Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dating And The Singles Epidemic...

I realize that in writing this particular post, I run the risk of annoying a bunch of people. Therefore, I'd like to stress that these are my personal views, based on my own personal experiences so feel free to disagree....

A good friend and I dabble as amateur matchmakers.  She's more seriously involved than I am, but I would venture to guess that we talk on the phone regarding a guy or a girl about every other day - sometimes more.  It's true when they say that every happily married woman wants to marry off her single friends.  I'll suspect it's something more prevalent with girls than guys, but every girl at some point in their lives dreamt of their dream wedding.  Every aspect of it was thought of (or scrapbooked...): what the dress would look like, where the event would be held, the kind of bouquet she would hold and how gorgeous her updo would look. And of course, there is a guy, but his face is blank.  He's the great unknown and while they might have an idea of what they prefer he'd look like, or how handsome he'll be, it's still only in their dreams.  And married or not, all us of carry around with us this unshakable belief that there is someone out there for everyone.
So let's get down to the point.  As great as social networking is for keeping in touch with all the people in your life no matter your physical location, it is - in my humble opinion - ruining the dating world.  Case in point: I call a guy with info about a girl.  She's more or less everything he's looking for in terms of personality, height, looks, religious level, schooling etc.  I hear him clicking away as I try and "sell" this potential date and in the middle of the conversation, he cuts me off and says, "Sorry, not for me. Thanks anyways."  And that's the end of the conversation.  I know why he said no.  Of course I know.  He was checking her out on Facebook while I was describing her and based on her profile pic (which we all know doesn't always do justice to anyone...) made a snap decision.  That describes most of the guys I've tried to set up.
The girls are a different story.
I called a girl up with info on a guy.  Same story - exactly what she's looking for based on info that she gave me.  On paper he sounds great.  Not to mention that he's heard of her, isn't seeing anyone at the moment and is super interested in meeting her.  So she says she'll get back to me.  And I know what she's doing.  She has to check him out.  She doesn't just call her best friend and ask her opinion, but proceeds to call anyone and everyone that might have a connection with this guy and weighs in everyone's opinion.  It will take her more than a week to get back to me and then she'll say no.  But by then it didn't matter anymore, since the guy didn't want to sit around and wait and ended up going out with another girl.

So here's a few things that bother me.
1.  Facebook!
When I was dating - and although I really don't want to sound ancient here, I will disclose the years for the sake of the post - more than 20 years ago, there was no Facebook.  Someone called you (or your mom) about a guy.  They said he was nice and kind.  Maybe funny.  And that he was nice looking. In college taking, oh, I don't know, maybe accounting or business.  His family was nice, too.  So you trusted your gut instincts and said, sure. For God's sake, we're talking about a cup of coffee here.  There was no Facebook so you couldn't see what he looked like.  And in a way, it's a smart thing.  You're not predisposed to his/her looks before the date.  And since you've already agreed to the date, you are forced to get to know him a bit before making a rash decision based on his/her looks.  So you went out.  It either sucked or it warranted a second date.  It was as simple as that.  Yes, I agree that there has to be physical attraction between a couple.  Both girls and guys have their own personal lists of what they are looking for physically. But guess what?  Love is a strange thing.  And it has a mind of its own.  A guy can swear to me that he's only attracted to brunettes with olive colored skin.  But imagine his surprise when a fair-skinned blond girl walks his way and his heart skips a beat. One girl told me no because she's not into facial hair.  I said, "Honey, if he's crazy about you, he'll shave the damn thing off."  Facial hair is NOT a reason to say no to a potential mate.

2.  Investigation.
There's nothing wrong with checking a guy or girl out.  You want to make sure you're not dating a psychopath or a serial killer.  I get it.  And you want to run it by your best friend?  Go ahead.  But today, the investigations that go on would impress undercover operatives at the CIA.  In all honesty, the people who are likely setting you up know you a little bit, have spoken to you and understand what kind of guy/girl you're looking for.  Learn to trust that.  Yes, sometime the date will have bombed.  But sometimes they'll be on the right track.  And the more communicative you are about the good dates you had and why they worked will only help us narrow down the options and match you up better.  And answer this: why DO you need to know every single solitary detail about him before you even agree to a date?  Besides wasting all that brain power on information that you eventually don't need, what the heck are you going to talk about on your date if you DO decide to go out with him?

3.  Narrowing your options.
I'll admit that when I was 19, I had a list.  I was going for the tall, dark and handsome (of course..), funny (that was key), kindhearted, a guy who didn't take himself so seriously, no facial hair (yes, I was guilty of that one) and athletic.  I married a great guy.  Those of you who know him will agree.  But he didn't fulfill all of my criteria.  You know what?  None of that matters.  The list is stupid.  Of course you want to go out with someone who shares your same goals, religious lifestyle, even interests, but even that doesn't always work.  I know sky-high bohemian artists whose feet barely touch the ground married to straight-laced conservative lawyers.  And I know OCD financial advisors married to laid back carpenters.  Opposites do attract.  And you know what?  I got used to the facial hair.  Anyways, he treats his facial hair as women do their accessories.  Sometimes it's a full beard, sometimes a goatie, sometimes he just shaves the whole thing off.  I tell you, I never know what he's going to look like sometimes.  And that's only his beard.  His hair is a whole other kettle of fish.  And he's not the most athletic jock in the world (the plus side to that is that he NEVER watches sports...). And while he's tall (yeah!) he's not dark.  But he's my guy.  He's super funny, inherently kind and I love him.  The more kinds of people you date - even when you date out of your comfort zone - the more you learn about yourself and what really is important to you.  One of the things I discovered is that I really needed a funny guy.  And I have to say, it's been nice these past 21 years being able to laugh almost every day with your spouse.  Sometimes it's the little things lower down on your list that become important when it comes down to sharing a lifetime with someone.  Maybe the fact that he's not as intellectual as you would have preferred isn't as important as you thought in the long run.  Maybe basic things like humor, kindness, and a willingness to always help a neighbor is more vital to the success of your relationship that what school he went to and what he majored in in college.

In a nutshell:  
When someone presents you with a potential date, trust your own instincts.  If they say he's nice looking, don't run to the computer to check them out.  And if it's sounds right, then you've got nothing to lose by giving them a chance.  My mother once told me that every girl has a magic number of guys she has to date before she hits THE ONE.  Whether your personal number is 8 or 28 (and you'll never know...) you'll never reach that number if you keep saying no.  Agreed, no one likes going on that first date.  The whole butterflies in the stomach thing and having to describe your entire life for the eleventh time, but every time you date someone you'll learn more and more about yourself and that can only be a good thing.  Because when you finally find THE ONE, you'll know it.


  1. First of all, not every girl dreams about every aspect of their wedding, and honestly, when you don't, you enjoy your real wedding more.
    Second, every gripe you have with Facebook are the exact things matchmakers (like you profess yourself to be) use when telling their friends/clients about the match they have for them.
    You basically are complaining about people's preferences for a certain set of looks--a thing I also believe to be a problem, by the way--and putting them into a list of different things, when really there is only one thing: the checklist. The "he/she has to have x attribute" attitude. It sucks. But the internet does not detract from this. Neither do "investigations" (though, yeah, they can get kind of crazy... but nothing we wouldn't feel compelled to do stealthily ourselves, let's be honest here). The checklist crap definitely has to be done away with, though.

    1. Hi Shoshanah, as I wrote at the beginning of the post, these views are based on my personal experiences and you are free to agree or disagree. I do, however, disagree with your statement that we, as matchmakers, use Facebook when we try to set people up. I for one, try to focus on personality traits as opposed to looks when trying to match people up. What Facebook does is take the mystery out of it all and gives you an often false or incomplete first impression before you've had a chance to say "hello". Thanks for reading