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Should You Get Set Up?


The answer is yes—if you know what steps to take to guarantee a good experience. Here they are.

By Elsa K. Simcik

eally dedicated matchmakers seem to prey on the newly single—the divorced, the widowed, the jilted fiancées… It’s like they have an inventory of men just waiting to swoop in and go on dates at Chili’s. And they work fast. Once you mention to one girlfriend that you’re about to be single, the wheels are in motion. You’ll have a date before you can say, “irreconcilable differences.”

But before you agree to a night out of baby back ribs, you should consider if you’re even a blind-date type of gal. And if you are, then you need to get savvy, get a good attitude—and get ready.

Verbalize, don’t internalize
How is your matchmaker supposed to know you hate hairy-chested men if you don’t tell
Realize that a good percentage of your dates aren’t going to end up in true love.
her? Or that after your last boyfriend, you’ve decided you’re done dating bull riders? Don’t feel bad about revealing your likes and especially your dislikes. And there’s nothing shallow about exchanging pictures first. Attraction is important!

Theresa Smith of Baltimore, MD, became the beneficiary (or victim—however you want to look at it) of set-up dates immediately after her divorce. In fact, one setter-upper even called her the day the divorce became final in hopes of getting her reattached. The fella she was first set up with was about the same height as Theresa… which wasn’t exactly what she had hoped for. “I should have mentioned that since I’m only 5’4”, I prefer to date someone taller than me,” Theresa says, “I felt like I was on a date with the girl’s much younger brother.”

Consider the source
Is the matchmaker a good friend? Does she know you pretty well? If she doesn’t, she may not be the best person to pick out the next guy who may be grabbing you for a lip lock. You also have to consider her motive. Is it your happiness? Or is it the happiness of her awkward cousin she’s tried to set up with all her hot friends—just hoping someone won’t mind his drooling?

See beyond the blind date
If you’re gonna go set-up style, you need to realize that a good percentage of your dates aren’t going to end up in true love. But just because the date didn’t spark a romance doesn’t mean you’ve wasted a good pedicure on him. He could end up being your friend and then he may have other friends, co-workers or ex-frat brothers you could meet. Think of it as a networking opportunity. And later when you’re married to his cousin, you can
Most importantly I think you learn things about yourself.
all laugh about how you “once went on that date with Tommy years ago” at the family reunion.

Find the set-up silver lining
Our friend Theresa (recipient of the height-challenged set-up) could write a thick book about her blind-date experiences. Even though some guys were rude, obnoxious or just plain unsanitary, Theresa rarely turned down an opportunity to be set up.

“No matter how the dates turn out, they’re all great experiences,” Theresa explains. “You learn practical things like how to manage that awkward goodbye at the end of the night, and most importantly I think you learn things about yourself.” And because Theresa always maintained a good attitude about set-ups, her friends were always eager to play matchmaker.

In fact, Theresa’s “little engine that could” approach helped her find the real Mr. Right, and she’s now planning their wedding. And he just happens to be the best friend of one of her past set-up dates. Now that oughta make a good toast, don’t you think?


Elsa K. Simcik is a freelance writer in Atlanta. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and CNN.com.
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