As young professionals, we’re pretty awesome at making things happen. I’ve made many an introduction in the past, connecting people and projects together. We trust each other’s recos and referrals. So when my mentor told me she was introducing me to a family friend of hers, I didn’t think twice.
I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of someone offering to set you up. You spend long hours at the office, or have a jam packed schedule, maybe you just attract gold diggers or dirt bags…or you have very traditional or meddling family members. Whatever the case, a genuinely good intent is behind someone’s request to play Cupid for you.
In my case, it wasn’t so much a request as an instruction! So to appease my close friend, I found myself fidgeting in a coffee shop, watching the door nervously.
What walked in the door was a scraggly, long-haired rocker wearing tight-tight leather pants and a mesh tank top. Yes, as in lacking sleeves.
“Hell no! Rocker chic? Is this the universe exacting revenge on me? What the hell do I do now? How do I abort this mission?!…I DO like his nail polish, though…”
What my friend assumed was that because I’m “creative,” I would naturally want an artiste as my other half. My “type,” however, is usually wearing loafers or Chuck Taylors, potentially a pocket square. Not Russell Brand 3D.
As we grabbed our coffee, I could tell he was just as fidgety as I was. But I was too busy inventing auto-assumptions about him (as a writer, I’m preeetty good and imagining story arcs).
It’s safe to say that this set up was a mild disaster. Only mild because once we started talking, I was extremely fascinated by the bright and kind person sitting in front of me. He told me about his various passions and commitments, and he lit up when he spoke about his family. But I just could not get past the nipples beneath his mesh…
It was tough to reconcile why my mentor would think to “match” this person with me, I was having trouble looking past the exterior. After our very awkward handshake goodbye, I hit speed dial in the car.
“What were you thinking? Are you SERIOUS?” I wailed at my friend.
“What? It didn’t go well? You didn’t like him?” She asked, totally shocked.
“He was wearing leather pants that are tighter than mine!”
“So? When I met my husband, he was wearing a fur coat. And you know how great he is as a person now. Imagine my horror back then!”
I cringed at the thought.
“You waste your time with slick, immature child-men who just distract you for a short period of time. If you want to begin settling down, it has to be with someone who is an exceptional person. A-Game or A-Team or whatever it’s called.”
I cringed some more.
“You asked for someone smart, driven, genuine and family oriented, right? And that’s exactly what I got for you, Miss Maya!”
The taunt echoes in my head still. If I had been sitting at the coffee shop with a blindfold, would I have had a different reaction? What if he had toned down his uniqueness and opted to wear a t-shirt instead? What if he thought I was a total WASP because I wore TOMS and a sweater, and wish I was knocking back white wine like a Real Housewife?
I had the blessing from my friend not to pursue the fix up any further, and she would run interception by speaking to my incredibly insane schedule and general standoffishness. I may not have dug the rocker chic vibe, but I am sure someone else will connect with him in all his glory. Young professionals have such limited time, it’s important to try stay in tune with your true gut and either move along, or give it a go. Snap decisions, in a sense. Though I found this person really interesting and cool, I knew I didn’t have the availability to develop a new friendship, nor did he want to be with someone that has zero interest going to concerts. Looking back, I appreciate the way my friend was really able to look at the core make up of both he and I as individuals. But not every creature can shed its fur coat.
Photo: Print courtesy Dawna Boehmer