Among many of my #sadventures (trademark pending) includes a foray into the world of matchmaking.
Here’s some backstory. I know how you all love my extensive forays into backstories…
In summer of 2016, I signed up for Tawkify, a modern matchmaking service. Now, I priced them out and realized that, unfortunately, using their actual matchmaking services was not in my budget, but for a reduced rate, I could be what they call a “matchable member.”
I would fill out a profile and be part of their matchmakers’ Rolodex. It seemed like a great option in my opinion, as the only time I would hear from someone was when there was a person who they felt was a good fit for me. It’s online dating without the drama and swiping, and so on.
Up until three weeks ago, I had not received any calls or messages from a Tawkify matchmaker, which didn’t bother me. Again, I wasn’t wasting any of my time on bad dates or having to turn down weird propositions (see: Kevin: The Tinder Experience for context). ¹
And now onto the rest of the story…
I was working away on a Tuesday afternoon when a text came in from a number I didn’t recognize, area code 415.² I opened it up and read the following:
“Hi, Ashley! This is Julia, a matchmaker with Tawkify. I think I have a match for you and would like to discuss. Can we book some time tomorrow or Thursday? Thanks!”
I was curious since apparently, I’d more or less forgotten I’d paid for this service. So, I replied back we scheduled a call for Wednesday.
Wednesday arrives, my phone rings, and Julia and I start chatting. She’s reviewing my profile with me, getting more in-depth information than my brief answers provided, and also giving me a little bit of insight into this prospective match.
Here’s what I learned from the conversation:
- He wasn’t a big drinker—not a deal-breaker, I’m a casual two to three drinks max person myself
- He liked the outdoors—I’m not a camping girl, but I like to hike.
- He was into nerdy things, gaming culture, etc.—I’ve gone to ComiCon and I like stuff like Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones.
When our conversation concluded, Julia advised she would be in touch whether she would be connecting Prospective Match Guy and me for a date or not.
I hung up the phone, but I wasn’t super jazzed. I didn’t know a lot about this guy, but I was, at least, intrigued to see if we would be set up on a date.
The next evening, I was out for post-work Happy Hour with my friend Dani, and I got another text from that unknown 415 number.
“Hi, Ashley! It’s Julia from Tawkify again. I’d love to set you up for a match with my client! What’s your availability for next week?”
Wow! So this kind of works, I got a date out of it. Crazy, right?
I replied back to Julia with some dates and times and got a note my date was the following Wednesday at 7:15 pm. The location was a local steak and fish house— a decidedly swanky place.
Not gonna lie, it’s a fantastic spot for a nice dinner, but it was not a place I’d put high on my list of first-date restaurants.
My date’s name is Jakub. Pronounced Ya-koob.
That’s it, that’s all I get. I’ve got a name (with pronunciation, thank you, Julia!), a time, and a place. This seems weird to me.
Meanwhile, I have almost a week to do what all girls these days do when they have an upcoming date with someone: start sleuthing on the Internet.
I tried not to so I wouldn’t get ahead of myself. But here are some of the men that I found when I searched “Jakub Orange County”:
- A 26-year-old semi-professional soccer player from Serbia
- A 40-something banker
- A lot of eastern European dudes. Probably looking for a mail-order bride
This was not looking up. But I’m nothing if not an optimist, so I figured I might as well still go on this date.
Wednesday rolls around. I agonized over wardrobe, shoes, even the jewelry I was wearing. I probably over thought this whole thing. I arrive at the restaurant, valet my car, and walk in. My instructions from Julia indicated the reservation was in her name to make it easier for us to find one another upon arrival.
The hostess leads me to the table where I get my first glimpse of Jakub. As we arrive at the table, he doesn’t look up from reading the menu, so all I can see is a dark head of hair and some incredibly large ears. Since the hostess has done her job, she walks away, leaving me with a guy who’s engrossed in the menu and not paying attention.
“Hi, are you Jakub?” and he looks up, and says “Yes.” Doesn’t stand up, doesn’t shift over to let me into the booth.
Not what I’d call a promising start.
So, I make my way into the booth to sit down. We start making small talk, and the first thing that pops into my head when he starts conversing is that this guy sounds EXACTLY like Gru.
You know, the character from the Despicable Me movies, voiced by Steve Carell?
This is Gru:
(Now you see what I was up against).
So, now I’m trying desperately not to giggle (for the rest of the evening).
Jakub seems kind enough, he’s struggling to make conversation, but I think that’s more due to shyness than to a language barrier. I found out that he was from eastern Europe, has his Ph.D. in something related to Math and AI³, and works in the video game industry.
However, here are some things that I learned:
- He’s not a drinker.
Period. No alcohol. He said that he’s not a recovering alcoholic, he just isn’t a fan. This was after I ordered a glass of wine. Whoops.
Now, I had thought from my conversation with the matchmaker that he was a casual, maybe a single-beer drinker, not a full-fledged teetotaler. For me, I like to wind down with a glass of wine or a glass of cider or meet my friends for happy hour or brunch, and that’s something I’d like to share with my person eventually.
- He’s a vegetarian.
My aunt Caroline said it best: “If you can’t share a meal with someone, what have you got?” Truth.I don’t begrudge anyone their diets. We live in a world where being vegan, gluten-free, highly-allergic, or anything else is easier to deal with than ever. But I think if you’re going to have to spend your relationship preparing two separate meals for yourself and your person, that it’s going to cause strain eventually.Also – author’s note: We were at a FUCKING STEAKHOUSE. That HE SELECTED. WTF?!?!
- He doesn’t like sports.
I inquired as to his interest in sports; he referenced biathlon, ski jumping, and weightlifting.I didn’t have much to offer on any of those since, you know, I only watch biathlon every four years in the Olympics—and that’s more for the comedic value than anything else.4
- He’s a gamer.
He works for a major gaming company and spends his days working on games. Then goes home and plays games at night.The only gaming I’ve ever done was when I got to play on my Gameboy on vacations. Otherwise, it was books and TV for me.
- He doesn’t do well with crowds and is very introverted.
Well, shit.I’m not the queen of the extroverts, but I’m ok with crowds for the most part, and I love to socialize and spend time with people.
All of these were significant red flags. At this point, I was counting down the minutes to when the dinner would arrive and the evening would end.
Jakub also didn’t ask me a lot about me. Now, it’s hard enough for first dates when you have context and know things about the person you’re out with. So I give him a lot of credit, primarily as someone who’s shy and introverted, for doing what he could.
But my personality can be a lot for people to handle, and someone like this I would be likely to steamroll within about a week.
I was scraping the barrel for ideas for things to talk about. We got onto the subject of Game of Thrones and were able to make about 45 minutes out of that—that’s how desperate I got!
Needless to say, when dinner ended, I opted not to get dessert or coffee. Jakub graciously paid for our dinner, which I was very appreciative of, and we got up to leave.
It was 8:30 pm, our “date” lasted less than an hour and a half.
He walked me to the valet, we hugged, and I said “Ok, so thanks for dinner. I guess Julia will be in touch?”
He said “Yes, I think so. It was very nice to meet you.”
I got into my car, closed the door, and drove away. And I finally got all of those giggles out.
In the end, this matchmaking thing saved me a lot of time. I didn’t have to send an awkward text or make a phone call the following day to tell him “thanks for dinner, but I don’t think this will work.”
But I did have some thoughts to wrap it up:
- If you’re out to dinner with someone and their voice sounds like a beloved animated character, it’s not going to work out
- Vegetarians and carnivores don’t mix well. Especially when the vegetarian picks a steakhouse for the dinner date 5
- When someone says they’re ok with you drinking in front of them, don’t believe it
- Make sure to wait to get into the car before you start laughing uncontrollably
Either way, I’ll probably pass the next time I get contacted by a matchmaker.
1 To be perfectly frank, I had more or less forgotten that I’d even enrolled in their service.
2 San Francisco. You’re welcome.
3 Confession. He told me what it was. But between the noise of the restaurant and his accent, I couldn’t understand it. I know, I’m terrible.
4 YES! I know, they’re incredible athletes. But I still find it funny that they’re combining cross-country skiing and target shooting. Again, I’m terrible.
5 I’m still in a state of disbelief about that one.