Monday, 27 December 2010

Matchmaking or Meddling?

Many married ladies begin to scheme for their Single friends' marital happiness before the ink is dry on the parish register. You may have noticed this trend in your own married friends. My darling friend Lily has spent a goodly amount of time plotting and planning, with some notable success. She never came up with anyone for me, which is just as well, as I found someone for myself, although she did veto a Potential, which is just as well. B.A. got her stamp of approval, which was expressed with the sentiment "I'm very relieved. I was worried he'd be too normal."

I suspect that married ladies love to matchmake for the same reasons we love a cracking good romance novel: the great love crisis of our lives has been resolved, and we either miss the buzz of the A-HA moment, or we hope to relive it. At any rate, it is a great temptation, and we weigh the blame we might incur if we too obviously seat our Single girl friend next to a Potential against the gratitude she will feel on their wedding day.

Most of the time I am able to stave off the temptations of matchmaking because I live across the ocean from most of my girlfriends, and few of the greying bachelors I know on this side of the ocean would suit my girlfriends anyway. However, I am feeling a sense of lost opportunity because my young, handsome and witty Single brother and young, pretty and witty Single sister are here, and most of the delightful young things of my parish are at home in Poland for Christmas. What a tremendous tragedy, I think, that I cannot introduce my Single kin to the lovely Single Poles of the parish, woe, woe.

W would do so well for X, and Y would do so well for Z... Stop me if this is just too meddling married ladyish.

Update: Stay tuned tomorrow for a brilliant Auntie Seraphic letter on this very topic!

16 comments:

leonine said...

Meddle away if -- and only if -- you are sure that both people are actually on the market. I had some very well-meaning friends set me up with a lovely man...who was interested in men, not women. Funnily enough, the man and I actually became pretty good friends, but there was a lot of awkwardness all the way around for a while, and I was really hurt by the behavior of these friends. They were so involved in their own marital and familial happiness that they simply assumed he and I, both single, would necessarily be happy together too. And then, having found out about his SSA, they continued to hint that if we just hit it off sufficiently, we could still end up happily married to each other.

Every time someone has tried to set me up, I've discovered that the man in question isn't really interested in being set up, whether he's just coming off a painful breakup, or has SSA, or is seeing someone else. There's been a lot of awkwardness that could have been avoided if the friends in question had taken the time to find out if both parties were really and truly interested.

Ginger said...

It's not so much old ladies trying to matchmake for me, so much as priests and other religious.

One friend of mine is only with her now boyfriend because a couple nuns convinced her to go meet him under a pretense of going to help with catechism in his parish. "Well, we DO need your help, so you might as well come up and meet Dan while you're there!"

Once, while talking about my vocation with my confessor, I made a passing, unrelated comment about a mutual friend and he started talking about love languages and how mine and this young man's were probably compatible. And later hinting that I should start talking to him more often. Finding it kind of amusing, I repeated the conversation to my friend and he rolled his eyes and said something about, "Yeah, the bishop has been trying to set us up, too." And went on to tell me how he had gone in to speak with our bishop and I was casually brought up, and then His Excellency said, not so casually, "So, why aren't you and [Ginger] together? She's a single NCG, you're a single NCB."

Seraphic said...

Ginger, to me that is totally cool, because when I was in theology school I used to stump around complaining that priests should act more like rabbis in introducing the young of their flock to each other. So have you and mutual friend started dating, or have you psyched each other out too much now?

Guy (thinks) Hmm...Maybe I should do as the bishop says and ask out Ginger. She is really cute...

Ginger: CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT US?

Guy: Er, uh, yeah! Shocking! What are they thinking. I mean, ha ha ha, right? Ha ha ha.

Meanwhile, "old ladies" indeed! I was talking about young marrieds, up to the age of 39 and 11/12s!

Leonine, it's nice that you and the men are friends; I guess your pals were sort of right. But, yes, I agree that married people can definitely make assumptions about married bliss.

Seraphic said...

Sigh. This computer. The man, I mean. No, he turned out not to be available (and good at hiding it), but at least you are friends.

Ginger said...

It's just as well, because I see him as nothing more than a friend and I think (hope) that's his feeling as well. We're quite close and have lots in common and lots to talk about and are quite comfortable with each other, but there's just no spark. It's truly unfortunate, because on paper, we probably would be great together, but don't have any of the chemistry. But on the other hand, it's nice to have a male friend sans sexual tension.

theobromophile said...

Irksome and meddlesome: setting people up because one simply cannot tolerate the idea of one's friends being Single. (A fair number of Married folks sadly believe that there is something inherently undignified, shameful, and wrong with being Single.)

Quality of their set-ups: from miserable to awful.

Sweet: knowing two people who would get along and make you think of the other one, and fixing them up.

Quality of set-ups: anywhere from one nice coffee/dinner date to marriage material.


The other thing that I would ask Married women to wait patiently (or impatiently, but hiding it) for a Single to ask for a fix-up. That we are Single does not mean that you (the general you, not Seraphic!) get to meddle in our lives. Being Married doesn't make you the boss of us. Likewise, slight mentions of being Single are not invitations to meddle, set people up with each other, etc. Pretty much the only time it is acceptable is when the person says outright that they are looking, would just love to meet someone nice, and do you know of anyone? Otherwise, keep to yourself - and for heaven's sake, if you set people up, let them work it out and don't become some Supreme Overlord of the relationship.

theobromophile said...

(Okay, okay, Christmas with the family has had me pushing back against overly-meddlesome people, and grateful for my friend who gave her co-worker my email address, asked about the first few dates, and then minded her own business. Yeesh!)

Jessica said...

I think it depends on the quality of the relationship with the setter-upper. :) One of my best friends got married last June and has tried to set me up once or twice (although it's never worked out logistically for me to meet the guy yet). I joke with her that she "owes" me because all the groomsmen at her wedding fled the moment the dancing started! I trust her enough to know she definitely falls into the second of the bromophile's two categories.

On the other hand, I would be annoyed if some of my other friends, who don't know me as well, would try to set me up. Then it would come across as more condescending, I think.

Catholic Pen said...

I am a single gal trying to be a matchmaker a few of my friends- they know each other and seem interested in each other (well I know the woman is), but I think the guy may need a little nudge. What do you think...we have a fairly small group of friends and I think some of the guys are weary of upsetting the status quo and don't do too much pursuing.

healthily sanguine said...

I think guys have their own inertia, best left unmeddled-with by women.

Julie said...

I recently discovered that two of my married-gal friends in my local parish have worked out a series of hand gestures so that they can coordinate scoping out potentially-single men on my behalf while walking the babies around during Mass. However all the young men seem to come in with their fiancees while trying to fulfill father's requirements in order to have the church for their wedding. And anyway what I really need is someone to do this at the Latin Mass parish, where all the fellas come in either with their wife and three kids or with two missals, one of which is for the fiancee who's at confession. So.

Alisha said...

I am seriously seriously grateful my parents have never tried to set me up...nor have any of my friends and I have no meddling aunts to speak of...as for me, I'd be terrified of introducing people who years later end up terribly unhappy and hurt by one another :(, but then again, I don't seem to have any sense of potential good matches, so that's likely why.
I do think it's very cute that Seraphic advertises her unmarried siblings though - and I attest that they are both smart, lovely people!

Seraphic said...

Yes, but I wasn't advertising them. I seriously think they would enjoy meeting these specific young Poles of the parish. Sigh!

Rosemary said...

I greatly appreciate leonine's advice. There have been some very well-meaning but pushy older marrieds in my life that just insisted that so-and-so and I should get together on the strength that we are both Single. Nevermind that the gentleman wasn't in the slightest bit interested. It's an awkward situation to be in!

The Crescat said...

I welcome matchmaking. I wish, in fact, that we had some version of the Jewish Shadchen.

Christine said...

I've been meaning to ask my close friend who's a transitional deacon to keep his eye open [when he's in parishes] for matchmaking purposes. Hmm...