Last weekend I overheard a woman in a cafe say, "My dating stories are just ridiculous. I really should start a blog. I think I could get a pretty good following!" As I am not open to sharing readership with a blog of a similar nature, my first thought was, "Back off, sistah friend!" I then heard her say, "Of course, I never tell them that I'm single!" My female intuition told me she was no longer referring to dates. Her friend then left and my currently single, potential blog competition was soon joined by a gentleman that she was clearly meeting for the first time. It quickly became apparent when she began asking questions such as "How do you react when you first meet a woman?" and "Have you tried on-line dating?" that this woman was a matchmaker. I decided to eavesdrop on her conversation, though I hardly consider it eavesdropping as she was sitting two tables away from me and talking at a volume that facilitated easy listening-in. She also asked: "When do you go out to meet new people?" and "What is your social outlet?" and "Do you like to be challenged in a relationship?"
The matchmaker I was observing was in her late 20s and cute, not the babushka grandmother I usually envision when imagining a matchmaker (though I suppose Patti Stanger has already done the legwork on putting that stereotype to bed). Patti Stanger, the Millionairre Matchmaker herself, is also single. Her viewers went nuts when her six year relationship with fiance Andy Friedman fizzled. With all of these single matchmakers running around, it does cause one to wonder whether or not they are qualified for their jobs. It's slightly disconcerting to think of someone who has failed to find a successful relationship for herself getting paid to find successful relationships for her clients. Would I trust that type of person to find a match for me? Are matchmakers too busy finding love for others to find it for themselves? Do they simply put work before their personal lives? Are they living vicariously through their clients while searching for something they have thus far been unable to find on their own? So many questions! However, my roommate made an excellent observation when she pointed out that plenty of music producers are terrible musicians, but know how to create amazing hits. Something to think about.
Matchmaking is still a common practice in many cultures and I have to admit that I have often thought that life would be much easier if I lived in such a culture. No messy dating world! Far fewer broken hearts! The downside to this is that I once asked my mother who she would choose if she were to arrange a marriage for me. Her response was a close friend of mine whom I adore, but who is gay, so I'm pretty sure that marriage would have ended fairly quickly. And still, it's something I think of from time to time. I recently saw a news piece in which a young Muslim woman living in the United States elected of her own free will, by no coercion of her parents, to have a matchmaker find her a husband. You find someone suitable, you get married, and over the years you fall in love. Who doesn't tear up in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye and Golde realize that after twenty-five years of marriage, they are in love? In a way, I am envious that the young Muslim woman was raised in a culture where such marriages are acceptable. Yes, I live in America, the land of the free and the brave, but I no longer enjoy the dating freedom and by no means do I feel brave.
Meanwhile, back at the cafe, I overheard Little Miss Matchmaker say that there are three rules that make for a successful relationship:
1.) Internal validation. One must be emotionally stable.
2.) Full life outside of couple-dom. Oh god, yes.
3.) Be the best that you can be.
Nice advice; but really, these items are common sense. Do I need to pay a matchmaker to tell me such things? I think not. And yet, I was torn between deciding if this woman was a total nut or if I wanted to ask for her business card.