“You have a suggested match from YourFriend on SawYouAtSinai!” exclaims the flagged email at the top of my inbox. I’ve been staring at it a for a week now. So I unflag it, but refrain from deleting. I don’t know why. I have no intention of clicking through.
About five years ago, an identical email did get me to click through. I set up a profile just to find out who the guy was. I was disappointed, after all that effort, to find out that I couldn’t see the guy’s name without plunking down cash. So i logged off, but let my profile hang around a while. And that only got me more emails about matches being sent to me. Finally, I caved.
I signed up.
That credit card charge for 9 months of service could be described as the biggest instantaneous waste of money of my life, excepting the time I got a speeding ticket. My membership expired after 9 months without my having a single date to show for it. Somehow, I managed to refrain from renewing.
But my profile was still out there, floating around in Sinai-space. And not realizing that I wasn’t a Gold member, shadchanim would occasionally throw a match at me. But, as I explained to one shadchan, it never seemed worth $18 for just a chance at a date.
Things finally came to a head earlier this year when a SYAS shadchan actually called me to ask what was up with my profile. “I see you’ve let most suggestions expire,” she said.
“I can’t exactly accept or reject,” I pointed out. “I’m merely a non-metallic member, restricted to hands-tied gazing at nameless profiles.”
“Oh,” she said. “Well would you like to sign up?”
“No, not really,” I said. “I can get no dates myself, without paying for the privilege. I can even get dates myself, often enough to keep me happy.”
“Well you’re lucky then,” she said briskly. “I recommend that you delete your profile.”
So I did.
But SYAS works on the candyshop principle. They keep dangling things in front of you until you give in and go inside. And the crazy part is, all the teasing and advertising and carrot-waving is done not by SYAS itself, but by well-meaning volunteers. All those friends and unpaid shadchanim who say “I saw this guy I think would be great for you on SYAS.”
You hear it a half-dozen times and it starts to get to you. Especially during dry periods when you start to doubt that you can find someone on your own, while everyone seems to know someone for you on SYAS, and maybe you’re going to die alone with cats because you’re too much a parsimonious curmudgeon to just sign up for what you know is an awful experience but which is also some kind of Singles Tax every woman must pay until she’s neatly stashed away in some man’s care.
Let’s be straight about this: The site isn’t exactly philanthropic. The singles can’t set you up with their discards, and the shadchanim aren’t allowed to bypass the website. Really, there’s no option but for you to bite the bullet and plunk down the cash.
But then my inner cat-lady says “No! I will not cave! I will not spend good, hard-earned money on a fruitless service with a debatable ROI!” And thus inspired, I straighten my back and stand strong against temptation. I can do this.
In fact, just typing that paragraph so inspired me that I think I’m going to delete that email. Thank you, YourFriend, for thinking of me, but I will stand strong.
Besides, I’d have to set up my profile again.