I’ve met my match. And the process was more removed from my feminist, indepen-dent, downtown social circle than I ever could have imagined possible. My husband and I were set up by a two-woman team of Russian-Jewish matchmakers consisting of my 89-year-old grandmother and her neighbour Rimma, who has a wide network of friends and is always on the lookout for potential candidates for me. Yes, it was indeed an old school, back-to-basics approach.
On paper, the match promised nothing short of disaster. Hyper-intellectual, petite, well travelled, cosmopolitan, downtown-dwelling, liberal, Ivy-educated woman with a passion for classical music and realist fiction meets weightlifting, bodybuilding computer programmer/fantasy novel aficionado with an indifference to most things musical, a slightly corporate, conservative constitution and a condo in the burbs.
I was reluctant to let my grandmother pass along my phone number to Rimma to give to Hercules (as my parents affectionately began to call him), but after the litany of disasters resulting from my own attempts to find a suitable mate on JDate, I decided to give it a shot. He couldn’t be any worse than the seemingly promising candidate—a psychotherapist—who sent me an interminable email chronicling his tortured relationship with his mother, who took in stray pets of every persuasion. (Needless to say, that relationship ended there.)
The Russian-Jewish matchmakers worked their magic in small increments. They began with an exchange of photos. The move didn’t yield great success since I look about 14 in the photo my grandmother gave Rimma, and also because my grandmother couldn’t remember who was who in the series of potential suitors! To her, they all looked the same. “Look,” she told me, “a man is a man. As long as all the parts are functional, that’s all that matters! At 33, you shouldn’t be so picky.”
For some reason, they refused to give up. “Did you know he’s been going to the Toronto International film Festival for the past seven years?” my grandmother called to tell me. I watch at least two movies a week and caved as soon as I heard this.
Our first date was mediocre. When my grandmother called to get the details, all I could say was “I didn’t not like him,” since I was ensconced in a situation that I knew was nearing an end. To her ear, this sounded like a ringing endorsement.
And she began to call, weekly, asking if I was planning to give Hercules another chance. finally, the week after New Year’s, I’d had it. I picked up the phone and called him—three months after our first date. I’m not sure why I began by telling him that I was cleaning my room. “And you found my number in the trash can?” he asked.
“Well…not far from the garbage.”
I smiled. And I haven’t stopped smiling since. We got married a year after that phone call. Rimma received a bottle of Bailey’s for all her efforts, and my grandmother, well, she got a toast at our wedding reception.
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