My friend’s grin, when I caught it from across the table, was different – broad, baring teeth different – from the excited grin she had given her husband minutes earlier. This one was more mischievous than anything, almost silly, childlike even, like the grin my little nephew would give if he was deliberately being naughty.
“What are you grinning about, woman?” I asked, ignoring her question, as I looked through the menu. I still hadn’t decided on what I was having. Chinese just wasn’t my thing, but it was obviously Tinuke’s.
She had ignored my light protest against it last Saturday when she called to tell me that they – she and her husband – were taking me out. What was wrong with Chinese? Oh, well, was two p.m., next Saturday good? Could I bring along the sunglasses I had borrowed – pfft, stolen – from her the last time I visited? No, she wasn’t giving it out. Uh … what? Did I actually think she’d forget? Tinuke had chattered in her usual husky voice that sounded like she was recovering from a bad episode of sore throat.
“Ah, Titi! I see you like him. His dimples are cute, eh? Tell me, how many men do you see with dimples these days?” My friend was doing it again, chattering excitedly, but in hushed tones this time, not oblivious to the fact that her husband was seated quietly beside her.
No, she wasn’t talking about her husband. His friend was the one with the dimples. I had noticed them – deep, very deep, much like Wes Gibbons’ in “How to get Away with Murder” – during introductions and pleasantries when I joined them at the table. Maybe I hadn’t done a good job of concealing my surprise to see him, for my friend immediately explained that he was in town for a short visit and they had been out running errands together all morning. Oh, of course, I understood, I had said, settling into the only vacant seat, the one beside Dimples.
Now I frowned, not sure where the conversation was heading. “Huh? Didn’t I only just meet him?”
True, I had only just met Dimples but I was going to be sending out invitations to our wedding next year, my friend wanted to make sure of it. He had hardly left the table for the Gents, when she started droning on about him. Thing is, I was on a blind date and at the centre of a matchmaking plot; it just took me more than an hour of Tinuke and her husband snuggling up to each other and leaving me to get familiar with Dimples to realize it.
Maybe you’ve experienced something quite similar. You’ve had friends, siblings, parents or uncles and aunts try to matchmake you with someone they think is just right for you. Even your colleague at work with whom you’ve shared nothing more than a few conversations decides to set you up with someone you do not know from Adam because you one time let it slip that you were single and available. Then, there’s that dude too who won’t stop calling and doesn’t hide the fact that he got your number from your friend but won’t reveal the friend’s identity (Exasperating, huh? Ask me, I know. *Sigh* I must have a sign on my forehead that says, ‘Please, matchmake’). Now you’re not sure how to react. Should you be grateful for the concern – it has to be concern, right? – or should you worry that someone is butting in on your life?
While there was a part of me that was flattered, I didn’t quite understand how my slim, anything-but-rounded self came to be the centre of a matchmaking scheme. So, as soon as I had the chance I asked my friend why. Although her reasons only included: He was single. I was single. Plus, he was neat. Wasn’t I always complaining about never meeting the neat guys?, I realized that my friend suddenly turned matchmaker because she was worried that I was the only one left unmarried in our circle of friends; she figured that as a friend it was her responsibility to do something about it; and she wanted to push my meeting of the right man to sooner, since I was obviously taking too long in meeting him.
These are probably some of the reasons the matchmakers in your life have for trying to matchmake you too. Surely, they have your best interests at heart. Still, you’re overwhelmed with all the matchmaking that you sometimes feel that they’re meddling. Yeees! I know, right? I felt the same way too, of course, besides thinking that the least my friend could do was give me a heads-up or ask me first before setting me up with someone. Why? I could be deliberately single: trying to work on my bad traits or doing something about my career; just getting out of a relationship and unwilling to plunge into another; or I might even have met someone who just hasn’t committed yet! Again, what if her plan works out and Dimples and I end up together but with some serious incompatibility issues, wouldn’t I resent her later, putting all the blame on her for matchmaking us? I’ve heard of how friendships have turned sour because of some matchmaking that went wrong and I wouldn’t want my twelve-year friendship with Tinuke to end up like that. This is not to say, though, that matchmaking plots never work out well. Some do. In fact, the matchmade couples get married, live happily ever after, and the friends grow even closer.
Yet, you share my skepticism about matchmaking. You’re unsure about the whole thing, but because you don’t want to look ungrateful or offend them, you go along with the matchmakers -friends, family, colleagues, etc. Well, think of it, since you’re the one who would be dating or eventually getting married to the man/woman with whom you have been matchmade and not the matchmaker, then you owe it to yourself to stop that which isn’t good for you. It turns out that Dimples and I have more in common than just being neat freaks, but does that make us perfect for each other? Hardly! I mean, if my friend surprised me with a new pair of jeans or sneakers, it’d be fine. But surprising me with a man and practically dropping him in my lap, with the expression, “Here, Titi, I found you your soul mate!” is different (If only it were that easy!). Indeed, she’s my friend who knows my preferences, tastes, likes and dislikes, but it doesn’t mean she knows the perfect man for me.
So I’d much rather find me my own man. I might never meet that clean, suave, yet rough and rugged, good-looking, deep, baritone voiced, American/British accented Idris Elba kind of man (It’s obvious, no?), but I like to think that I can do bad by myself.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images