Listen up, because you never know when it will happen to you. Your dear friend lets you know she has just unearthed the most wonderful hunk mankind has ever created, and she knows for sure he's just right for you! You must meet him, she says, searching your eyes for a response.
That's the scenario — could happen anytime — for which I most forcefully suggest you have prepared a set of guidelines. You've been part of the single scene long enough to recognize such moments of escalating hopes and plummeting dread. Give or take some personal editing, your list may read something like this:
Don't send me anyone married or in the throes of a messy divorce. My single life has complications galore, and adding one more (a biggie at that) isn't my idea of a generous gesture. Be very sure your "find" is unencumbered by the past before mixing him/her into my present.
Please give this god/goddess a real and accurate picture of me and my life. You can leave out the scar on my left thigh, but for Pete's sake, do me the favor of painting me as I am, as this perfect person will see me. Far better to allow us to see each other through our own colored glasses, through our own illusions.
Ask yourself whether you yourself have a low-level crush on this dreamboat you want me to meet. Is it mutual? Because if there's a flaming passion bubbling underneath this triangle, count me out. What I need is a long-term companion who is totally loyal and mine. No lovers on loan, if you please.
If at all possible, arrange our first meeting to be grown-up, not a phony coincidence. One of us will phone the other to arrange a quiet dinner, or better still, we can be guests at a small party you host at your home so that there are other people to dilute the awkwardness of a first meeting. Dating is an absurdity in the best of times, and at my age, it's a total anachronism. Please bear that in mind when you set the stage for our first "date."
Use your gut, as well as your mind, as you add up the reasons for this match. The qualities I admire are basic: kindness, decency, truthfulness, warmth. Plus, of course, there are my private needs that need fulfillment. But they will be filled in our loving partnership, in our way, in our own time. So if you pass along someone with the basic qualities I'm seeking, you'll be giving me the final option of choosing someone who fits my more personal needs.
Be sure to give this prospective match a broad sketch of where I am in my life — my marital status, parenthood status, correct age, interests. It makes no sense to waste my time and your efforts connecting the two of us if he/she has an aversion to children, pets or people over the age of 21.
Dear matchmaking friend, if these suggestions make me seem persnickety or ungrateful — a single person who wants romance only under the best of terms and conditions — I do apologize. I am most definitely in the market for a terrific partner, but as time passes, I become more certain of what I want. Please believe I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your good intentions and your generosity. If this match doesn't work out, don't give up!
Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]