Earlier, I wrote a short piece introducing my experience with a matchmaking service called It’s Just Lunch. I promised a follow-up with the gory details, so here are a few.
Upon joining the program, they assign you a personal matchmaker. Mine was a woman; I can’t recall her name, nor does it matter. The matchmakers change almost as quickly as my kids go through a box of Pop-Tarts. She asked the standard questions almost entirely based on physical characteristics. Typical things like preferred height, weight, build, hair color, race, blah, blah, blah. Already I sense trouble; I have always put more emphasis on character rather than physical. I’m a mere 5′ 1″, so I’m good with almost any height for a guy. I like all races and accept that most men in their 50s will resemble some level of dad bod. Besides, I prefer a dad bod to someone overly worried about appearances. So, I’m trying to move this part of the interview along.
After all the physical stuff is over, the matchmaker has very little in terms of who to select as my “type”, and frustrated, she says,
“I need to have a little bit to work on, so I can match you.”
“Great, then how about we talk about personality.”
Now she moves to the following checklist; I explained that I want to meet someone around my age, preferably with younger kids, professional. Since politics have become so polarized, I said no extreme Republicans and followed that with no extreme anything. I’m a pretty middle-of-the-road type of person so just find me a calm, kind man, and intelligent. She asked about religion, and I thought about it and decided if someone was passionate and active in any church, a hard no for me. I have nothing against people of faith, but since I don’t believe in organized religion, it likely wouldn’t work.
We ended the call, and I thought gee, they will have so many matches for me. I better dust off my glass slippers; soon, my prince would arrive.
After 4 months, I get my first match. They told me where to meet, it was a restaurant almost 1 hour away, and it wasn’t Lunch, it was for dinner. I asked if there were any other restaurants, but they said no. Ironically part of their pitch is they make dating easy since they make restaurant arrangements, but umm, well, the restaurant is not convenient. Thanks, but no thanks; I can make a phone call to secure a table in less than 1-min and even pick a place nearby. But OK, I’ll trust the process.
I arrive on time for the reservation at 5. Ask the hostess for our table, and she has no reservation. So I walk away and stand in front of the restaurant, call the matchmaker and get her voicemail. After a few minutes, a man walks over to me and says,
“Hi, are you Terry?”
Since my name is Jennifer, I say no.
He looked confused, as he was sure I must be Terry, so I asked if he was meeting someone for IJL. He said yes, and looked frustrated; he said,
“Oh brother, they told me your name is Terry. To make it worse, they made us a reservation for 6, and there are no tables available.”
He told me to get used to it; this is sort of how It’s Just Lunch operates, but let’s get a drink.
We had a drink and got to know each other a bit before finally sitting for dinner an hour later. Once the salads arrived, it got completely weird. He then said, since you’re Italian, I’m sure you are comfortable leading a catholic prayer. Thinking he must be joking, I laughed and probably rolled my eyes. But then I realized he was serious, and he bowed his head and started blessing our meal and praying. Well, OK then.
The meal continued, and he told me about his dedication to the Church and avid belief in its teachings. That included concepts about pro-life, the social issues surrounding the position of the Church, and his active participation in electing Trump. I was already sure he was not my guy, but he was a nice man, and there is never a reason to be rude. Toward the end of dinner, he decided it was time to broach the subject of sex.
I probably should have stopped him, but I was fascinated by his story. He said,
‘So you have heard how I believe in following the Church, and I told you that I have never been married. So, you understand what that means regarding sex, right?”
Again, thinking this guy must be joking. He was 54 years old. I replied,
“Are you trying to tell me you are a 54-year-old virgin?’
You already know the answer.
Finally, this date ended, and he walked me to my car. He asked for my phone number and to see me again. I typically always like to have a second date, and I believe it takes time to get to know if there’s chemistry. But this time, I had to decline. I said he was a lovely guy, but we just don’t have much in common. The odd part was that he disagreed and said it was OK; he didn’t mind.
A few days after that date, I called Its Just Lunch and told them never to contact me again. They could keep the money I paid if this were how they matched people. The other thing my date told me was that he gets matched about once a year, he signed up for 12 dates, and he has been on the first package for 10 years.
I realized there was zero thought about compatibility, or they were just filling the requirement of putting two people together.
They talked me into trying it again, and I met a few men who were more my speed. But they sure got off to a terrible start.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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