Thursday, June 11, 2009

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match

For the last couple of years, I've taken a hiatus from matchmaking. My success rate was a perfect 0%. Demoralizing.

I've always been a romantic, easily carried away by all things eros, guilty of losing hours and hours of time and energy in daydreams. Even before Prince Charming won my heart, I was one of those slap-happy busybodies at the co-ed get-togethers dropping (not discreet) hints about who might be interested in whom, "pretty cute, hmm", "aha, well I'll leave you two alone to talk a bit more". You know.

My zeal is my downfall, and the end of any chance I might have at matchmaking success. I get so invested in matches, and so excited when the time comes, that I spoil the novelty and discovery for the prospective couple.

Well, I'm back in the game and requesting your mature, level-headed advice. My friend (also married with kids) and I have cooked up a mixer for next weekend where we plan to introduce a few accomplished, attractive Christian singles to one another in the city.
What's a foolish matchmaker to do?

How do we set the tone for a relaxed, natural evening of introductions? I'm serious... types of foods? Comfort food? Fancy? Dinner? Heavy hors d'oeuvres? Best kinds of drinks? Any particular games or types of music? Christian-fellowship-style ice breakers like Mafia and Charades, while passing around Pixy Stix to keep everyone totally hyper? Martinis, a disco ball, and a bubble machine? (Kidding about those last two.) How do I get out of the way but without leaving them hanging? Do I follow up after it's over or leave it alone?

I ask for future reference as well, because there are always singles on our radar screen whom we'd like to introduce... Maybe I should just stick to praying for them.


MargaretJDMom said...

I love how you always post late...a night owl like myself!

Are you doing this at your house? If I were you (and I would like to husband complains often of my Emma tendencies...but I never really follow through!) I would just do what you'd do when you'd have any old group of friends over. In other words, play it cool! And of course, a little bit of alcohol is always a good thing for social lubrication. As people get older, especially Christians/Catholics who know what they want in a future girlfriend or spouse, they will take the next steps if they want to (ask for the number, get together again etc.) You shouldn't have to follow up.

That's my 2 cents!!

Right Said Red said...

Great graphic!

I don't have a lot of advice on the matchmaking front. I'm not a romantic.

Provide good food, good wine, and good conversation...then just see what happens ;-)

Oh, and do let us know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

Even though I was very hesitant, I just set up 2 friends of mine and my husband. My rule is: I will put you in the same room together... the rest is up to you.

I told each person a little about the other to give them a conversation starter. I also equipped both of them (both prayerful Catholics) with a novena to St. Raphael, the Archangel, who is patron of single people, future spouses, and happy meetings. Sure enough they are establishing a good relationship at their own pace. I found this approach both comfortable and enough to get them started.

My husband and I were set up by a mutual friend of ours, so I can really appreciate someone taking a chance on introducing people!

Gina said...

Well, my marriage is the product of a fixup.

My husband and I were "introduced" by a couple who thought we might make good friends. They schemed a little to get us in the same room together, but once they did, they didn't announce it or even make the introductions. Nick pointed me out to Ed and let him do it himself. I think this was the key to the fixup success. Let the man decide for himself whether or not he wants to pursue the woman. I often think that if you go the other way around, in encouraging the woman to take the lead, it just doesn't work out.

Anyway, once we started talking, they totally backed off. Until we started showing up to Mass together they had absolutely no idea whether or not we spoke to one another after that first conversation.

A wine and cheese with light music and good conversation is always the best atmosphere.

Kristi said...

How fun! I have a great record at this--I have set up 2 long term relationships (they broke up in the end) and 4 marriages!

Your plan for getting them to meet sounds perfect. Like the above poster said, low-key and low-pressure is best. Also, telling only one of the parties involved as a gentle suggestion works best: "Hey Suzie, I think you and Jack have a lot in common...." But don't say anything to Jack, and you don't do the introduction. You can definitely follow up later with "Hey Suzie, did you ever get a chance to talk to Jack?" Or, during the get together, if they are not talking as much as you would like: "Jack, did you get a chance to talk to Suzie, I think you two have a lot in common." It doesn't have to be obvious, just gentle and natural...

I think you can worki both people without them knowing that you are working both sides, but the key is for them not feel "set up" so that they do not feel the pressure of BOTH of them having the extra pressure put on them. If they think it's just one sided, they will be more likely to be natural and be themselves.

I love this! Good luck!

Juris Mater said...

Thanks, ladies, for the enthusiasm and great suggestions! You all are right, it's a different ball game with adults than it was in high school/college. I like the philosophy that you ALL suggested of setting the right tone and the rest is more or less up to them.

Kristi, I can't believe your track record with successful matches, you're my hero. Could you write a book? I'll buy it. MargaretJDMom, love the reference to Emma, makes us matchmakers sound a bit more charming and less obnoxious : ) I'm going to roll with that analogy next time my husband chuckles at my zeal. Diana, I just started prayers to St. Raphael on Friday after your suggestion there. Gina, totally agree about letting the guy take the lead. Fortunately our single ladies are very patient and good at playing their hand right.

Red, thanks for your interest in knowing how it goes. I'll keep you posted. Maybe there's a little touch of romance in your Right Said self after all : ) I think that anyone who's taken on the great adventure of Catholic marriage and parenthood, openness to children, and abandonment of family life to God can't help but be a little romantic. We're all living for love, for the ideals that we know to be true and worth sacrificing for, with passion and by grace. If that's not romantic, what is?!

Jessica Anderson said...

i would add make it good (but very cheap, like trader joe's) wine so that there's plenty to go around. and maybe don't provide too many utensils so that they accidentally reach for the cheese knife at the same time and romantically brush hands. ;) ha ha. hope it's fun. and in my experience of it here at grad school, maybe avoid mafia this first time around? it can really get intense!! i want an update.

Jessica Anderson said...

ps as a follow up i'd say have some good cheeses and other apps (no one - or maybe i should say no woman - wants to meet a potential future date with a huge plate of heavy'd probably end up with so many leftovers). don't worry too much about structuring the night, but do talk ahead with your friend and hubby about good general topics of conversation that may lead to connection points. fun!

Juris Mater said...

Thanks, Jess, very nice! I agree with everything you said here. Thank goodness for Trader Joe's... Joe always comes through for every occasion.

B-Mama said...

Please keep us all posted, JM. Your single friends are so lucky to have someone like you looking out for them. Also, if there happen to be any single Catholic (awesome) ladies left, I have a brother-in-law who deserves the best. We are itching to set him up... :)

JesusThroughMary said...

I haven't yet tired of Mafia or martinis....

texas mommy said...

All I can say is...Back in Business! Keep us posted, JM!