The hazards of matching friends

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Few human drives are so strong as the desire to make matches, particularly for married women.

Maybe we are so blissfully happy in our marriages that we want the same thing for our friends. Or maybe we're so miserable that we'd like a good friend to be suffering, too.

Either way, at some point we find ourselves sidling up to an unsuspecting, single friend and uttering the words, "I know this guy ... ."

I'm not sure why I'd ever do this to another person considering the horrible blind dates of my single years.

The first one was in high school, when I had a part-time job as a file clerk. Betty, my best friend at work, cornered me at the filing cabinets.

"Heidi, are you interested in meeting a guy right now?" she asked.

"Right now? Here?" I asked, quickly assessing my limp hair and lack of shoulder pads. (Cut me some slack. It was the '80s.)

"No, silly," she said. "I mean are you interested in meeting a guy at this point in your life?"

What a question for a teen-ager. Of course I was interested in guys.

"Great!" she said. "Now, let me ask you, do you like guys with a lot of hair?"

That's a loaded question. I figured she was about to either fix me up with Bigfoot or Kojak. I gracefully declined.

A couple years later, I let a respected older friend of the family fix me up with a boy from another town. By "boy" I mean a 27-year-old man who was living in his parents' attic and was recovering from a drug habit. "Five years clean!" he announced proudly.

He took me out to dinner in a car with rusted-out floorboards. The lines on the interstate were visible between my feet when we changed lanes.

Another blind date took me to Clearwater Lake in Piedmont, Mo. When he took his shirt off, I realized I had at least 80 pounds on him. I ended the date quickly, deciding against spending time with a man I might accidentally crush.

Still, without having had a successful blind date of my own, I felt compelled to fix up two friends in 1995. The relationship lasted six months -- until the woman left the country with a boyfriend she had on the side.

It took me seven long years to get back on that horse, but there I was two weeks ago, sizing up a young man at work and a young woman from the university.

They're both good looking. They're both very intelligent. They're both hard workers and churchgoers.

And, best of all, they're both friends of mine. What could go wrong?

We all decided to meet for an innocent dinner on Saturday, just three friends enjoying each other's company.

They showed up looking great. We sat down and ordered.

My shy male friend did not speak despite all attempts to bring him into the conversation. I should have provided some sort of index cards with possible topics of conversation, or maybe written some notes he could tape under his sleeve for easy reference.

My extroverted female friend had plenty to say ... about the various dramas in her life.

I was in agony. How could I have been so far off base with these two? I wondered.

When it was over and we went our separate ways, I called them individually.

"She's hot," my male friend said. "I'm definitely e-mailing her."

"He's way better looking than I anticipated," my female friend said. "I hope I hear from him."

So maybe I wasn't so far off base. Maybe matchmaking is my calling.

Hey, single ladies out there: Do you like a man with a lot of hair?

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: