Thursday, June 16, 2005

Set-up Horror Stories

Treppenwitz has an entertaining post today about blind date horror stories and invited his commenters to add their own, so I figured: OK, I’ll take the plunge over here with some of my way-out set-up stories. No blind dates, but close enough, I think.

Some years ago, an acquaintance of mine invited me for a holiday meal at her place, telling me that the reason she was inviting me was that she had a male guest coming over whom she wanted me to meet. So I went, thinking: Why not?

I soon learned why not. The guy showed up an hour late for the meal and wore a dirty shirt. His voice was loud and unmodulated, and by the time the meal was over my ears were ringing. As I was walking out the door, he shouted after me in a voice that could be heard throughout the building, if not the entire neighborhood: “Will you give me your phone number? What’s your phone number?” I think it was the fastest exit of my adult life.

I felt hurt. It was obvious to me that my acquaintance wasn’t thinking of me at all. She was simply trying to find someone, anyone, for her single male friend. I understand she meant well and I tried not to take it personally, but I still couldn’t help wondering what on earth she thought of me that she could think even for a second that this man, who appeared utterly desperate and unable to take care of himself, would be an appropriate match for me.

Then there was the woman who told me she had the “perfect guy” for me. It was obvious that this woman's religious outlook differed from mine considerably, so I asked her to explain why she thought the man she had in mind was the “perfect guy.” She said, “Well, you’re both into spirituality.” (Hmmph.) I asked her to tell the man that I’m a member of two women’s prayer groups. She told me later that this fact had scared him off. “Oh, well, then I guess he wasn’t the ‘perfect guy’ for me,” I told her. (This was the same woman who told me in a soulful voice that she believes that women should be “hidden.” Hmmph. Don’t get me started.)

After that, there was the man who wanted me to meet one of his acquaintances. By this time I had wised up a bit, and I asked him: Can you give me precise reasons why you think that your friend and I are right for each other? He couldn’t come up with any answer other than, “Well, he’s a musician and I think that he needs a bit of grounding.” I wanted to retort: So put a wire around his big toe and sink it a few centimeters. That should do it. Sorry, but with all respect to the views of a contemporary well-known Jerusalem thinker and scholar, I do not believe that a wife’s function is to be a mother to her husband. (I hope I’m not opening up a can of worms with that remark.)

In order to illustrate why this next one was so far out of the ball park: the man in question does not live in Israel and has no intention of doing so, while I have been here for more than a decade and have no intention of leaving. Nevertheless, my acquaintance (not the same one as above) 1) gave the man my phone number without asking me first and 2) physically blocked my way in order to introduce me to him.

She must have thought one of us was really desperate.

The comments of a happily married, down-to-earth friend of mine are refreshing. She promised me that she would never try to set me up with anyone she wouldn’t consider dating herself, and also that she would have far better reasons for setting me up with any single men she knew than simply “Oh, well, he's been single for a long time and so has she, so why not try it?”

I enjoy making connections between people. I’m not referring to matchmaking, but just human connections between people whom I think would share each other’s interests and appreciate each other’s company. As far as I know, I don’t have any marriages to my credit, but I do have a few friendships. And I like to think that if I were to suggest a potential match for someone, I’d be far more careful and sensitive than the examples I’ve given above.

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