“I found you a husband,” I said to the daughter after spending a weekend with 400 handsome men, some of whom were even eligible bachelors. I was working at the Be the Best Baseball Coaches’ Convention, one of the highlights of my freelance career.
“Great,” she responded without feigning even an iota of interest.
“I’m sure he is.”
“Daughter. He’s a baseball guy. You like athletes.”
The daughter checked out the pot warming on the stove and raised an eyebrow as if she no longer loved instant mashed potatoes.
“He’s got a real job. He’s a pitching coach.”
“Nice,” she answered.
“For the MLB.”
“No, this one’s for real. He was a speaker at the convention and I listened to every single word he said. AND, I talked to him face-to-face. He’s down with this, daughter. You’ll have athletic kids with big hearts. He’s one of those guys who sees the value in everyone, whether you’re the star on the team or the guy lining the field.”
“Oh, and he lives in Scottsdale.”
And that was that.
Jake was not the first, though arguably the finest, of the marital candidates I’ve proposed for my daughter. By virtue of age and experience, I am qualified to cut through the clutter, toss out the losers and home in on who is best equipped to win her heart. And a place at our Thanksgiving dinner table.
Mike was a contender. Patty and I met him at the Pickled Onion in Bermuda. Easily on his fourth or fifth Dark n’ Stormy, Mike didn’t skip a sip before befriending us when we sidled up to the bar. He was adorably witting, charmingly chivalrous and made us believe that he really, truly enjoyed talking to two women, fresh off a cruise ship, who were old enough to be his mother.
I pulled out my phone and showed him pictures of the daughter riding an elephant in Thailand, prancing the streets of Mardi Gras, waving her college diploma and hugging her little brothers for the last time ever, circa eight years old.
He was smitten. I know he was.
So smitten, in fact, that he immediately pulled out his phone and sent her a message explaining that he was with her mother, in a bar, in Bermuda, and she thought they’d be a perfect match.
The daughter responded.
To this day, I still talk about Mike. He was smart and fun and his sense of humor made me overlook his attire. The sunshine yellow Bermuda shorts, pale pink polo and unlaced Sperry’s morphed before my eyes into Levi jeans, a Phillies’ T-shirt and worn Nike sneakers.
This fall, when I visited my favorite niece, Olivia, in Charleston, we spent a lot of time Bumbling. As endless faces of future husbands scrolled through her phone, I was mesmerized with the potential. The possibilities. The personalities. So fascinated was I that she gave me writer’s rights to those in the swipe right stable.
“Really?!” I typed in full words, grammar intact, after Olivia explained that when Joe said, ‘Wanna hook up?’ he was actually asking for more than coffee. “This is how you go about looking for love?”
Joe didn’t bother to respond with the obvious, “Who said anything about looking for love?”
“Here’s one!” I said, nearly falling off my bar stool, holding up a photo of a dimpled darling wearing a backwards baseball cap (that baseball thing again), frolicking with a Rhodesian Ridgeback on a rocky beach. “This is it.”
“Cute,” she agreed. “But he’s from California.”
“So what?” I argued. “You can text. You can call. You can video chat. It’s not like you have to sit around waiting for a love letter to arrive in the mail.”
And with that, she swiped him away.
“I just don’t get your problem with location,” I said. “I always had a long distance relationship. My favorite middle son moved to California for his girlfriend…”
Yeah. It’s always different when it’s you.
It’s not like I’m dying for either the daughter or Olivia to get married. They are young. They are smart. And they have years and years and more years of adventure ahead of them. Which, of course, is not to say, adventure ends with a ring. Some of my best adventures have been had as a married woman.
My matchmaking is mostly is self-serving. I’d love to finish the loop and give a toast at their wedding. I’d tell the tale of how I kissed so many toads (SO many), but because of true love and fate and believing that when you know you know, I eventually found my perfect sidekick. And what a great ending it would be if I could say, we’re here together simply because, thanks to my sage advice, you took that leap of faith on Jake or Mike or Joe or the Dimpled Darling. Think of the stories I could tell. The stories I could write. The blog I could rename.
Old mother-in-laws die hard.
The last time our family was all together, conversation turned to the dating game as it always does after we’ve exhausted all the other millennial-maddening topics. My 93-year-old mother, who has made a living out of keeping her opinions to herself, opened her mouth and shut it before the words could come out.
“What, Mom?” I said. “Chime in.”
I knew she’d have something worth hearing on the topic. After all, the night my mother met my father, he proposed. She laughed. They got married three months later and lived happily ever after.
“How about giving this a shot…” she, the grandmother of Olivia and the daughter, suggested. “You stop trying to find the right one and let the right one find you?”
Swipe right on that, Nana. Swipe right on that.