I pull up into the restaurant’s parking lot. New to the area, I’ve not been here before. I’m to meet my date in five minutes. All I know about him is his name. His first name — that’s it.
A few weeks ago, I saw an ad on Facebook and decided to do something radical — to hire a matchmaking service. In some ways, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but not in others. I’d considered it before but didn’t have a chance to follow through on the idea.
See, I tried online dating before, right after being widowed. For a year, I was in touch with men I’d met through a few dating apps. I have no idea how many men I’d texted during that period. Hundreds, maybe? I suspect I met at least forty, give or take a guy or two. It was a dismal experience. Discouraging, exhausting, and soul-sucking.
Each time I’d get my hopes up only to discover I had little in common. Often our lifestyles didn’t match, personalities clashed, or our values were different. I was about to give up when I met my second husband.
Now, I’m back in the dating pool once again. Unhappily so. I’ve considered accepting my singlehood, but that’s tough to do. You see, I don’t have a “tribe.” I’m on my own. Some days I don’t see a single soul. My grown sons have lives of their own with no girlfriends, wives, or children. My extended family lives far away, so I’m on my own a lot.
I’d like to meet and marry a friend — someone interesting who wants to do life together. It’d be nice to have someone to share a laugh with or to talk through my day. Someone in whom I can confide my fears and dreams.
That’s tough to find these days. Maybe that’s one of the downsides of getting older — I’m more set in my ways. Defined. I know who I am and what I want.
So, I hired a matchmaking service. I knew nothing about what they do other than that reality TV show. I figured what was there to lose?
The first hoop was to fill out a short form of my preferences.
Height is no big deal. I don’t care if he has a full head of hair or is bald. I’d like a man with a spiritual practice, though. He needs not only to be gainfully employed but to enjoy his job. And most importantly, I’m looking for someone kindhearted — an emotionally mature person.
A day later, the matchmaking service contacted me for a half an hour call. I suspect they wanted to make sure I wasn’t a kook, but rather, I was a reasonably rational person. A few days later, I received a text message that I’d passed.
Next up was an hour-long video chat with my personal matchmaker who reviewed my dating likes and dislikes. She promised she would do the vetting for me — to sift through the database and weed out the obvious mismatches. I could expect to hear back from her about my first date anywhere between one week and one month.
I got a text she’d found someone great one week later.
Now, I’m sitting at the restaurant. What should I expect? It’s how I would imagine being set up on a blind date would feel, not that I would know since I’ve never been on one.
A few minutes later, he walks in. Nicely dressed, he looks a bit younger than me. Attractive. We fall into an easy conversation, both of us taking turns asking one another questions.
All good, I think. Much different than the dates I’d just had from my online dating profile. This guy is smart, engaging, and has a full life.
He shares a few vulnerable things about himself — nothing over the top, yet still risky and from the heart. I’m impressed.
Yeah, we’ve come from different walks of life. I’ve been married twice and have grown sons. He’s never been married and has no kids. Does that matter? I don’t know. It’s too early to tell.
We take a long time to order — a good sign and the two hours pass in a blur. Before I know it, we’re out in the parking lot, giving each other a warm hug good-bye.
Will I see him again? I’m leaning into the direction of a maybe. I see possible friend potential; I don’t quite know. It wasn’t a hit out of the park, but it wasn’t a strikeout either.
I’m permitting myself to learn more. To take the time to listen to my gut, my head, and my heart. And I’m discovering although sometimes it’s a clear cut yes or no, sometimes it’s not — and that’s okay too.
Interested in learning who I’m using for Matchmaking Services?
Check out Tawkify!