Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Girl's Gotta Eat

AM, her recent breaking of the Man Fast aside (sex once a year just isn't anything to brag about), is considering signing up for a matchmaking dating service, "It's Just Lunch."

For a fee, they conduct a "confidential" interview and then guarantee 15 "dates" across the year, presumably with people who meet your requirements. And they do all the work coordinating time and place, in pre-approved venues, according to stated preferences. They swear up and down that they target busy working professionals. Natural skepticism aside, I do rather believe that; the fee is significant enough to weed out the broke and underemployed.

But the success of such a venture depends on two things:

1. The size and quality of the pool
2. The taste and discernment of the "matchmaker"

On, the only pre-date screening opportunity is afforded by the profile. And as I've learned, profiles can be, and usually are, VERY misleading. Just last night, I got an email from a 50 year old man who said that I seem very "soft-spoken" according to my profile. (I almost spit up my ginkgo tea when I read that.)

With online dating services, most people do not explicitly mention profession or education. Most likely in an effort to preserve anonymity and also because of the belief that it's the "person" that matters.

But in the offline world, when strangers meet in a social setting, what is generally the first question that is asked? It's the "what do you do?" question.

What a person does for a living, where they went to school... these things DO matter. Of course we are all much more than our resumes, but our resumes provide some sort of baseline, no matter how flawed a metric that might be.

So now I'm thinking... would such a service have introduced me to Rock Lock Guy? Possibly. But then Rock Lock Guy could not have coughed up the fee. Same with the Embryologist. Fat Outdoor Voice Guy could afford it, but presumably he wouldn't make it through my Non Fat preference. Indie Film Guy couldn't afford it, neither could Yellow Fever Guy. Creepy Skincare Product guy - well I guess there'd be no avoiding him.

Hmmm... so maybe there's some potential here.

I understand the women who might sign up for something like this. Desperate, certainly, but not necessarily unattractive physically or in personality. AM and I (when I am ready to actually be in and look for a relationship) certainly fit that mold.

So if the female pool is relatively robust, what about the men? What sort of men might do this? Especially in NYC where eligible men are vastly outnumbered by their female counterparts? Here my assumptions about men might cause me to draw conclusions that are wildly inaccurate. In the male world according to me, attractive, accomplished, intelligent, eligible men need only to swing a cat on the sidewalk and they will hit an eligible woman. And besides, men define "smart" far more loosely than do women. (I learned this from watching the Bachelor, where the Bachelor thought even the women who clearly couldn't pour water out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel, were "smart." Clearly, "smarts" can be demonstrated via one's bra cup.) So if it is the case that eligible men do not need this and do not do this, what kind of men are in this pool?

AM and I do not go to bars with the purpose of meeting men (my penchant for flirting with cute waitstaff and telling them that my name is "Sabrina" notwithstanding). And we do not meet them through work. And online dating has proven to be an exercise in hilarious futility. So I think AM is going to try "It's Just Lunch" in her city on the West Coast and she will report back.

In the meantime, I will mull it over, and perhaps take the plunge myself later in the Summer/Fall.


MrsCooper said...

You will probably have a higher chance of meeting someone like Viggo or JF from this service.

C-Belle said...


*just a friendly reminder for the Universe*

I'd also accept Clive Owen.

Bartleby said...

Take the plunge? What plunge? Its like going from a crappy bar to a less crappy bar, going from broad-cast to narrow-cast. It's just like cable... 99 channels of... stuff... Does the guy pay for lunch?

MrsCooper said...

Great question. If not, I think the service should at least offer a free lunch for the couple.

fruityfran said...

How about a free yoga class. I like to see how flexible a potential mate is before trying them on for size. "It's Just Yoga".

C-Belle said...

Well, a less crappy bar is... less crappy.

Besides, Ergo and I have been toying with a potential novel/screenplay project - one woman's adventures with online (and other) dating in NYC.

I'm very good at the half-hearted reach for my wallet at the end of the evening and have no problems having the guy pay. Although, as FruityFran has pointed out, if he somehow manages to display unusual flexibility during lunch, I might throw down my own plastic.

Bartleby said...

I meant it was a good idea, but a change of degree rather than type, probably.