Friendship, Opinions, Relationships & Singlehood

I’m not my hot friend’s manager

Is your friend Heidi single? I know someone …

That’s the text that inevitably shows up on my phone a few times a year. Typically it’s my married friends asking. Not because they’re hoping to date her, but because they know someone who is, or who might be.

And that would be fine, were it not for one thing: Whenever I receive that text, I’m single. And the friend texting me knows it. Heidi and I are about the same age, and we’re both single parents, so we’re swimming in the same dating pool. What am I, chopped liver?

I don’t blame anyone for thinking Heidi would be a great setup: She’s a catch! She’s a blonde with big blue eyes, a Barbie body and golden, glowing skin while the rest of us Seattleites rock our vitamin D-deficient paleness.

But friends, I’m right here. I’m available. Why not me? What starts as a question becomes a neurosis. Dare I say: I’m attractive, too. I’m a confident, independent woman, keenly aware and all right with the fact that there will always be someone prettier. My skin is relatively thick. And that’s a good thing, because having a hot friend isn’t for the faint of heart.

Heidi and I once traveled to New York together and I noticed a strange phenomenon: The men of Manhattan were way more vocal in their admiration of me than the guys back home. Did walking the streets with Hot Heidi make me more attractive?

These men were the human embodiment of the eye-heart emoji, performing cartoonish double-takes as we passed. In business suits and crisp button-ups, looking eminently right-swipeable, they’d toss a steady stream of compliments like comedy show leaflets: “Wow!” “Beautiful eyes!” “Hey, gorgeous!” I was lapping it up. No wonder I hadn’t found the right match in my home town — I was living in the wrong city for love!

Then, it happened: Whenever I made the mistake of attempting eye contact with these bold Big Apple Boyfriends, 9 out of 10 times, they weren’t looking at me but at my beautiful friend. Heidi was oblivious to the attention. Was she so used to these grandiose compliments that they no longer registered? No matter how fab I may have felt when I stepped out with Heidi, within hours I’d morph into the Invisible Frump, a superhero tale coming soon to theaters near you.

Even so, it’s not men with whom I take issue. It’s when friends of mine ask if my hot friend is single without first considering me.

I know my friends love me, and I love them back — enough to ask why they wouldn’t consider me first for a setup, gently explaining how it feels to be passed over. My friends never intend to slight me. There is inevitably a perfectly good reason they didn’t ask me first, they explain it, apologize, and we move on.But I always wish they had considered their approach before reaching out.

Should you need it, here’s my guide to setting up your single friend’s hot friend:

Your best option is to ask the hot friend directly. Go straight to the source; your single friend is not their manager. Send them a text or a Facebook message. Bypass the middleman and make magic happen, matchmaker.

If you must go through your single friend, do so thoughtfully and with explanation. For instance, say something like: “Hey, I know this guy, but I don’t think he’s your type. He is [insert deal breakers here].” Or get real about it: “I thought of you first, but this guy’s really only into blondes and athletic-types … any chance your friend is looking?”

This is important particularly for you coupled folks. For those of us still looking for our Mr. or Ms. Right, a setup from a trusted friend can feel like a beacon of light in the deep, dark sea of blind Tinder dates. The opportunity to meet someone our friends deem a catch is big in today’s world of digital dating where we’re all meeting strangers, crossing fingers we don’t end up at Starbucks with a sociopath. So consider your single friends first, before you try to find love for their extended network of friends.

And as for you, the 1 out of 10 New York men who intended your compliment for me, I’m available. My married friends have my number.

Me and my famously hot friend Heidi 🙂

This article appeared in The Washington Post.

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