Are your friends looking for love in all the wrong places?
Love is a bitch to find. If you believe Hollywood, it’s there for the taking – lurking in Central Park, where his dog sniffs at your dog and you chat and go for coffee… blah, blah, blah.
Or it’s in a bookshop – one of those cosy, little word-worthy places, where you reach for Eckhart Tolle and he reaches for Paul Theroux and so ensues a darling discussion, and you go back to his place and fall into bed and live happily ever after. Oh, please.
Don’t get me started on nightclubs, those palaces of fleeting promises. They’re a travesty to romance, great for a boogie or a one-nighter, but no friend of mine, gay or straight, has ever found enduring love on a grubby dance floor. Congrats if you have, here’s a wet wipe.
So how do you find love? Particularly if you’ve passed the “Three buses every five minutes” type dating of your 20s and now face the “Where the hell is the 714?” style of your 30s. Or worse, the “Oh crap, I’ve forgotten what a bus looks like and don’t even know if I still need a ticket?” dilemma of your 40s.
Here’s how. You tell your smug, coupled-up, couch-creased mates to get off their backsides and join in a game of matchmaking. Remember how we used to help each other find love when it didn’t find us? “Meet Adam from marketing,” we’d say to a girlfriend we’d invite to work drinks. “Come over for a barbie on Saturday,” we’d insist to all and sundry, then marvel at unexpected pairings.
These days, we leave singles to fend for themselves online. To reduce themselves to a shopping list of meaningless characteristics – tall, ski-loving Scorpio, GSOH (tip: those who boast humour never have any) – and try to flog themselves like some second-hand keyboard no one plays any more.
That method works for some, but many more would benefit if we’d go back to playing Cupid for our chums. “Couples are so cliquey,” says my single friend Rach (smart, fit, good at puzzles – if you’re interested), “and some women are so neurotic, they wouldn’t have a single woman anywhere near their husbands.”
Of course, matchmaking isn’t foolproof. One initially grateful friend rang a few months after I introduced her to a seemingly suitable chap. “What were you thinking?” she ranted. “He’s a tosser; he won’t let me park my car in his driveway because it makes it look messy.”
But for every dud duo there’s a match made by someone with the kindness and smarts to think, Tom likes ocean swimming and so does Lisa, I wonder if…
Four years ago, I took such a risk. Harry was an old mate, divorced, handsome, great fun, but tragically inclined to hook up with fruit loops when left to his own devices. Claudia was a friend of a friend – enthusiastic, warm, a hundred smiles an hour. Kooky, too. “Call her,” I told Harry. “I think you’d like her.”
“What women like and what men like are very different things,” he replied, eyebrow arched, but taking her number to shut me up.
“Watch out,” warned my husband helpfully, “What if she’s a bunny boiler?” (He forgets the two of us wouldn’t be together had we not been introduced by his mate who thought me “too clean” for his own liking.)
Anyway, not to boast (though I will), but they’re great together. They’ve bought a house, she’s lovely with his kids and her Italian family has welcomed him with open arms and large amounts of pasta.
As for Cupid here, I expect the thank-you gift will arrive any day now.
Catch Angela Mollard every Sunday at 8.45am on Weekend Today, on the Nine Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/angelamollard
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