Back in 2001, I wrote this "article" for a friend's magazine endeavor. After re-reading it, I actually remember writing it and the experiences that inspired this article. Wow. Nothing like going down memory lane...I wish I were farther along than I am, but I'm afraid that some things haven't changed: I still HATE set-ups!
So, I thought I would share it with you:
“Setups are like a sandwich with too much mayonnaise”
If you’ve ever been on a set up date, you know the feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when the ominous knock on the door happens by the guy you will have to spend at least 4 hours of your life with. You don’t know what he looks like, just a name. You of course, do a prejudgment with this important information…Dilbert Schultz doesn’t do anything for you…nor does a Mario Buccumbuso…yet, Brad Cruise or Harrison McConkie seems to spark something in you that makes you think, yeah, it could be “him.”
You tentatively walk to the door swallowing your gum (because it’s uncool to be chomping on a first date…that’s reserved for the 2nd date) giving a quick prayer that he doesn’t remind you of the kid that creeped you out in 8th grade.
As the door opens you look at his face and think silently (you hope) that you can’t be in that time of life where you are going out with a guy that looks THAT old. Yep, check the mirror, baby! You ARE getting old.
The first moments of the date are spent in spastic chatter while trying to act as casual as you can. You think, “Yeah, I’m calm…I’m cool, I’m collect…I’m rambling about my obsession with Coo Coo Roos.” So much for a great first impression.
The night is spent in trying oh-so-hard to “be yourself.” Yet you can’t pass up the chance to stress your finer points. “So what do you do in your spare time?” “I visit the homeless shelter and give blood when I can.” Sure, it’s true, but you conveniently forget that most of your time is spent in front of the TV. And of course, everything you hear out of his mouth, you judge to be a half truth – “yeah, surrrre you passed the bar the first time.” Nothing like pulling a double standard!
As the night draws to a close, you’ve both done your best to be as interesting as you can (so the report back to the mutual friend is that you were the better conversationalist). But as he drives you home as slow as physically possible (that “old guy” thing must really be true), the dreaded silence clouds over the car. You’ve already made a mental check-list in your mind of previous topics discussed. You’ve covered: his family, his career, his schooling, his hobbies, his mission, his favorite food, his favorite Nintendo game, his preferred toothpaste. Nothing is left. You dart your eyes out the window, looking for anything to talk about…ANYTHING.
“Yeah, that’s the Smith’s I shop at. It has better produce then Albertsons, even though Albertsons is closer to my house.” “Oh, you shop three times a week? Wow. That’s really interesting. I try to go only once a week. Saves on the bills. Oh, yeah. You don’t have to worry about that. You passed the bar.” Nope, not hitting it off.
You get home and get through the dreaded door scene. “Um, thanks! I really had a good time.” “We should go again sometime?” “Sure.” Could it be more awkward?
The roommates wait up and want the scoop. Did you like him? Well, he wasn’t offensive. Was he cute? He didn’t scare me, but then I wasn’t ready for him to touch me either. Did he make you comfortable? Are you kidding me? I didn’t let “me” be comfortable, it was a set-up! Do you want to go out with him? I have no idea…
The date had all the potential in the world…two seemingly normal people with a commonality of religion and apparently the same bad case of aversion to marriage. It should have worked! Yet the set-up was ruined…the moment I opened the door.
* This is not a true story although this article was inspired by real events. The gentleman is now happily married with 2 children. And that’s the way it goes…