Attempting to match a matchmaker is an ambitious move.
Once, a coworker of mine told me she was determined to introduce me to a good family friend of hers. The son of a well-known rabbi in Manhattan, he was recently single and had just moved back to the city after years in the Midwest. (Love ‘em when they’re fresh!) As someone I worked with closely, I also considered her a friend who knew me well, and I took her up on the thoughtful offer.
I was immediately impressed by his witty text banter and his prompt planning of a date at a swanky speakeasy and live jazz spot in the West Village. The attraction I felt when we met was immediate, and the convo flowed as smooth (but not as dirty…yet) as the nearby Hudson River. At one point, I escaped to the bathroom to see a text from the matchmaking coworker, asking me to rank the date so far on a scale of 1-10. I replied with a 12.
It escalated quickly from there. Linking arms while we walked our dogs down the cobblestone streets. Holding hands across candelit tables, sharing linguine with clams, slurping the noodles Lady-and-the-Tramp style. (Yes, I ate carbs for this guy. And yes, this son of a rabbi ate shellfish with me.) Every text and every phone ring led to a little pitter-patter of my heart. I was worried I had developed acid reflux, but nope — this guy made me feel so vulnerable that my sternum ached. Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty private about my dating life (outside of blog entries, of course!), but I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about him, especially eager to relay to my wonderful coworker that I’d be going on a double-date with his brother and sister-in-law the following week.
I was gushing about him to my brother and his girlfriend over dinner on a stormy Wednesday night at my (formerly) favorite restaurant Hummus Place when they both stopped me mid-bite of spicy shakshuka: “Hey, Er, isn’t that him over there?”
I looked up to see him standing in the doorway, his raincoat soaked from the rain. We made eye contact, and instead of saying hi, I was shocked to see him mouth, “Oh, fuhhhhhhhh…..” as he quickly pulled his hoodie up to cover as much of his face as possible. Standing under the awning behind him was a girl in pajamas, crouched over, holding on to his dog and an umbrella, laughing at him to hurry up with the take-out. I spit out a chunk of haloumi. He grabbed his take-out and ran. We never spoke again. Even more sadly, shakshuka would never taste the same to me again.
Of course we hadn’t known each other long, and there definitely was no exclusivity established by any means, but that just ain’t right, y’all. This couldn’t have been a girl he had just met. His WTF cover-and-run reaction spoke for itself.
Yes, we have all been hurt (though hopefully not in the middle of eating at a favorite restaurant with your family). That’s not why I’m sharing this story. Any guy responsible for ruining my beloved Israeli egg dish isn’t worth any more space on this page. My sweet coworker friend is the true protagonist, the well-intentioned agent behind this fateful fling. When she got wind of everything, she felt so badly she cried. It was hard for us to see each other at work, as she kept being reminded of the guilt she felt, and I kept remembering my Hummus Place heartbreak. It definitely passed, as almost everything does. In fact, in the time that has passed since we both left that workplace, we have stayed friends. (I’m seeing her next weekend!)
As someone who introduces people for a living, this story has particularly stuck with me. We may think we know someone well enough, or at least have formed a genuine impression, to introduce them to someone we care about. I’ve set up a guy that treated me like gold when I was with him, but then took a friend of mine out for tequila shots, asked her if she liked her hair pulled, and stuck her with the bill. One of my closest girlfriends bailed on an amazing client of mine twenty minutes before a Broadway show. (It wasn’t Hamilton, but still!) It’s important to know that whether you’re the one setting up a friend or relative or the one being set up, no one can be held responsible for the actions of others. I like to compare my matchmaking method to a metaphor: I bring the horses to (sparkling!) water, but I don’t make ‘em drink…. and I also have no idea if the water has been contaminated before the horses arrive.
Don’t let a friendship suffer because of a less-than-stellar set-up. Unless you hang with a Schadenfreude crowd, know that those you love often want you to find love, and they may want to help you in the process. Their desire to assist is rooted in the very best of intentions. On the flip-side, don’t let fear hold you back from connecting two people you believe should meet. We are all adults here (even if you didn’t have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah). We should be able to pull the hoodie back off of our faces, both literally and figuratively, and communicate honestly and respectfully with each other, whether we are on a first date or a fifth.
Let’s spread the love, y’all!
This blog is dedicated to the two friends of mine who have dared match the matchmaker, and successfully at that: to my good buddies Josh and Jonny, who have each been 2-for-2. Mazel tov! And to my matchmaking colleague and dear friend Jessica Fass of Fass Pass to Love, who, like me, feels so passionately about helping others find happiness!