Sunday, April 3, 2011

How much?

So the question that has perplexed me is if I am to meet someone new and not continue obsessing over boys from the past, how do I do it? All my close friends are happily married, all my students are far too young and all the bars, well they are bars aren't they. Fix ups, been there done that and not well. Online dating. Yup tried that too. Talk about some false advertising. Ninety-five percent of the men on the website describe themselves as fit and toned. And yet almost thirty percent of Americans are obese. You do the math. So what to do?

A friend of mine mentioned she tried a match making service. When I heard this, all that rumbled through my head was the Fiddler on the Roof scene with the song 'Matchmaker, Matchmaker'. Seriously, could I do something like that? It makes me feel like a failure. I have sunk so low that I have to pay someone to introduce me to a man. And what kind of man signs up for such a service? A too busy at work to focus on my dating kind of man? An I don't want to meet someone in a bar kind of man? Or an I am so hideous and deranged that this is the only way I can meet women, kind of man? I have my suspicions.

But I call the matchmaking service. First I am required to fill out an inane form asking about my thoughts on a perfect first date, my ideal man etc... My perfect first date would be if the man showed up, wasn't completely mad and called me the next day. I am clearly easily pleased. My ideal man? Breathing is probably priority number one. I submit my form and then I get a phone call from Melanie, overly perky Melanie, who giggles out of control and promises me that I have made a wise decision. Perky Melanie goes on to describe how the service works.

First I have an extensive phone interview with her and tell her all about myself, my hopes and dreams. Then she drums up appropriate men to meet with me. In six months I get a minimum of eight dates with eight different men and no maximum amount of dates. That means I can go out with a man a night for six months. Oh the possibilities. And to make this so much less awkward, the service makes deals with restaurants so that when I arrive I check in with the hostess by saying 'Hi. I am the lonesome loser who had to pay a match maker to find a man and I am here for my date, could you point him out to me'. Subtle. I am told I can put my membership on hold should I meet someone and want to explore that relationship. Then I can come back to the service when that relationship invariably fails.

This all sounding too good to be true. And then perky Melanie tells me all I need to do is sign up for six months. I'm ready. Where do I sign up? How much? $2000 perky Melanie tells me with a laugh. Wait, what? I quickly do the math in my head. Minimum eight dates works out to each date costing me $250. My question is then, does the man pay as much as I do? And if so, then each date is really costing $500. For lunch or drinks, not even dinner. That better be a damn good burger for $250.

So I ponder this. Then I think back to all the dates I have had. I quickly realize how pissed I would be if any of those dates had cost me $250. But I am not ready to give up yet. So I decide to research further. I ask perky Melanie what the matchmaking service's success rate is. Perky Melanie giggles and tells me a lot of women have met men through her service. Yes, a lot of women have met men through drunken stupors at bars too but they didn't pay $250 for that privilege. I want hard facts. I want percentages. I want numbers. Suddenly Melanie isn't so perky. A hard edge creeps into her voice as she tells me a lot of couples have come together through her service. I am not backing down. Numbers lady. Give me numbers. Melanie is silent. She doesn't have the numbers. Or she won't give me the numbers. Either way she is not getting my credit card numbers.

They say you can't put a price on love or maybe it is happiness. Melanie seems to think I should. And I am not being cheap but given my track record and perky Melanie's refusal to come clean with her results, I am not willing to plunk down $250 per date to end up back where I am right now. I will find someone the old fashioned way. I will persevere. I will keep going because after all I am 42 and single.