Dating, Wipe the Drool

eHopeful Part 1: The Ascent

Meet Jim Bob Frank. Let’s call him Frank. Because frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Okay, yes I do. I soooo do.
Wait, yes I do. I soooo do.

When I joined eHarmony last year -because it seemed the most upstanding of the popular online dating sites- Frank popped up as a match almost right away. For those of you unfamiliar with eHarmony: a) Lucky! and b) They don’t trust you to wade through the man pool on your own. You take what they send you, and what they send you is based on their road-tested algorithm.

Sometimes they even have faces!
Sometimes they even have faces!

It was slim pickings out there, I could already tell, so the fact that Frank lived 3,000 miles away was of little concern. He was my age! And flossed!

I chose the least pushy of my options and sent Frank a smile, then waited with bated breath. By the next morning, we were corresponding through the protective nest of eHarmony’s guided email program.


I soon learned Frank was a conservative Navy pilot from Tennessee (stationed in the Pacific Northwest). I was a liberal project manager from New Jersey (stationed in suburban New Jersey).

Frank grew up with debutante balls and sweet tea, dogs roaming the family farm (and constantly getting hit when they wandered too close to the highway…seriously, how many times did this have to happen before you did something about it, Frank?! Don’t they make leashes in Tennessee?!). I grew up with Green Day and Trader Joe’s, roaming any one of the six mega malls near my house.

But if eHarmony said we were a perfect match, who was I to argue?

Did I mention he was an excellent speller?

We’d both recently endured traumatic divorces, but felt ready and excited for a new relationship. It took three weeks of novel-length letters before we exchanged actual email addresses, and another two weeks before we chatted in real time.

The first phone call was abysmal.

Our emails had been full of clever subject lines and sweeping romantic gestures. Our first phone chat? Stuttering and sweaty palms. The conversation felt forced, dry and unsatisfying. (Er, that’s what she said.) This is never gonna work, I thought.

After we hung up, two and a half brutal hours later, his nervous laugh echoed in my ears. My stomach flip-flopped. There was just something about it. Deep, sincere and rumbling. It reminded me of an old friend.

I couldn’t imagine not hearing that laugh again, and two weeks later, found myself saying, “Why don’t I fly out to Seattle so we can meet?”

Okay so maybe patience isn’t my strong suit.

 Stay tuned for eHopeful Part 2: We Have Lift-off!

How long would you correspond with someone before forcing the issue volunteering to fly 3,000 miles to meet?


86 thoughts on “eHopeful Part 1: The Ascent”

  1. Jules, I am keeping my fingers crossed for you. I tried eHarmony and had the worst possible experience. Someone hacked my account and was fleecing women under my name. Luckily for me one of them was bright enough to find me here in the U.S. and not in Malaysia as he said he was building condos. I complained to eHarmony and they promptly shut down my account. That’s it, no warnings to any of the women who this guy was working on. They treated me as if I were the crook. They also refused to refund my most recent payment. Beware.

    1. Thanks for the warning! I’ve heard they’re ruthless about things like that! Hopefully I won’t ever find out myself – I didn’t wind up renewing my membership last month. *blowing raspberries in their general direction*

      And wait, does this mean you still successfully met someone through eHarmony (“luckily one of them was bright enough to…”)?

      1. No, I received a couple of strange items in the mail from older ladies who this guy was ripping off. One of them was computer savvy a realized that I couldn’t be riding my bike in Chicago (as I said on the blog) and building stuff in Malaysia. She wrote me at the blog. My takeaway is that eHarmony had no thought for my welfare, only their own. I worried that some son of an old woman fleeced would come looking for me here.

  2. I don’t want to stay tuned … I want to read the rest now!

    (So good to see you back. So curious to see what’s next!)

  3. Wow… good luck!

    My husband and I met online too (he was from London, I was from KY), only through a podcast we were both listeners to so a bit unconventional! We chatted online and through Skype for nearly a year before we met in the flesh. Haven’t looked back and we’ve been together since. Married six years this April!

    1. Get out!! Congratulations! So does that mean you met in a ‘chat space’ like this one? And I think you made the right move going to London (well, I’ve never been to KY or England, so I guess I should shut my mouth). 😉

      1. We met and chatted more in a message board type setting before he sent me a friend request on MySpace (those were the days). London’s great, but I do miss KY quite regularly.

  4. A. I love your blog. 🙂
    B. As a fellow liberal who just got out of a relationship with a conservative military man who I was dating long distance, this post gives me knots in my stomach, I wish you the absolute best. I’m still processing a lot of it in my own writing.
    C. However, if it DOES go to crap and you want to feel less alone by enjoying a horror story about another long distance relationship of mine gone terribly wrong (I’m a slow learner, I guess) you’d love/hate my post about The Psycho.

    1. A. I love you! And totally not just because of the compliments. 😉
      B. I knew you were a kindred spirit! Although now I feel like I should apologize for that…
      C. This is one of those instances were I SO want to click, yet I’m afraid. (Who am I kidding? I’m clicking!)

    1. Ooh I had to get all Sherlock to figure out this was you, Christina! I can’t believe you’re finding time to read this silly blog, Momma Extraordinaire – thank you!!! 🙂

  5. 6 months. That’s how long I emailed with my guy before meeting in person (circa 1997. Yes, email existed. Camera phones did not.) Thankfully, the USAF sent him home from Panama so there was no need for me to fly anywhere. That was 18 years, one kid, two marriages (both to him) and one divorce ago. Obviously, I’m here to observe and offer absolutely no advice. 🙂

  6. Is eHarmony better than Match? Because I have had zero luck on any of them. I am destined to be alone. I don’t know how old Frank is, but I am a country girl, living in Northern California. If things don’t work between you and him, maybe send him my way. Hahahahah!

    Kidding…have a wonderful time!!

    1. (Spoiler Alert) I would never do that to you! 😉

      As for which is better…I’ll put it this way: I didn’t renew my eHarmony subscription last month. (And now I’m on Match!)

      I’m hoping we can trade war stories sometime!!

  7. It would take me approximately 15 years to take that plunge, Jules. Kudos to your courage (or your total disregard for danger and mayhem… whatevs.)

  8. Well, I don’t wanna spoil anything for anyone else, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work out. However, I did get some cool socks and chocolate from Seattle out of your failed, miserable relationship, so it’s a win for me! And that’s really who it’s all about, right? Jules? Hello?

    No, but really….can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. I’m sure it will be highly entertaining. 🙂

    1. Oh my god, I forgot about that. Ha! That store was the shiz; worthy of the finest bloggers (hint, hint… ;)) around. And I had the best bacon I’ve ever tasted, so all was DEFINITELY not lost.

  9. We will see. Perhaps, you jumped the gun a bit, Dear. If you can afford the trip, it is nice out there. So, regardless, enjoy yourself.
    If you can’t afford the trip, perhaps, you should consider one of those other sites where you get to choose the area?
    Just a thought…oh, yeah, I wish I was your age 🙂

    1. ha ha You know what’s funny (and by funny I mean frustrating) about eHarmony? They tell you if you don’t set at least a 300-mile (yes, 300!) search radius for matches, you’re basically outta luck!

      Which tells me eHarmony’s not doing so well…

  10. It sounds like most of my dates. I’m AWESOME when I have to type and chat… but absolutely horrible when I have to actually come up with something clever to say in real time. I suck at telephone conversations. I feel your pain…

    1. High five, sister friend! What’s funny is I feel like I can usually hold my own in person (or at least pretend the conversation isn’t a struggle), but the phone? Not being able to read the other person’s body language? TORTURE.

      1. TOTALLY. In person I’m okay… but over the phone? Holy crappers… Because of this, I have a severe phone avoidance.

  11. Hey Jules! I actually took an online dating course once. Yep! I sure did. I learned that it is best to get to a telephone conversation right away. Don’t spend months exchanging romantic emails, so I understand why your first phone conversation was awkard. But I wish you well. I persoanlly would make him come to me, but that is just how I roll. Do you girl!

  12. I’ve never done the on line dating thing, so I have no idea. But I did recently join Skype to see my family while I talked to them. While I was waiting for them to call (thus I was “on line,” a Brigadier Major General Huff N Puff from Who Knows Where invited me to chat with him. So if e Harmony doesn’t work out, you might wanna try Skype… 😉 I’m serious. I got hit on via Skype.

  13. Hey Jules, it;s been a long time and apparently along the way you got divorced. It happens, but pick yourself up (like you have) and get back in that saddle and move on! Life is too short, so enjoy it! I wish you well and hope for nothing but the best for you! I would have had Jim Bob & Frank fly your way for the first visit, just so you are safe. Hope at least someone knows where you are going, just in case. Have fun, but be safe my dear! I can’t wait to heat the rest! Welcome back to the blogging world again, I missed you.

      1. Hey Jules! So glad to hear that you survived! Online dating does have its ups and down, but when you can finally weed out a good guy, hold onto him! Hugs back at ya!

  14. Is it wrong that I got excited when I read “Washington” and thought DC, and then got disappointed when I read you meant Seattle? Sounds like it’s gonna be exciting!

  15. Definitely enjoying your tale and all the comments that follow. I’ve never done online dating cause, well, I’m married.
    I am waiting to hear the “rest of the story”….ala Paul Harvey – remember him? So, waiting for Part 3!

    1. 1. I’m about to get sucked into a Paul Harvey Google search I may never return from, so I hope you weren’t banking on a final installment.

      2. I wouldn’t let a silly thing like being married stand in your way! Just tell him you’re doing it for your blog! He’ll understand.

  16. I guess I’m lucky to have been out of town and not reading blogs most of the month of February. Now I can click on to the rest of the story!
    I met my husband on Yahoo personals. Luckily, he lived only 11 miles away. He was very different from most of the guys I’d dated; older, employed, respectable, no STDs; a real catch! 😉 We met in person about a month after meeting online.

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