My friend Nina and I were having one of our typical “where oh where have the good men gone?” whine-fests when it randomly occurred to me that I knew one.
I felt as neutral about Matt as you can possibly feel about an ex-boyfriend. He had a lot in common with the wine Nina and I so often indulged in: he was delicious, addicting, and made me giddy. On the flip side, he left me with a massive headache the next day. But I couldn’t hate him for it — it was his nature. I knew we would never date again, but I still wanted Matt in my life. Totally kicking him to the curb would be like pouring a perfectly good bottle of Pinot Noir down the drain, and that’s just wasteful.
Both Nina and Matt were intrigued by the idea of being set up and quickly agreed. Watch out, Patti Stanger – here comes the Minimum Wage Matchmaker! Actually, my clientele is more of the indebted grad student variety, but that’s not as catchy.
On the night of their date, I cuddled up on my couch with some ice cream, a fresh bouquet of flowers (because I’m worth it) and my phone charger. It was very romantic. I had instructed them both to sneak off to the bathroom and text me with updates, so all I had to do was sit back, pig out, and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. They didn’t seem to get that I was serious about the texting me from the bathroom thing. Hours went by and I didn’t hear one peep from either party.
As I sat there, a strong sense of anxiety began to wash over me. In between mouthfuls of Chunky Monkey, I had the sudden urge to run across town, crash their date and demand that it was time for everyone to go home. But that didn’t make any sense — I didn’t want him back, and this whole thing was my idea. So what was the deal? I wasn’t sure, but I couldn’t eat enough Ben & Jerry’s to tamp the feeling down.
Finally, Nina’s name appeared on my phone. “Just left,” her text read.
“AND??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” was my oh-so-calm reply. (I think this is one of the rare instances where it is acceptable to use all caps in a text, as well as obscene amounts of punctuation.)
“It was fun. He’s a good guy. Blah blah blah I suck at giving interesting details.” (She didn’t actually say the last part, but that was my interpretation.)
When we got together the following morning, Nina outlined, in detail (finally), the intricacies of Matt’s personality that I had always found so confusing while we were dating. He was sweet and thoughtful yet he called himself an asshole for no apparent reason. He was active and fun but you sometimes felt like his mother/babysitter listening to the play-by-play of his softball games, filling in the appropriate “what happened next?” and “go team!” when he looked at you expectantly. He also was horrible at texting but great at talking, which should not be allowed, period. Just be good at both, dammit. It’s not that hard.
As Nina recounted Matt’s personality with complete,100 percent accuracy, I was basically Tom Cruising it, jumping on the couch screaming “YES!” after every word. It suddenly occurred to me what I had been so anxious about the night of their date — not the possibility of losing Matt to another girl, but the prospect of losing my best friend who just got it, always, whatever it was.
When Nina and I met earlier that year, we instantly connected on every level. We had the same interests, hobbies, and could talk about our deepest hopes and fears as easily as we could talk about “The Bachelorette.” While we were both dying to find our perfect boyfriends, I was even more ecstatic to have finally found a BFF.
I confessed, “I had a dream that you and Matt had the worst date ever and you never talked to me again.” (You can say pretty much anything if you blame it on a dream, I think.)
She laughed and threw a pillow at me. “Are you kidding? You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
She got it.
So, while Nina and Matt definitely weren’t a match, the date reinforced that Nina and I definitely were. And that was good enough for both of us.
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