All your adult life, you’ve been picking out bad boys, guys who charm your mother but have a lot of traffic tickets. Guys who ride motorcycles that aren’t paid for but, because they are smiling all the time, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal that their debt is likely to crawl up the ass of your bank account and clean you clear out. They are so much fun, the bad boys, even with all the hairpin turns and broken glass, that you just can’t quit them. Life with the bad boys is head twirling, breathless, endlessly fascinating to you but not your friends who long ago became bored by your narrative of how you bailed the last three out of jail in the middle of the night.

But then you’re alone. The last bad boy leaves for rehab. And you wonder what’s next.

Up pops the ad for eHarmony.

You fill out the questionnaire and, yes, you tell the nice eHarmony people that you are looking for someone who would be compatible with you, who would feel at home with thrice-weekly yoga sessions and whole grain Thanksgiving festivals. Your mirror image would be left-wing, have a socially progressive job, ride his bicycle to work, and eschew excess that involves alcohol or drugs or loud engines or colorful animation. He would be close to his family and be committed to weekly date nights that involved dinner and a movie and then resting at home. He shouldn’t be too tall or too wide, he should dress carefully but so as not to draw attention to himself. And he should like, appreciate, and endorse all of your qualities. There can’t be anything contrary about him.

You open the door to the first match. He is grey and tan with taupe accents. He is very thin, flinty with a lot of change in his pockets. His bike is a Schwinn.

You are momentarily taken aback but then remember: You are looking for harmony, after all. Isn’t that what makes relationships work?

It’s scientific, you know.


#30/100: 30th in a series of 100 essays in 100 days