What is reality? ANTM is probably more reliable than eHarmony.com.

Entertainment Essay
Written by Nathan Mattise

Every two two to three weeks Nate takes a break from his regular viewing of absurd reality television. He then reflects. What does this addictive television medium say about us if art is truly an extension of life? Who knows, but there’s no harm in trying to figure it out. This week: America’s Next Top Model.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this obnoxious eHarmony commercial (or some obnoxious alternative) in the past two months. Maybe it’s a New Mexico thing because it’s literally everywhere. I don’t even get cable but on the five channels that come in without static I see this daily. Multiple times daily.

The ad shows people who’ve found love because someone analyzed them and told them what they should be looking for. That’s why everyones’ relationships fail and love is a myth afterall – none of us have a single clue about who we should end up with. That reality show on after Age of Love is based entirely on this premise. This premise makes me less upset about my own hopeless dating situation. It tells me I’m certainly not alone.

Anyway, normally I’d accept this as a fact of life and move on. But not today. Today was Saturday. Saturday meant I had no work. No work meant I could waste away in front of the living room’s cable TV. And cable TV on a Saturday meant one thing – America’s Next Top Model entire cycle marathons.

This particular Saturday MTV was gracious and replayed ANTM Cycle III. It’s my favorite cycle of ANTM because it features two of my five all-time ANTM favs: Norelle and YaYa (the rest of the top five is Elyse from Cycle I, Lluvy from Cycle VII, and Shandi from Cycle II). However MTV also displayed a cruel sense of humor. I lost count of how many eHarmony spots aired after the first seven.

The dreaded dating scientistsThis is what led to the realization of a lifetime. Maybe eHarmony was wrong. Maybe I did know exactly what I wanted in the romantic realm. It was right in front of me the whole time – model caricatures interacting with each other in surreal scenarios so viewers could relate to them in different ways. How did I never realize this before? My reactions to ANTM could tell me exactly what I was yearning for in the opposite sex.

I had to lay down some groundwork to prove this theory. First I concluded this should work because both eHarmony and ANTM will remove the “physical attractiveness” factor which will allow you to see who you should be interested in based on personality. All the girls on ANTM are gorgeous so you can’t go wrong. eHarmony users mostly decline to upload pictures for “unknown” reasons. Perfect.

Second, I needed to know what the dreaded eHarmony would recommend for me to make sure ANTM worked better. I took the never-ending 240-question-plus test that would grant me a personality profile and tried to answer it as honestly as possible (note how I ranked myself on the 1-to-7 scale: 6 in well groomed, 5 in handsome, 4 in sexy). Here are the highlights of what the profile, which breaks you into five overall descriptions, told me:

I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF AND OTHERS which means both the “tender-hearted” and the “tough-hearted” can find benefits in me. I’m SOMETIMES CURIOUS, SOMETIMES CONTENT which means I’m indecisive and open which people who are set-in-their-ways will hate. I’m RESPONSIVE which means I will relate best to people who freely express their emotions. I’m FOCUSED AND FLEXIBLE which will turn off “marines” and “kite-flyer” types. I’m finally OUTGOING which means “most people will be glad to be near you.”

What does that all mean? I need someone who is flexible, embraces their emotions and then they can basically vary in all other realms. Just as I expected. Thanks for the info eHarmony. You really helped me narrow the search.

Editor’s note: I received 7 replies within the first hour of my profile results being available. One girl described herself as having a “mysterious personality,” one girl attends Cornell (which may be considered immoral for a Syracuse student) and one girl’s greatest inspiration in life was a marine – which eHarmony said stay away from. For the most part it was a mix of business women, women who want someone who’ll make them laugh and women who are “outgoing but shy when you first get to know them.”

Re-watching Cycle III of ANTM on the other hand… that narrowed me right down into what I should be looking for.

I wasn’t drawn to Magdalena, Leah, Julie, Kristi, Jennipher, Kelle or Cassie. They were coincidently the first seven eliminated. This cleary means I need a girl who’s in it for the long haul. I didn’t see that specified in my eHarmony profile.

Next I had brief flirtations with Toccara and Ann but neither of them stuck. Toccara was the plus-sized model that started off with a bang, even winning CoverGirl of the week at points, but slowly lost her thunder. Ann was a physically gorgeous girl who just never learned to harness her potential through the camera’s lens. Maybe eHarmony had something in the multiple business women returns – it seems like I need someone with a lasting drive. That, or I just can’t handle someone who’s stronger than me (Ann was 5’11” and ripped) or someone who gets labeled as “motherly” by her peers (my apologies to Toccara and this woman who’s picture comes up when you Google “motherly”).

The remaining five contestsants are the really telling ones (well, four contestants. I don’t remember anything about Nicole Borud, but she made it very far in the competition despite being from North Dakota. I don’t know if I could be with someone that extraordinary). What’s left is Eva, Amanda, YaYa and Norelle. I already gave away my preference about six or seven graphs up, but here comes the explanation why.

Amanda had unique beauty and was the definition of calm and laid-back. All three of those are pluses in my eyes. Eva was energetic, honest and seems like she would be an absolute freak behind closed doors (eHarmony asks you about this stuff, it’s relevant). Again, seems like nothing wrong. eHarmony would match me up with either woman. But there is evidence in direct conflict with that assessment and it’s what turned me off to both of them. I distinctly remember flipping through the channels because both girls were hardcore drama mamas at times.

It started in episode four where Amanda’s stuff goes missing and she blames Eva. She even goes as far as to plant money out as bait, “What’s a 10-dollar bill to catch a bitch, hmm?” She’d be in and out of catty mode for the rest of the series. Eva on the other hand gradually became the girl no one in the house likes for a majority of the season. She even pissed off her best friend from the beginning of the cycle, Ann, so much that towards the end of the series, the CW would go into major montages of “we used to be friends, now we hate each other. Why?” Sure they cleared it up on Where are they now? after the show, but it was too late. eHarmony might say I want free flowing emotions, but ANTM told me I’m just inclined to change the channel.

Fierce, eh?In the end I was smitten with Norelle and YaYa. They’re both laid back, passionate about different things, intelligent… I could go on but you can just read interviews with each girl. The bottom line is these girls kept me watching a reality show about models, fashion and girl-to-girl drama for more than four hours on a perfectly good Saturday in Albuquerque.

Yes this tells me I need a life.

But it also tells me who I need in my life, at least better than eHarmony can.


(Links today via: Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary, eHarmony and Google Images, BigBTV.com)

If you’ve got a reality show Nate should get into or you just want to let him know how ridiculous he is (and that’d you like 10 minutes of your life back), e-mail him.
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1 Comment

Filed under Entertainment, Essays

One response to “What is reality? ANTM is probably more reliable than eHarmony.com.

  1. Brian

    Perhaps nobody knows what they want in the opposite sex (or the same for that matter). Maybe what we need is somebody else to step in and tell us what we need. Perhaps we need a close friend or a neighbor with an eerie ability to know exactly what you want and need in a partner. Or maybe everybody just needs their own short-haired, artistic girl with funky glasses who knows what a flexatone is… Whatever the answer, I hope you find it.

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