Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

He’s a Man

I had a flashback, the other day, of a truly awful date. Let me say that again, a truly AWFUL date. It was a date, a double date, at a popular spot to which I can never return. The restaurant is ruined for me now.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

There’s a back-story here. And it’s really all about the back-story.

I used to be really pro set-up. I went through this phase (in my early to mid 30s, I guess) where it seemed like everyone I knew was a part of a couple. And suddenly I was odd woman out. So one of the ways I coped with this (other than lots of online dating) was to tell my that if they knew any guys…

And there was my big mistake. I was way too unspecific. I’m sure I implied that they should set me up with guys I’d actually have things in common with. Guys I’d like. But, I probably didn’t SAY THAT. I probably said, “do you know any nice single guys.” Or something wishy-wishy like that.

The result of which was a series of extremely painful set-ups. With extremely inappropriately men. Guys who, it’s important to note, didn’t like me any more than I liked them.

It was as if our friends decided that all I needed was A MAN.  Any single man would do. And all they needed was a woman. Any single woman would do. Because, you know, it was time we all joined the couple club.

So, back to this date. An old college friend tells me that her husband has a good friend who’s newly single and they’d like to set us up. I foolishly did not ask a lot of questions (I probably got name and age). She suggests that we all meet for brunch that weekend. It sounded easy and pleasant enough, so I said yes.

Like I said, great brunch spot. Amazing food, good prices. Haven’t been back since. I’m weird like that.

Turns out, the was still living with said ex. In another city. And massively depressed/angry about their uber-messy break-up (and trying to figure out where he was going to live). And he was a jackass. Maybe not always. Maybe in different circumstances he’s an awesome . But that day he was a jackass. I recall a bizarre sports related argument that went from friendly to nasty in about 2 minutes. I believe there might have been some name-calling. Not by me. Note: I am a serious sports fan and will not back down from my opinions. Girls like sports, too.

The worst part, the very painful worst part, was his telling his buddy on the way out that I wasn’t hot enough. Loud enough for me to hear. Because, I guess, he thought I was auditioning for him.  And he wanted me to know that I’d failed.

My friend called after brunch and apologized. She thought I’d be “good for him”.  I had no idea what that meant. I still don’t.

Anyway, I stopped being so enthusiastic about set-ups after that. Not that I’m completely closed to the idea. But I’m pretty special and I’m not going to waste any more time (or potential humiliation) going out with guys who I’m paired with because they’re male, straight and available. I’d rather eat brunch alone. Forever.

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19 to “He’s a Man”

  1. Michael Shaw says:

    This post is well-written, but it leaves me feeling sad. There is something wrong with a society which produces so many rude and inconsiderate people and where it is so difficult for people to meet and find companionship. I agree that being alone is better than being in a bad relationship but I also hope you find the right avenue for meeting people who are kind as well as interesting to you.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Didn’t mean to make you sad, Michael. The reality is, I’m afraid, that we do live in a world full of rude and inconsiderate people. Lucky, we also live in a world full of warm and generous people. I’ve had the pleasure/displeasure of meeting a lot of both.

  2. NikkiB says:


    You know, I think the only acceptable set-up has two key elements 1) you think two friends WOULD ACTUALLY get along and 2) you don’t really tell either one. Invite them both to a small gathering (not as the only other two people on a date with you and your partner) or other event where *most* people will be coupled but it won’t be horrendously obvious that there’s a set-up going on. Introduce them, since they won’t know each other. In general, if either of the single friends is actively looking, they’ll do the rest of the work for you. If one of them isn’t interested? No harm, no foul.

    AND. Never do this when someone is still a jackass over their last breakup. Heavens-to-betsy. Seriously?

    All that said, I’ll eat fab brunch with you. And we can toast to the jackasses that *aren’t* ruining the meal.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yowza indeed. Yes, let’s go have brunch. We can turn it into a fab party. And I love your set-up idea. It sounds perfectly sensible to me.

  3. SFSingleGuy says:

    I’m starting to be convinced that setups are almost a complete crapshoot. Dating sites are pretty good at matching you up with others who have common interests (hence, a ‘match’). But they can’t determine how you’ll react in person (‘chemistry’). However, when you meet someone in person, you can determine ‘chemistry’ almost immediately, but have no idea how you match up with that person. You could have great chemistry, but a crap relationship because you have nothing in common with that person.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’d agree. It took me a while to realize that most friends have no idea who might be an appropriate match. It seemed to be enough that they knew us both.
      But then, some people are so unfussy about who they date…

  4. nathan says:

    I’m not so sure that chemistry is “almost immediate” to determine. Two of my three long term relationships were with women who I didn’t have an instant spark with. There was something there, but the chemistry took time to develop. At the same time, almost all those I had an instant spark with ended up being dead ends in terms of relationships.

    From what I have experienced, first dates often allow you to weed out those you have zero chemistry, or little in common with. But beyond that, it’s often the case that you need to meet someone one or two more times at least before you can sense whether there’s a decent connection to build upon or not.

    Yet, too many of us are in a rush to judge – and with online dating, there’s always twenty more options just around the corner.

    I do agree, though, that set ups are a total crap shoot.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Chemistry is a weird think. ‘Almost immediate’ – I don’t think so. I once found myself feeling a deep attraction/chemistry for a man, after an hour of chatting, with whom I felt zero attraction/zero chemistry at first. But after a lot of trial and error I’ve come to believe that it won’t suddenly appear with someone after more than a couple of hours of contact.

      But maybe that’s just me.

  5. Argent says:

    It’s astonishing how many rude people there are. I’ve had similar experiences including one where a friend said she thought I’d be “good for him.” For me, now, that’s a dusty-rose-heading-to-red flag. If the introductory descriptor of a man is “you’d be good for him” is the primary reason I should date him, I’m not the woman for him. Certainly I’m good for someone (or something), at least I’d like to think so. But from that date forward, anytime a friend said to me: “he needs someone like you, you’d be good for him” I run it through my dating filters and it comes out as: “He’s an ass, but you’re so nice and you’re not a door mat, so I think you could probably handle him.” I’m not into “handling” men, and I’m just not into 50 year old frat boys.

  6. Oh dear, one of my tasks for this week is to ask my friends to set me up!! Will proceed with caution… That sounds terrible, though, what a rude guy – such behaviour not excusable, no matter how bad a time he was going through.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I think, if your friends are smart and careful, that that could be a great thing. There are plenty of couples who’ve met that way. I’m told…

  7. “Because, you know, it was time we all joined the couple club.” –> HA. I just had someone the other day kind of snidely ask if the reason I give relationship advice is so I can find someone myself. What. the. hell. Really? Because ALL singles must be PINING over not having a relationship. And that’s kind of the key to a bad set-up, where people just assume that any old person with the bits you like’ll do. No thanks.

    Sorry the date was so bad, but glad you’re here to be able to tell us about it. :)

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well that’s the thing. We’re all supposed to be DYING to wed. And the only thing that’s keeping us single is that we’ve been too picky. Argh.

  8. Maybe you aren’t hot enough ;)?

    Just kidding, the date sounds awful. After 30 years as a single man, I have completely renounced the blind date and advise all who will listen to follow in my illustrious footsteps?

  9. ems says:

    great post! im just in a process of splitting up with a boyf of 2.5 yrs and the simple thought that i cant have brunch with him and have to look for someone else makes me feel….well….not too happy!hate the way men have this power to upset us girls over little (and big) things like that!

  10. Terry D says:

    What Nikki said – As for me, I don’t date and I’m not looking, I like my life and if you find me and we like each other then that’s good. I have friends to share brunch with and lazy afternoons on the beach with hot dogs and fresh crab over a campfire, so I’m not missing much. And occasionally someone I like a lot will wake up next to me in the morning. Life is good.
    Terry D recently posted..Summer fling – for the Insomnia ClubMy Profile

  11. City Girl says:

    Another great post, Simone! I’ve found that there are some friends who want me to be happy, while other friends just want me in a relationship. I keep trying to tell the latter group that I’m open to finding the right partner. If I just wanted a nice, single guy in my life, I would have gotten married in my 20s.

    And, the “not hot enough” comment is utter BS! xoxo
    City Girl recently posted..IMF (Interesting Male Friend)My Profile