A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

Love E-Harmony Style
By Gwen Jimmere

You know, I started writing this article by attempting to be as politically correct as possible, stating a substantial amount of well-researched facts and throwing in a few opinions here and there for good measure. After about 500 words, I got bored. So I got the bright idea to waste some overly-priced ink and print out my awful first draft. I then crumpled it into a nice, crinkly ball, made like Air Jordan (complete with the tongue hanging out and everything), and slam dunked that mess right into the make-shift basket I call my garbage can.

As you can see, I’m pretty awesome.

Yeah, I said it and I don’t take it back. I’m young, black and gifted (as clearly exemplified by my crazy dunking skills) and, like my counterparts, I have the qualifications required to attract an equally young, black and gifted man. Actually, ball players need not apply…I’ve heard about your type.

I’m pretty positive, but I don’t need to explain how bleak the dating pool has been looking lately. It seemed so much easier in high school and college. Back then, I was surrounded by a plethora of young, like-minded, black men with big dreams and drive to match, but alas, life happened. Many a college cutie dropped out, flunked out, knocked up a fellow cutie with a booty, or just flat-out said “to hell with it” and fell off the face of the earth. Grad school wasn’t much better. With six African American male graduate students on campus and forty-plus African American female grad students, dating while getting my Masters was like living in a miniature version of Atlanta’s notoriously ridiculous male-female ratio.

So that puts me where I am today: a single, physically fit, attractive, 20-something African American woman with a great career, a few major assets, no kids, no drama. You’d think the brothas would be beating down my door. Negative.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some fellas who have asked me out, but let’s be honest: the dating pool is wrought with tons of guys who, frankly, don’t measure up. I need conversations with my man not to be limited to spittin’ and Sprewells. He has to not only have goals, but a plan of action to attain them. Call me superficial, but I must be attracted to my mate, no matter how great a guy he is. I can’t bring myself to get close to someone who looks like Beetlejuice. To be fair, I gather the dating pool is looking rather bleak out there for the fellas, too.

So what’s a girl to do?

Like any poor, unfortunate, computer-literate soul, living in the 21st century, I hit up the internet. Online dating, while still considered taboo by many in the black community, is increasingly becoming a go-to option for many black professionals. Besides, times, as well as schools of thought, are changing and if you can’t keep up, you will get left behind, or in this case, left sitting on your La-Z-Boy on "Single's Awareness Day," otherwise known as Valentine’s Day, watching Love Connection reruns and reminiscing about the good ole days when Chuck Woolery was young and spry. While it’s perfectly okay to be single on V-day, nobody wants to be single on that day.

I registered with E-Harmony, Yahoo! Personals and Plenty of Fish, the latter evidently being the largest dating site of them all, yet one I had never heard of until I opted to embark on this journey.

E-Harmony was a complete and utter joke. I wasted sixty bucks just to receive an average of eight daily matches, seven of which didn’t have profile photos. The ones that did have profile photos were usually well above my age range (despite me selecting a specific age range in my settings).

After being burned by E-Harmony, I refused to pay for another dating site. Yahoo! Personals allowed me to send free, pre-written messages they call “Winks”. This time, I received many more matches from men with pictures who were within my age range. Score! Of course, it was too good to be true. Way too many of them seemed to have missed a couple English classes in elementary school, as their profiles were plagued with non-existent punctuations, grossly misspelled words, run-on sentences, and an awful lot of double negatives. Example from someone claiming to have a Ph.D.: “I dont wont no girl wit no kids cuz I not wit dat at dis point in my live.” *Blank stare*

With confidence in this online dating thing at an all-time low, I tried Plenty of Fish. Lots of men in my age range: check. Plenty of profile pics: check. People who know how to write complete sentences including subjects and predicates: check. Within 24 hours of posting my profile, I had 22 messages, 11 of which were from black professional men.

Long story short, I ended up connecting with three out of the eleven guys. They weren’t crazy, cyber-sexed out, axe murderers, despite well-intentioned warnings from friends and family. Charles* is a 6’4” plastic surgeon who enjoys extreme sports. Derrick* is a 6’1”, extroverted artist whose work was recently on display at a renowned museum in NYC. Shaun* is a 6’3” construction company owner who teaches couples cooking classes on the weekends. Not bad, huh? Take that, you online dating-haters.

Looks like Chuck Woolery is going to have to find another date this Valentine’s day. I’m all booked up.