It’s 2:00pm. I’m a coffee shop in Mt. Airy between teaching gigs and despite outward appearances, I am working.
I know it doesn’t look like it—I’m drinking a “hot hot chocolate” and my web browser is open to approximately four different dating sites—but I really am working, I swear. Just ask my new editor over at AOL’s City’s Best: Philadelphia.
First order of business? To reactive my Match.com subscription.
Lucky for me, they’ve kept my old profile and all of my photographs. (I don’t know whether to be relieved by this—at least I won’t have to start from scratch?— or creped out. Companies like Match.com and eHarmony aren’t exactly known for their business ethics and for all I know, I’ve been added to some sort of terrorist watch list.)
Match provides me with approximately seventeen “optional add-ons” for my subscription. They’re only optional, however, if you manage to outsmart the system (which I do, thanks to my familiarity with their “automatic renewal” policies) and complete your order a la carte.
First up is a feature called “MatchTalk.”
Only $5.99/month for 3 months! A voice can say so much…talk with other members on your own phone, but keep your number confidential.
Well folks, I hate talking on the phone as it is. I’m certainly not going to pay for the privilege.
Next is “Email Read Notification.”
Only $3.99/month for 3 months! Find out when your matches read the email you sent them.
Once again, I pass. I obsess about these sorts of things enough on my own, thank you very much.
After a few moments’ deliberation, I do decide to spring for a “Highlighted Profile.” (Only $2.84/month for 3 months! Make sure your profile stands out and attracts others with a unique color and look.) This means that my profile picture will appear in a special green box instead of the standard gray. Amazing, right? But that “unique” green box could mean the difference between happily-ever-after and still-serial-dating-at-seventy so I consider it nine dollars well spent.
Last but not least, I decide to add the “First Impressions” package. (Only $2.84/month for 3 months! Improve your chance of being contacted by being seen by our newest members in their first round of emailed matches.) I don’t recall having seen this particular add-on on offer before but it seems like a good idea, right?
I have to say, the entire process feels rather like booking a ticket on Ryan Air. (“Do you want to use the bathroom? That’ll be five Euros. Would you like a glass of water? Seven pounds fifty, please. Care for a seat? An armrest? An armrest on both sides? You can upgrade to a seat with an actual seatbelt for an extra twenty quid. And as always, thank you for flying Ryan Air.”)
The only difference is that unlike Ryan Air, there’s no guarantee that I’ll end up picnicking with a handsome Austrian in Madrid’s Parque del Buen Retiro (which is exactly what happened the last time I availed myself of Europe’s most notorious low fares airline). Granted Ryan Air doesn’t expressly guarantee the whole picnicking-with-a-handsome-foreigner but they probably should (for an extra $4.89/month for three months of course.)