Friday, May 20, 2011

April Abbott, ex-matchmaker, on love, hate, and Republicans

Posted By on 05.20.11 at 02:00 PM

I haven't been doing matchmaking for a couple years now. I started in 1986. Initially, I was excited and hopeful, and then after a while I got burned out. I just got tired of being nice. Women would come in and say, "Oh, I'm so attractive, I spend so much time on myself, I'm so well-read, and I work out every day," and I would want to say, "Go fuck yourself."

For a long time, the main fun was hearing all the stories. After a certain point, I got tired of hearing them, maybe because they were the same ones over and over. Also, I'd say I'm pretty liberal, and when Clinton was in power, it wasn't that bad if somebody was a Republican. But when Bush was in power, I found that I just hated Republicans. I rejected somebody from my service on the basis of his being a Republican. He didn't want to go out to dinner; he wanted women to cook him his meals. And she had to not like her relatives, because he didn't like family gatherings.

click to enlarge aprilabott_small.jpg

The happiest stories aren't that dramatic. I had a woman who was sure she didn't want to get married because she had cystic fibrosis, and I matched her with a guy who was divorced and didn't want to get married again, and guess what, they're married. That's nice.

I didn't offer long memberships, and that was partly so if somebody turned out to be a disappointment, I could end the membership quickly. When that happened, people didn't say, "What's wrong with me? Am I ugly?" They'd say, "Oh, OK." I had a lot more women than men clients, like about 75 percent more. They were mostly women psychotherapists in their late 30s or early 40s, worrying about their biological clocks.

A woman came in, and she was very pretty. I told her that she was just too pretty for the people in my service, that I didn't think I'd be able to do very well by her, and that I could take her money, but I thought that would be a fraud.

The weird thing was that the men who looked the best weren't necessarily the best matches. Maybe they'd go out with a woman once or twice, but then they didn't follow through. The men who didn't look the best did better. Women were willing to give them a chance.

Women put a lot of thought into dating, and men just say, "Eh, if it is, it is." I think men lied more. They wanted to sound smarter, more educated, more upscale, than they actually were. Or if they were boring, they didn't want to point that out. Then again, that involves thinking, "I am a boring person," but people hardly ever think that.

The last couple I matched, she was Jewish and he was Irish Catholic. I went to their wedding. Her therapist went to their wedding. Their couples' therapist went to the wedding. They absolutely were not a fit. They just really, really wanted to get married. And it was like, OK, why are they getting married? What do they have to contribute to each other? He contributed a restraining order against her, and I don't know what she contributed, but they're definitely divorced.

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