I’ve never been one for set-ups. Because I’ve never been set up. Really. Not that there are any true Blind Dates left anymore. Unless you’re going to meet John Smith and it’s impossible to discern your target through a narrowing down of mutual friends, schools, hobbies or, better still, Achievements. If John Smith had an Achievement which could convince you that he was the John Smith you were meeting for a drink in 2 hours, and allow you to click images and get an idea of what he looked like, that would be amazing.
Or perhaps John Smith has sent you a selfie and requested one in return. Which screams ‘narcissist’ especially coming from a man. But is perhaps just a bit of upfront DD. It helps to know that you aren’t someone’s ugly step sister that has been talked up because you haven’t been able to score any dates on your own. It's perilous if you aren’t wearing makeup or haven't done your hair when the first selfie, prompting a response, is sent. Because you’ll be slapping your face on very quickly, and teasing all that grease out with vigor. You'll need to be quick to send a courteous return selfie - in which you’ll look all coy and a little nonchalant - suggesting you didn’t just do your hair and put on makeup for that very picture.
Sometimes I wish boys still had to call my home phone and ask my mother if they could speak to me. Before dragging the phone midway between the dining room and my bedroom - stretching the cord under the crack at the bottom of my door - only to chat about the television show we were both watching simultaneously for an hour. Whilst yelling at my mum at 15 minute intervals to stop listening on the other line.
Anyway. Recently, I was set up with a guy. By a older friend - who I absolutely trust. She is intelligent and perceptive. I trust her opinions, and instincts. Her ideas have helped shape my career goals and her faith in me helps me believe in myself.
When she tells me she’s met the perfect guy and she can’t wait to speak at our wedding - I listen.
When she lists his credentials - I raise my eyebrows. I’m in disbelief. Am I good enough for this over-achieving genius?
Of COURSE you are. You’d be perfect for each other.
He calls and I’m even more impressed. What chivalry. I am not used to these manners. Cue lament on endangered species of man that will pick up the phone and call you, rather than text you at 1am on a Friday. What a gentleman. What a nice person. Yes, of course I’ll have a drink with him.
I suggest a gig. He’s into music. Let’s do something different. I was planning on going on my own anyway. So it is arranged. He will meet me at the gig - and I am nervous and excited. I get a little drunk at a dinner party I go to before. Not too drunk. Just nothing-will-phase-me-now tipsy.
I’m swaying to the first song of the set and he tells me he has arrived - and I should meet him at the bar. Ok.
I’m at the bar. It’s kind of packed. But not defeatingly so. I look over shoulders, in between bodies. No one I can recognise at the bar.
Where? I write. Concerned. I’ve done my homework. He has short hair. Perpetual 5 day old stubble - clippered, never shaven. He’s good looking. But I can’t pick him amongst the people at the bar. Lol he writes, and I cringe. How I hate Lol unless it’s used ironically.
A very small man waves at me. He has the face I remember seeing on facebook. He is two heads smaller than I am, being a fairly tall woman. I hadn’t even thought. Neither had my friend. And he is a lovely man, I am sure of it. But his height is limiting for both of us.
He can’t see over the heads of the other people watching the show. He takes it well. Can I give you a piggy back? I offer.
I tell a friend the story, beginning with: what is the one thing you can’t confirm over the internet?
Height, she says. Matter of fact, a seasoned tinder campaigner. When you meet guys sitting down, you must always, always, check the length of their legs under the table. You can tell.
I know it's superficial. And inconsequential to potential compatibility. But here lies the bane of tinder and third party set ups. You're unable to measure physical chemistry online or on paper.