Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 1 The Description - From: Grumblings of a Chronically Single Woman

The Description

 Why do we agree to go on blind dates anyway?  I think it’s because we’re hopeful that the next one will be different, or at least, bearable. Who knows who or what we could meet? A blind date is like a grab bag.  Sometimes the prize is spiffy and shiny.  Other times, it’s a Chinese finger trap, painful, and hard to get out of.  Although the only criteria the matchmakers seem to consider is that both parties are covered with skin, and have the ability to breathe, I try to keep an open mind.  I would like to think that the matchmakers are sincere in their efforts but frankly, I sometimes wonder if I am being punished for a past crime that was so heinous that I had blocked it out of my mind.  At times, prison would be preferable.

We often joke about our matchmakers wanting us to be as miserable as they are.  Is it because they feel, for one reason or another, we have chosen to break out of the pattern of growing up, getting married, settling down, and having children?  In the eyes of my “attached” friends, single people over the age of thirty, are out of control. They think that it is their duty to rein us in and herd us together.

I have often wondered why my friends would fix me up with men that they wouldn’t go out with on a dare.  When I’ve opened the door to someone who could pass for a science project, I’ve questioned what my friends must think of me.  Is this a joke?  Am I so grotesque?  Am I so pathetic?  Do I appear to be so desperate that I’d go out with a sideshow freak just because he had a driver’s license?

“He’s shy and needs to be brought out of his shell,” or “He’s a little awkward and needs someone to show him the way.” These disclaimers have been used too often.  What kind of enticements are they supposed to be?  Do I look like Annie Sullivan? If I’m expected to perform miracles, I’ll be expecting a Nobel Peace Prize or, at least, my own infomercial with a 888 number.

I find that the description of my date and the reality of him rarely match.  At best, I’m given sketchy, distorted details that are supposed to help me to determine whether I should consider meeting this “Mister Wonderful.”  The information provided is usually generic and vague.  Although the words are nice enough, they lack substance.  He’s usually described as a “great guy.”  A very popular blind date description.  It is the male equivalent to “she has a pretty face” or the equally appealing “good personality” line.  What makes a person really great?  Does “great” mean that he’s great like a great historical figure or he’s great like a great-disappointment?  A vague, fuzzy description is usually the only characterization that the matchmaker is willing to offer. “If you want to know about him, you’ll simply have to spend time with him.”

Generic and vague commonly used descriptions are: great guy, nice, likes children, tall, professional, athletic, rich, great personality, a good guy, honest, pleasant, works hard, generous, and sexy.

More honest yet, rarely used descriptions are: interesting looking, in-between jobs, reckless, is on a diet/ slightly overweight, having some money problems due to his divorce, getting over a bad relationship, thinning hair, and shy and needs to be brought out of his shell.

The most honest but, never used descriptions are: smarmy, cheap, dangerous, stupid, felon, destitute, smells bad, ugly, mama’s boy, unemployable, woman hater, psychotic, morbidly obese, spends time in a parked car outside playgrounds, lives in a refrigerator box under the freeway.

Don’t bother asking the matchmaker about the date’s interests or what he spends his time doing.  More times than not, the matchmaker will be thrilled to report that your match has the exact same interests as you do.  He is reported to be “nearly professional” in this or “an expert” in that.  No one is ever described as mediocre and uncoordinated.

His physical appearance is another one of life’s mysteries. No one has actually seen him; thus, can not be held responsible for what shows up on your doorstep. When pressed, the matchmaker can always avoid committing to a description by saying that the blind date, in question, is not necessarily her type so she can’t judge.  He’s usually a friend of someone’s cousin.

No matter how vague the matchmaker is, I always insist on knowing two pieces of information about him before agreeing to a rendezvous.  How tall is he?  What is his idea of a “nice” evening?  His height, is not an issue of attractiveness or virility, it’s an issue of heel-height. No matter what the matchmaker tells me, I simply subtract two full inches to determine his actual height. Once the height question is answered heel-selection is easy. And finally, always keep in mind that the term, “ nice restaurant,” has different meanings to different people.  It’s all semantics.  A nice dinner could be in a five-star restaurant or in the coffee shop of a bowling alley.

If you can keep an open mind, a sense of humor and cab fare, a blind date could be fun or, at least, a good story.

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