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By Ryan M. Leach
Valentine’s Day 2016 will be the first since the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted in Texas. However, the ban on marriage equality was not the only thing preventing some of us from finding “the one.” I am single and getting older, so relationships have been on my mind lately. No one has threatened to tie me to a fiery boat and push me out into the center of Lonely Lake, but I imagine that meeting someone special would be nice. I decided to hire a matchmaker. You can too, in just four easy steps!
Step 1: Get Drunk
I am certain there are folks out there who would consider it ill-advised to drink a bottle of wine and Google Gay Matchmaker Texas, but none of those people were around when I came up with the idea. I got a number and scheduled an in-person consultation with a matchmaker. Two weeks later, I hired them. I was ready to meet Prince Charming, or up to six unique matches—no refunds.
Step 2: Get Money
Hiring a matchmaker to find you a match is like hiring a real-estate agent to find you a house. Why should you do all of the work when there are professionals out there willing to do it for you? Matchmakers do not work on a contingency. They get paid up front, same as hookers.
My agreement was for six unique matches, although your matchmaking package can be bigger than that. I went for the basic model. I don’t have a terrible time getting dates on my own, but I thought a matchmaker might be able to see me from a different perspective and introduce me to a quality guy. Quality for me means having “the three C’s”—car, career, and casa. This is more challenging than you might imagine.
There are rules. When your matchmaker eventually calls you and describes a potential match, you may ask questions about him and then decide whether or not you are interested. No photos are exchanged, and no social-media stalking is allowed. You are only equipped for your first meeting with the information the matchmaker gives you, and your date’s physical description. Your first date is limited to two hours in a casual setting. You are limited to two drinks.
I liked these rules and that there was a structure in place.
Step 3: Get Disappointed
In order to protect the anonymity of my matches, I will refer to all of them as “Kevin.”
I have high self-esteem which some would call narcissism. I was hoping that this first match would be attractive. I have a wide range of tastes in appearance, although I trend toward the bearded. When I met Kevin 1, my first thought was “My matchmaker doesn’t get me at all.” He reminded me of a dumpling, not in shape but in skin tone. Like how a dumpling is translucent and you can see the meat underneath. That was what Kevin 1 looked like, except in a velvet jacket in late summer. Looks aren’t everything, but they are something. Nice guy, not for me.
You debrief the next day with your matchmaker. I tried to keep my criticisms productive and helpful. I hoped my matches would take it and improve themselves, because I obviously have it totally together. (See: narcissism.) Be forewarned—you will also receive criticism. I got gems like “full of himself” and “talks too much.”
You can reject potential matches before meeting them. I rejected Kevin 2 because he was a gay Republican. I cannot date a gay Republican. No, ma’am.
Kevin 3 was very smart. He had a brain that I found very attractive. I liked him even though he did not fit the physical description I had envisioned. I liked him until he started talking about how much he hated Houston. I am from Houston. I love Houston. I can’t have anyone talking shit about my city.
The agreement is that you will get unique matches, in that you don’t know them and they don’t know you. My matchmaker revealed to me that I was considered “high-profile” after two dates I had accepted were subsequently cancelled because the matches knew me. I took this as a compliment. My sister said it just meant I was a slut. I never met Kevin 4 and Kevin 5.
Good manners are key when meeting people. Kevin 6 ordered a cheese plate with five cheeses, and ate the entire plate. The food that didn’t land in his mouth ended up on his face and sateen shirt. I can’t deal with sateen. I don’t care if that makes me a bad person. I needed more than two drinks.
It was at this point that I met with my matchmaker so that I could chew her out for being so off the mark. Kevin 7 was a vast improvement. He seemed to check off all of the boxes that I had required, but there was a fourth “C” that was missing: chemistry. The first date with a match is considered a get-to-know-you event. Kevin 7 and I had a great time, but I wasn’t sure if the romantic chemistry was there. The next day when I did my debriefing, I indicated I would go out again. Kevin 7 was not interested. Even in the world of certain matches, no one can guarantee you a second date.
A few weeks later I ran into Kevin 7. He was now seriously dating someone I had been out with a few times. It was probably one of the most mortifying developments of this whole experiment. Two people who had rejected me had found each other! They probably shared stories about how they were much happier together without me. (See: narcissism.)
Step 4: Get Hopeful
I still have two unique matches left. My matchmaker seems to be zeroing in on the right match for me. Kevin 8 sounds promising, and he lives out of town. (Yes, I have expanded my search beyond the city limits.) Perhaps the only thing better than a boyfriend is one who lives elsewhere.
Ryan Leach is a community activist who currently serves on the board of Equality Texas. He is dedicated to the social and political advancement of the LGBT community.