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Saturday, November 17, 2012


After a pretty promising first date with “Ryan,” plans for the second outing took shape quickly.  He suggested dinner and a movie at the mall--a square, as date geometry goes.  That was fine by me.  The movies and the mall are two places I don’t frequent so it was a change of pace in a way.

The movie let out at 9:05, and Ryan suggested we grab a drink.  I agreed, even though it required me to relax my very firm policy against drinking at mall bars.  Relationships are all about compromise. 

As Ryan sipped merlot and I sampled a mojito, our conversation meandered.  Eventually it turned to Thanksgiving and families. 

“I wish I had one,” Ryan said, steering us straight toward a huge pothole I was sure he should’ve seen.  When I filled out the form for the service I made clear that my biological clock had never ticked, and I wasn’t about to wind it up now.

I allowed for the possibility that I’d misunderstood his comment.  During the first date he’d said something about his family living halfway across the country.  Maybe he was referring to them instead of his hypothetical children.  I decided to test the theory.

I said, “You must miss your family, especially at the holidays. Do you wish they lived closer?”

The look on his face told me I hadn’t misunderstood.  We’d hit the pothole head-on, and all four tires had gone flat.  Disagreement on whether to have kids is a known deal-breaker. 

How could a company that offers personalized matchmaking services whiff on something so important? 

It’s like going car shopping and telling the salesperson you’ve got your heart set on a manual transmission, only to have him show you a lot full of automatics.  While perfectly fine, they give you a totally different driving experience than the one you had in mind.  I had no desire whatsoever to drive an automatic to Kidville.  My mind began to compose a scathing letter to the service.

“So, um, what are we doing here, then?” I asked.  (When I later described this moment to my friend, J., he said, “Wow.  Totally awkward. Then again, I guess you can’t ignore the elephant in the room when it craps on the rug.” J always says just the right thing.)

“I don’t know.”  Ryan looked down, as if studying the merlot.  "But I guess now’s not the time to tell you the service says you’re 35.”  He snickered but I could tell he wasn’t joking. 

His comment caused me to rethink my letter. 

I hadn’t gotten deficient service, I realized. If anything, I got more than I paid for.  Not only had the company identified a completely unsuitable suitor, they’d done all the lying for me.  If that’s not customer service, I don’t know what is.

When I decided to embark on this little experiment, I wanted to see whether a third party could mismanage my dating life as expertly as I have.  Looks like I’ve got my answer.


  1. Wow. Feeling the urge to hug my perfect husband now. How did I meet him? I declared to myself and everyone I knew (and meant it) that I would NEVER EVER marry again NO MATTER WHAT. Ha.

    1. See, isn't it great when a blog is part story, part Public Service Announcement? I think I'll try your approach next time.

  2. I love your friend J's phrasing! And I smiled through the end of this "they'd done all the lying for me" was fantastic!

    1. Thanks, Gina! J rocks, even if he is, as some say, an "acquired taste." So glad you enjoyed the piece.

  3. Good gravy! You handled the situation like a boss. I'm impressed. And I love your friend J. Marry him!

    Coupledom is overrated. I mean, it has it's perks, but it's so much fucking work. If I could go back in time, I'd do it differently.

    I love your writing.

    Also: STOP MAKING ME PROVE I'M NOT A ROBOT EVERYTIME I COMMENT. Haven't I proven myself? Isn't once enough? Sometimes I can't read those stupid things.

    Also also: I still love you and your writing and I'll tough out the verification process.

    1. J and I have observed that, since we bicker regularly and don't have sex, it's like we're married anyway so we oughtta just give in and make it official. I doubt his girlfriend would mind because, as you point out, the whole couple thing just ain't easy.