with the same person since I was 18. But out of curiosity, and to check out Compatible Partners on the first anniversary of its launch, I decided to give it a whirl.

After about 35 minutes, I was paired with about a dozen women who were compatible, according to our surveys. And a few of those women within a hundred-mile radius of my house should know they’ve made me think at least a little bit.

But just a year ago, I would not have been matched up with those dozen
lovely ladies by the folks at eHarmony. That site, eHarmony, Compatible
Partners’ parent company and sister website for straight daters, was
founded in 2000 by Neil Clark Warren. You may know the practicing
psychiatrist for his warm, happy television commercials on television,
featuring a handful of the many (hetero) couples who were matched by
the site.

Warren has said in the past that he personally was not
attuned to the dynamics of gay and lesbian relationships and therefore
would not know how to match gay people properly. So the company elected to
not offer compatibility tests to gays and lesbians, despite conjuring
countless successful relationships for straight people looking for
long-term love. In an interview with National
Public Radio's Terry Gross in 2005, Warren said, among other things,
that he consulted others on how to possibly set up a similar site for
long-term gay dating. It just wasn’t eHarmony’s bag.

But one single gay man just wasn’t buying it.

Tags: Commentary