Yentarama: Friends as Matchmakers
Speaking of the above brothers, well, call it the Kevin Bacon Dating Game.
So-and-so works with whozeewhats, who brought such-and-such to whatshername's
party ... where a little somethin-somethin happened. It's enough to
make you ask which one of the degrees of separation was Fate? Which one would
break the chain? What if I hadn't started talking to so-and-so at that
salad bar? -- such-and-such and I would never be talking about getting
you-know-whatted! (To play more of the What If? game, see the new movie
"Me Myself I.")
But when you guys MEETmeet people "through friends," are the meetings mostly
of the the above KB variety, where the degrees of separation happen to narrow
themselves? Or are they of the variety where your friends take your fate/date
into their hands and say, "I have this friend you have to meet." -- ?
If the latter, right on. People who actually come through on the setups they
promise are as rare a breed as the people who actually make copies of the
photos they say they will. And arguably (or at least
stereotypically/theoretically), friends -- since they know you on your
terms and see what your life is really like from a peer POV -- are
more discerning matchmakers than, say, aunts. Or neighbors. Who, for whatever
reason (mind the generation gap?!), tend to have different (less strenuous?)
definitions of terms such as "nice guy" and "lovely girl" (="should be married
already, end of story").
But matchmakers -- and their yentees -- need to follow some rules.
Potential Yentees, first and foremost: Let your people know (sing,
seasonally, to the tune of the Passover song). People will not necessarily step
up and set up. Especially if they pre-surmise that you'll feel patronized,
that up and offering to fix you up implies that your single life is a
fixer-upper. So how do you send a Yentalert? Well, don't write some sort
of chain letter or activate some sort of phone tree; tell select people whom
you like and trust ... or at least sense that you trust. Yes, be a
little bold here; if you meet someone new and feel some sort of connection with
them, go ahead and whisper that you're "looking," and would they consider
peering through their own spyglasses as well...? There's where you
open up whole new worlds. Say "help!" only to people you know well, and
you're just spinning your social wheels.
Breakup Girl's Rules for
1.The Golden Rule: Date unto others as you would have them date unto
you. Be as discerning as you'd like them to be were the café
tables turned. Maybe this is pretty old and obvious advice, but then how come I
keep hearing the horror stories? My cousin just got fixed up with a guy who
took her to dinner at 5 PM and afterwards (5:30) made a big deal about taking
her to a special place he loved ... a 99-cent store. Now, fine. I
could see why that would be a cute place to wind up on one of those cute giddy
"Hee! We can make anything fun!" dates. And no, I wouldn't shop for party
favors anywhere else. But ... no.
Anyway, it's not just horror stories. I mean, when I meet a cute new
gay guy, I always catch myself thinking, "You're gay? I know
someone gay! You two should..." Okay, no. At least to the best of your
estimation, these two should have something in common. Something.
Doesn't have to be a specific hobby or anything; maybe you just think
they'd make each other laugh (or, as in a Do Teller named Angela wrote:
"My co-worker set us up based on one piece of information: the fact that we
both liked to sit in the third row at the movies"). Fine.
Something. Even if your perfectly well-intentioned hunch about a potential
couple that turns out to be wrong. But the worst thing you can do is send them
off to nurse a latte with someone with whom the only thing anyone really
thought they had in common was "single." That is how you make your single
friends feel like one of the leftover socks you match with another one just
because it's leftover, too. If that's all you have to offer, then
make a date with that friend instead.
2. Don't talk a big dating game. The above said, don't make promises
that they'll be making vows. Your only statement should be, "Look, all
I know is, you two will enjoy being in the same place at the same time for one
hour. Beyond that, you kids are on your own."
3. Yenta as Masochist: Don't. Refrain from setting up people that you
actually want to date.
4. Help them set up a DATEdate. Yentees, you pay attention here too. You
could try working the angle where the Yenta engineers it so that you're
both at the same picnic, and that's fine. But too much sitcom-caper effort
is too much sitcom-caper effort. The harder you try to rig chance, the more
likely it is that you and Yentee #1 will watch helplessly as Yentee #2 pairs
off with the "wrong" person. A DATEdate, on the other hand, offers controlled
(well-lit, public) circumstances -- you're supposed to be there,
with each other, for a we-both-know-why-we're-here reason -- and that
(besides, oh, fun, and the human joy of meeting someone new) (or at least the
human joy of a good story) is what dates are for. Use them.
So Yentas, keep things simple. Middle-man a phone number or e-mail exchange,
and step back. Yentees: courage. If you think calling someone you don't
know is scary, try being in a relationship. Go ahead and drop a dime. Lots of people
want to date "the kind of person" who would up and do that.
And even if the best-laid fixup goes down in flames, well hey. No one's
in trouble. There's much to be said for for helping your friends -- or
making sure that you -- stay on the BG-coined/recommended Flirtation
Continuum: where there's enough of a generally flirty fizzy buzz going on
in someone's world that no one encounter appears to be the be-all -- or,
more to the point, end-all -- of one's love life. Where a date,
even a 99-cent one, counts.
- Check out WebWoo.com to combine the
cute friends of your friends with the power of the Internet!
- Watch for a Big To
Do on this very topic in the coming weeks!
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