It’s a Friday night and while other single women are probably buckling on a pair of cork wedges and spritzing themselves with a layer of Flower Bomb, giving themselves an inner pep-talk before a first, second, or even third date, I’m having a staring contest with a matchmaker.
It’s not because there’s something wrong with me.
Okay, maybe there is.
There’s a little something wrong with all of us. We all have our “things”. Some people are terrible at making decisions, too stubborn to get along with others, or too picky when searching for their Mr. Forever.
I’m just stuck in this wild affair – with my couch, spending every free evening tucked inside the cushions spooning with the remote control. I’ve also found myself in a dysfunctional relationship with my dating apps, putting them on and taking them off my phone more times than I can count on my fingers and my toes.
“Tell me this,” she says, taking a sip of warm water out of a clear glass. “What are three qualities you must have in a partner?”
“He has to like pizza,” I say, as my laughter hits the ceiling and bounces back down to the white carpet.
Her eyes bulge toward me.
“Okay.” I start again. “He should be passionate about something, anything. He should be understanding. He should be patiently forgiving.”
I hear the sound of an ambulance speed by us outside, which becomes the perfect excuse for me to pause my characteristic word vomit and fumble with a wad of lint that’s snuggling up beside me.
“Does he love cats or dogs?” “Is he short or tall?” “Is he a doer or a dreamer?” “A night owl or an early bird?”
“Both! In the middle! The first one! How about a combo,” I say thinking of a different kind of a bird, “A flamingo!”
She jots down my answers, grills my body language, and takes another sip.
I imagine my idea of a perfect meet-cute. It would be a bookstore. I would be carrying a stack of books up to my nostrils and he would accidentally bump into me and somehow catch all the books with one hand.
So maybe he’s a magician, or really good at balancing. Maybe his smile makes my cheeks flush a shade of watermelon red and he feels so bad for me he asks to buy an ice chai latte, with almond milk.
The matchmaker finishes a round of 40 questions and tells me she has just the right guy in mind.
“Really? I say. “Are you flying him in from….mars?” I laugh so hard I snort clumps of air. It sounds like I’m popping popcorn from my nose.
“You’ll meet him in 2 days,” she says.
I get up from the chair, checking behind me for any puddles of stress sweat I left behind.
“Jen,” she says, as I’m about to slam the door shut. “Give him a chance.”
On my way to meet this no-name gentleman, I step off the subway in TriBeca to a rainstorm that’s taken over the city. They say rain on your wedding day means good luck. What does it mean for a first blind date set up by a New York City matchmaker?
I’m hoping this date goes better than my last three.
One guy told me I was smarter than I looked, another said I reminded him of his mother, and the last told me he’d call me when he got back from Vegas, and well I hope he hit the jackpot because I still have haven’t heard from him.
My match sits across from me. His smile is contagious and his blue eyes are a roaming maze. He’s quickly showing me he has the qualities I asked the matchmaker for.
Loves his family. Check.
Is passionate about a hobby. Check.
Loves a good adventure. Check.
But even after an hour of ping-pong conversation, checking items off my pre-meditated grocery list, I realize my cart feels painfully empty. Sure, I said I wanted the organic, home-grown, no preservative stuff. But what do I know? Maybe I’m better off with Fruit Loops and Cheetos. Maybe I thought I would be okay with Splenda, but I want the real cane sugar.
When the date ended, I gave him a giant hug.
“Maybe next time, pizza?” I said, hopeful.
“Oh, I’m not a big pizza person.”
Everyone has their “thing” I remind myself.
Maybe my meet-cute guy would bump into me and catch not a single book. Maybe his glasses would fall to the floor and I’d step on them while trying to pick up my purse. Maybe he’d ask to get coffee and I’d spill the milk all over this backpack. Maybe he wouldn’t be medium height, or a dog lover, or a fan of Salinger.
But maybe he’d be interesting and interested and maybe that’s all that matters, at first, or forever.
Maybe we need to take our list of demands and instead of reading them off to the world as a riot act, we need to put them in the shredder and remind ourselves that yes, those pieces put together make up something we think we want, but it doesn’t matter.
Love is never perfect, neither are we.
Even though I wasn’t week in the knees after our first date, I did hope there would be a second. But neither one of us had the courage or the desperate desire to exchange numbers. So we parted ways, he went back to Brooklyn and I went back to Tinder.
PS. Here’s what my date had to say about me!