Our male Seedster’s search for Ms. Right

Tuesday, Feb. 21

I’m not sure what I did to anger Chemistry.com—maybe they found this blog—but I was only given one match today. Perhaps there was only one girl who fit me, in which case, I applaud that decision. Still, I’m a bit perplexed as to why I got shafted on matches.

No need to worry though, Jill the scientist and I have begun discussing when we will have our First MeetingTM. In a brave move, I decided to take our email exchanges off of Chemistry.com and just go about it the old fashioned way. Part of my reasoning came from reading my female counterparts’ blog. I wanted to avoid Chemistry.com’s suggested meeting place—I don’t like Starbucks’ coffee anyways—and allow Jill and I to figure it out together.

I don’t think this contaminates our little Seed experiment at all, since at this stage, all we could do through Chemistry.com is email back and forth and reject their suggested meeting place.

I don’t know if we are a “great match,” but I do think we have a lot in common: similar taste in music, at a similar stage of life. But I could just be searching for these attributes in an attempt to justify what is essentially a blind date—an activity I normally try to avoid.

The date hasn’t been set just yet, but I think we are close. I’m excited and scared. Oddly enough my biggest fear is that this girl will turn out to be a perfect match, and I’ll have to tell her about this blog in a very Never Been Kissed/Drew Barrymore scene.

Monday, Feb. 20

Late Sunday night I got a reply from Jill the virus manipulator. Now I have the option to email her and at any time I can request a “First Meeting TM.” Which brings up an odd point about Chemistry.com: How have they trademarked the term “First Meeting,” and why do they slide in that little annoying TM every time they use the phrase. Does Chemistry.com officially take credit for all encounters now?

Small quirks like the above aside, I’m beginning to have serious qualms with Chemistry.com. Earlier I was matched with another Seed employee and while I thought it was funny, I remarked on the notion that they are obviously in need of a wider range of subjects. Hitting even closer to home, this weekend I was matched up with two of the girls that live in the apartment above me.

Again, it could just be that fate has placed me within shouting distance of not one but two soul mates. Or, Chemistry.com might just be matching me up with anybody that fits my age range and has a higher level of estrogen than I do. I assume they filled out their profiles on the same day, which explains why I was matched with both of them at the same time. Again, this supports the notion that they don’t have enough subjects to really match me with somebody that fits.

Finally, why is everyone proposed to me as a “great match”? Why can’t Chemistry.com give some valuations? Maybe the girls upstairs could be shown to me as “a convenient but not long-term match,” and maybe another girl offered as a “so-so match.” I’m a realistic guy. I’d understand and appreciate the honesty. I sincerely doubt that all five of the girls who are paired with me every day will end up being a great match. I guess that’s why they created these extra steps.

So now I’m going to email Jill the scientist. My hope is that I’ll get a date before my editor decides to cancel this love blog.

Friday, Feb. 17

(Sigh.) It looks like I’m back to the waiting game.

I thought all was going well with Jill the scientist—within two days we were moving past the second stage of the Chemistry.com meeting process. I was really excited about rounding third base, but something must of happened to spook her.

Perhaps I scared her with my short answers. She confessed to me that she is working on “telling the story of little viruses” and wanted me, as a young journalist, to tell her a story. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone with a story that was more flattering than funny, because humor sometimes gets lost in writing. Anyway, she might think I’m a weirdo now (and worse, yet, not funny).

What really aggravates me is that all my interactions are dictated by Chemistry.com. I was really tempted to send her a note in the story with my email address or Myspace link or something. I decided not to because I wanted to keep our little Seed experiment pure. But all of this would be so much easier if at this stage I could just send a message that said, “Holla back,” instead of waiting through all these artificial steps.

A part of me wants to send another kind of message to the clubbing girls that I’ve been waiting on hearing back from for over a week now. It’s obvious these girls aren’t interested in me, so I wouldn’t mind having the opportunity to just shout out something to the tune of, “Yea, well, your eyes are too close together!” But Chemistry.com, in all their genius, has prepared for such emotional reactions. It is impossible for me to express my newly brewed disinterest in them.

Five more matches today. But the real news is that it looks like Jill the virus manipulator has vanished from my life, almost as quickly as she came in.


Thursday, Feb 16

Five more matches came in today, and I have nothing too exciting to say about them. Perhaps that’s because I’m distracted by the progress I’ve been making with the scientist girl from yesterday’s picks.

Quickly after I expressed interest, she reciprocated, and we began to dance the dance that is “Relationship Essentials,” where we choose, on a sliding scale, what factors are important in a healthy relationship. The entire Seed web staff looked over my shoulder when I got her response, as if to say, “Way to go tiger.”

This time around I tried to stay pretty neutral, not expressing too much interest or disinterest in anything. It must have worked because the scientist—lets call her ‘Jill’—responded pretty quickly with her own set of ideas. I was a little miffed to find out that this was still not the end of the first of three stages we have to complete before we can meet.

Next I had to respond to her set of picks, on the same sliding scale, to see if I rated them as important or equally un-important. I was happy to see that we chose seven out of ten of the same factors. Hopefully we rated them in the same direction (important or un-important), otherwise Chemistry.com might suggest that we are just too different to meet, and all would be lost. But assuming our personalities really are similar (and encouraged by the overlap in factors), I went with my gut.

The excruciating part of this experience is finding out the differences on the sliding scale that you gave each factor after the fact. How important is it that your partner be “very attractive”? Maybe I’m a jerk, because it was more important to me. How important is religion? I guess I’m a heathen because I definitely marked it more unimportant than she did. Had I known we were going to look at these choices under a microscope maybe I would have responded to her questions a little more judiciously.

Somehow I made it past this stage with Jill the scientist and now I’m about to send her some “short answer topics”—little questions that I guess are supposed to spark a conversation. Too bad the suggested questions are lame lines that you use on girls at a bar when you are running out of things to say, such as, “What kinds of things do you like to do?” and “What are your favorite guilty pleasures?” They seem very distant, general and vague.

I guess I should start thinking of responses to these types of questions because the way Chemistry.com works, everything goes both ways before you can move on to the next step.

Wednesday, Feb. 15

Alas, Valentines Day has come and gone (as has the deadline my editor set for getting a date through Chemistry.com). Although I spent the night spooning a bottle of booze, I don’t feel defeated.

In an attempt to pull myself up by my bootstraps, I added a new photo and changed my personal greeting message on my profile. But why are my potential dates even reading the greeting? Shouldn’t they just assume that I’m a good guy, and our personalities fit, as dictated by the computer algorithm that matched us up in the first place? Still, it never hurts to mention you play an instrument or two, so I slipped that little fact in when I could.

Today’s matches were varied: One girl appeared to be a graduate student in science somewhere in New York. Maybe we could get together and talk about biology.

My annoyance with geographical boundaries flared up again when I was paired with a girl from Connecticut. Maybe I’m a snob about it, but I’d prefer to meet somebody in this state.

Tuesday, Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day)

Today, I made a drastic move. I decided to change some info in my profile: I downgraded from smoking every day to smoking only a few times a week. 

In truth the adjustment is not totally dishonest. I mean, I want to quit, and for the right girl, maybe I would. My theory is that some potential dates may have been turned off by my tendency to smoke. Then again, I could be making excuses as some form of self-defense, considering my inability to find a date thus far.

None of today’s matches had accompanying pictures, which made it incredibly easy to express my interest in them. I figure I should just trust the science and hope that our personalities will mesh beautifully. 

I was a little upset that two of my matches lived 34 and 44 miles away, respectively. In my profile, I specifically requested people within a 25 mile radius of where I live. Luckily, my other three matches are all within five miles. 

However, I realize that one of these profiles is probably a phony. I mean, who really describes their father as “a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery.” (Well Dr. Evil did, but who in the real world?) Then again, assuming this person is fake could just be my self-defense mechanism kicking in again. 

Later today, if I find some time, I’m going to change the wording in the “What I’m Looking For” section, too; you know, just to spice it up a bit. Maybe I need to be more enticing. Still, I thought the whole point of this site was that I could just “be myself” and rely only on my underlying personality to match me up. I guess it goes to show that in the world of dating there is always a game to play. 

Sunday, Feb. 12

None of today’s matches have pictures. I’m afraid I’m getting down to the crop of people that filled out a profile but never actually signed up for the dating aspect when they found out it wasn’t free. I can’t blame them though, the questions are enticing.

I got another request to fill out some “Relationship Essentials.” This new match is just fine on the “Mental Stability” sliding scale and oddly enough we are perfect matches on the “Conscientious” scale, which measures how disciplined and focused we are. I’d be excited if this date turns out, but I’m starting to become skeptical about finding a date through Chemistry.com. Maybe I should start perusing Craigslist?

Saturday, Feb. 11

I’ve discovered that trying to get a date is hard work. I still haven’t been on Chemistry.com for even a week, so I’m trying not to get anxious. I figure that with science as my guide, Chemistry.com would lead me on a quick and easy expedition into the world of love. What I’ve come to find out is that indeed, this dating thing takes effort. Valentines Day is quickly approaching and all I have to show thus far are my “Relationship Essentials.”

I have not heard back from the girl who reciprocated my interest, which makes me think that she either didn’t approve of my priorities or she had a nervous breakdown and left New York for the Virgin Islands. But I shall not give up. Every day I receive five more scientifically approved matches and somehow, someway I will convince one of them to go on a date with me. And then our little experiment will be tested in the real world.

Friday, Feb. 10

I received a reply!

One girl has responded to my expression of interest. My initial reaction was excitement, but this was quickly numbed when I found out that there were more steps in the process to actually nailing a date (and I don’t mean that in a sexual way).

The next step is picking my “Relationship Essentials.” This is where I judge, on a sliding scale, five qualities in a significant other that are important to me and five qualities that aren’t important to me. I decided that I did not care too much about money, style, sharing money, religion or having someone be too dependent on me. I also decided that I was looking for someone that found humor to be an important part of their life, resolved arguments, had a good family life and was, ahem, attractive—all reasonable requests, I think.

I will admit I got a bit worried when I checked out the full profile of the girl that reciprocated interest in me. On the sliding scale of “Emotional Stability,” which measures how “calm and collected” a person is, she ranks a slither away from the bare bottom. Too bad mental stability wasn’t a possible choice in my “Relationship Essentials.”

Thursday, Feb 9

Every day I get five new matches. Today one match stood out in the group. That’s because I already knew her, in fact she is sitting next to me right now. The day I filled out the form, other Seed staffers did so as well to get a feel for the questions and see how they faired on the spatial reasoning tests.

New York is a very large city and while there is always the possibility that fate has placed me right next to my soul mate, I tend to believe that our matching is a sign that there aren’t enough people signed up to the still-beta version New York Chemsitry.com site. In a city of eight million, what are the odds that two people who took the same hour and a half questionnaire sitting next to each other on the same day are going to end up as a “great match”? Well, if only 50 or so people have signed up in the NYC area, I suppose the odds aren’t that bad.

Well that was the excitement for today. Luckily, I know it’s a bad idea to date a co-worker. I bet her boyfriend will agree with me on that one.

Wednesday, Feb. 8

So science is going to find my perfect mate.  When my editors told me to try out Chemistry.com to see if it was bogus, I was up to the challenge. What did I have to lose, maybe I’d find the woman of my dreams.

Creating a profile and answering all the questions took me about an hour and a half. But, in truth, this was a fun experience. I kept wondering exactly how questions like, “Do you ever find yourself counting?” or “Do you prefer lions or apes at the zoo?” were going to pair me up with a date that was just right. I rather enjoyed the spatial reasoning skills, which I assume were there to estimate the amount of testosterone in my brain. I felt like a real man’s man when I completed those perfectly.

When all was said and done, I found out my major and minor personality traits: I am a Director with a touch of Builder. But when I started reading up on what this meant I began to smell a chemistry rat. “You are a leader—an independent thinker who approaches problems with a rigorous, rational and systematic mind.” A flattering assessment, I’d say, but I think I’ve read the same vague description of me in a fortune cookie.  After some more reading I got the impression that all the personality types—the others being Builder, Negotiator and Explorer—were described in a way that would guarantee approving nods from anyone. It just has that horoscope-like tone that you can’t take too seriously.

After reading up on myself I anxiously clicked through to see who all I had been matched with. My initial reaction was disappointment. The forces that are drawing us together must be below the surface because in general the girls don’t look to be my type. To be honest they don’t even resemble the girls I’m normally attracted to. I’m usually into earthy girls; some might even call them hippies. A good portion of my matches looked like they spent a good portion of their time at midtown clubs. But I’m a dive bar kind of guy. I reminded myself that similar preferences in bars may not imply compatibility as much as complementary personality traits, so I went ahead and expressed my interest in all of the ladies. The majority of my matches have been Negotiators with a few Builders here and there.

Originally published February 14, 2006


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