Courtney, honey, it's not you, it's them.
Yes, sometimes neither party is at fault when there's a bad fit, but
knowing something about each, I'm going to go ahead and blame eHarmony for its inability to find a Love match.
While researching my book I Love You, Let's Meet: Adventures in Online
Dating, I joined and "dated" on eHarmony
for a month, slogging through steps like "list your dealbreakers," "ask
him about his dealbreakers," "ask him 3 questions from this list of
boring questions," "see if he picked the same boring questions or
different ones! Now answer them." This unfolded at a snail's pace with
photos withheld, all parties apparently trusting that eHarmony was
digging up the perfect mate for everyone. For this you pay 50 bucks a
month, ignoring the successful online dating protocol of searching, via
parameters you choose, through profiles with pictures. It's as if, after years
of learning how to drive at night, you paid someone who doesn't know
your destination to grab the steering wheel and turn the lights off.
And I didn't even need a picture to know the handful of men dropped into
my inbox lived miles further away than I'd requested, shared none of my
interests, and said nothing intriguing in their profiles.
Everyone seemed dull, and the 436-question test concluded I was dull
too. "You may prefer mainstream ideas...stable and traditional
activities rather than new trailblazing activities," the test tabulators
wrote. A no-gays-allowed, Christian-run site was telling ME I was
mainstream? But I transgress, I protested to my computer screen -- I've
done naked performance art, civil disobedience (awkward urination on the
Pentagon from inside a bush), and a threesome. By spurring me to make
that list, eHarmony was pushing me toward Courtney Love and away from
satisifed eHarmony customer.
I'm not saying I'd necessarily want to date her. Courtney is famously
self- and other-destructive, one of the youngest people the New York
Times readied an obituary for in 2003. But I always want to hear what
she has to say, about the music industry about dairy; and especially, in her music, about fitting a big, loud, needy, messy
self into a version of womanhood that can be loved.
(As with all great works, new layers keep bubbling up.
Listening to Live Through This
while re-reading the cheese rant suddenly revealed it as the most
lactose-intolerant great rock record. Yes, there's that famous dream to
be the girl with the most cake, but three songs feature bad milk that's
spoiled, thwarted, or "has a dick.")
Furthermore, Love's an appealing actress and she is accessible, even
beneficent with her acolytes, as "Court" or "Corkscrew" or "CL" on
Again, I can see not wanting to date her, but I don't want to swim in a
pool that won't let in the world's Courtney Loves. eHarmony and other
sites that lean on compatibility quizzes and type-matching encourage a
bleaching out of all difference and eccentricity, and so the profiles
and communications just get more and more mediocre and dispiriting. You
see the same fear of variety when you watch TV -- as plastic surgery
becomes de rigeur for all women past 45(? 35?), everyone ends up with
the same face.
But Courtney can even make plastic surgery into outsider performance art. She's alway been the bard of not-pretty-enough, "the girl who can't look you in the eye." Her surgical safaris are just another case of her reflecting modern womanhood back to us in shards of funhouse mirror. She's playing her face and body like an instrument, a
tabloid version of Orlan, and her music is always interesting, even if she's yet to recapture
the poetic roar of Hole's second record.