A few months ago, my love life went through a dry spell. It wasn’t that messages weren’t coming in on Match.com or that guys wouldn’t chat me up when I hit happy hour after work. I just wasn’t connecting with anyone. I felt really blah about the men who I went on dates with (usually only one date with) and I started to doubt my “picker.” Maybe I’m bad at this, I thought to myself.
Right around that time, my friend started dating a new guy. This new guy had a roommate. In the swell of her new romance, the roommate probably did seem pretty great. She said he was a cute, funny, smart professional musician from the same religious background who is also a vegetarian. She offered — no, she insisted — she set us up. I’m an open-minded gal, so I thought I’d give it a shot. She knows me pretty well, I thought.
I don’t think I even need to tell you how awkward the date turned out to be.
It wasn’t that he — I’ll call him Arthur — was a bad guy. He was funny and smart and kinda cute. But that was about it. It turns out every single other piece of information she had about Arthur was wrong. He hadn’t been a vegetarian for a decade. He was lapsed in his religion. And he played bass in a band, but definitely was not a professional musician — his day job was teaching elementary school art. How Arthur’s roommate passed along all this faulty info to my friend, which got passed on to me, is unclear. While none of these things were dealbreakers on their own, altogether I felt like I’d be set up on a date with an imaginary person: I expected to meet one man, but ended up meeting someone entirely different. I got the distinct sense he might have gotten faulty information about me, too. (Sorry, Arthur!) Neither of us particularly felt any chemistry, probably from the confusion.
We parted with an awkward hug and murmurs of vague second date plans neither of us, I think, were serious about fulfilling. And when my friend asked how the date was, I told her we just didn’t click — but I’ve vowed not to make the same mistakes getting set up again:
- Make sure you trust the person setting you up. My girl friend? I trust her. She bombed with Arthur, but it could have been a lot worse. I wouldn’t let my mom set me up, or my grandma, or well, most people. You aren’t obligated to go on any dates with anyone’s “co-worker’s friend’s nephew who just moved to town.” Just say no!
- Request to see a picture. It’s not rude to ask the person setting you up to show you photographic evidence of your date’s attractiveness — and in the age of LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s not that hard. It’s better to find out before you even agree to a first date whether you are not physically attracted to the person at all.
- Show up on the date by yourself. My friend had offered for us to all go on a double date together. I’m glad I didn’t agree to that; it would have been hard to hide out not-into-it I was feeling about Arthur. It’s easier to leave a date that’s not going well if you’re alone, anyway.
- Only agree to one drink. Tell the person you can only catch one drink before you have to head to a friend’s birthday party (or whatever). That way you have an easy out!
- Inquire to the person setting you up why he or she thinks you two should date. There can be a tendency among some people to think anyone who is single would be happy to just get attention from anyone. It’s easy to see why they might think that, but you don’t want to date just anyone. Ask the person setting you up why you think two could be a “love match.” My friend ended up having wrong information about Arthur, but she still had an idea of the kind of guy I want to date.
- Talk on the phone beforehand if that makes you feel more comfortable. Blind dates are weird by definition. Talking on the phone a couple of times before meeting up on a date can make it feel less impersonal — and it gives you the opportunity to screen someone beforehand.
I ended up getting a polite text from Arthur a few days after our date. “I had a nice time meeting you, but I don’t think we are a match,” he texted. I texted back and told him that I felt the same way.
I no longer worry that my “picker” is broken; I do think I am just going through a dry spell where I’m not really interested in anyone. That’s OK. It will change eventually. Better alone than badly accompanied, as my mom always used to say.
[Photo of blind date via Shutterstock]