Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Set Up

I’ve never been set-up—ever—but not for a lack of effort on behalf of a cast of hundreds of well-meaning family, friends, and acquaintances. Years ago attempted matchmaking was an occurrence, and usually only when the conversation turned to dating and singleness. Now attempts at matchmaking are a regularity, often coming in sneak attacks and out of context.


DANIEL is simply standing, minding his own business. BETTY a woman 5-10 years older than and previously unknown to DANIEL, walks abruptly up to him.


Hi, I don’t know we’ve met. I’m Betty. Are you single?


Hi. Uh... Maybe?

I had a set-up offer two days ago. I had one the day before that. I will probably get one later this week.

There are two theories at play to explain this market phenomenon. First, as I grow older I become more refined, mature, educated, and dignified. People want friends or family to end up with a catch like me—a man with a good chin, five weeks away from being a Juris Doctor, not addicted to video games, and willing to change a toilet paper roll. The second theory is much simpler and Occam approved: pity positively correlates with growing age and continued single status.

I suppose it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In any particular instance I could be the latter and the sacrificial woman the former, vice versa, or any combination thereof. The point is, regardless of the reason for this sea change of intermeddling I’m in a new economy, for the first time I am considering breaking from my hard and fast no-set-up rule.

Although I don’t relish the idea of an awkward date, what I really dislike about the notion of getting set-up are the potential third-party ramifications. I’ve seen other gals and guys be set up by friends; I’ve seen those gals and guys dislike the date; and for various reasons, the matchmaking friend takes this rejection as a form of first-person insult.

To avoid, mitigate, or assuage these potential collateral conflicts, I’m working on a contract. The idea is anyone who wants to set me up will be dissuaded—perhaps winnowing out the less serious and thoughtful—or will be pre-advised of all the ways this could go wrong, and avoid potential future shock.

Without further ado, here is my first attempt to draft what started as a joke and is now a semi-unfortunate possibility.


I, __________________, have proposed to arrange a meeting between DANIEL STAKER (hereafter “DS”) and a female previously unknown (hereafter “FPU”) to DS, for the purpose of inter-personal acquaintanceship, which, if found agreeable to both parties, may develop into romantic involvement that may or may not result in monogamous dating or marriage.

In attempting to set-up DS, I am assuming a fiduciary role with DS, and, as such, in this capacity I am bound to act according to the best interests of DS. Accordingly, I will make every attempt to uphold the quality of my current relationship with DS, and will explicitly respect his judgment and wishes, whether or not his judgments are explained or merely implicit.

Accordingly, I agree to each and all of the following terms, jointly and severally.


1. I know and expect DS will thoroughly scrutinize FPU.
2. I know and expect DS’s judgments regarding and evaluations of FPU will be critical, may either be made almost immediately or after thorough investigation.
3. I understand and diligently support DS’s right to dislike, be disinterested in, be annoyed by, or simply not appreciate FPU for any reason whatsoever.
4. I understand DS may find FPU is unattractive, ugly, homely, or just alright.
5. I understand DS may find FPU is unintelligent, stupid, uninteresting, or just alright.
6. I understand DS will scrutinize FPU’s goals, morals, and values.
7. I understand that DS is not concerned with general principles of fairness and tolerance in the arena of dating and intimate relationships; DS believes dating is about personal fit, not general acceptance, and discrimination will occur.
8. Though DS will not act with malice, I understand DS may do something to hurt FPU’s feelings, make FPU cry, or otherwise frustrate or anger FPU.
9. I assert that I have a substantial reason for thinking it would be favorable for DS to get to know and date FPU.
a. A “substantial reason” is herein defined as possessing knowledge or strong and reasonable suspicion that both DS and FPU mutually hold material facts, attributes, or other characteristics generally considered important to a intimate relationship.
i. Substantial reasons include, but are not limited to, intelligence, goals, lifestyles, unique shared interests, and similar senses of humor.
ii. Substantial reasons do not include, and are not limited to, mutual singleness, height, shared religious membership by record, legal education, or any physical similarities.
iii. If it is not clear whether a reason is substantial, insubstantiality is presumed, and DS reserves final judgment as to all questions of substantiality.
10. I understand DS is under no obligation to disclose any details of any meetings, conversations, interactions, or lack thereof, between DS and FPU with me, any of my agents, or anyone at all.
11. I understand DS has no obligation to defend, justify, or explain any meetings, conversations, interactions, or lack thereof, between DS and FPU with me, any of my agents, or anyone at all.
12. I understand and accept without any personal offense that DS may not trust my judgment, taste, assessments, or advice, and may flatly reject any and all of the aforementioned without explanation, and may do forthrightly and without normal obligations of tact.
13. I will undertake every possible effort to avoid offense where offense was not intended, and will not allow myself to take offense on behalf of FPU.
14. I realize DS may be bad at handling relationships, and will be sympathetic to his inept actions and inactions.
15. I will not assume malice on the part of DS where none is explicitly expressed.
16. I will not side with FPU on any issue in dispute, but will remember that relationships are complicated, stories are inevitably one-sided, and perspectives are limited.
17. By signing this agreement I agree that all of my agents will also be herein bound thereby.
18. I hereby waive my right to appeal this agreement or have this agreement reviewed by any court of law, state authority, mediator, arbitrator, or any authority other than DS.
19. I hereby waive all civil claims associated with this agreement, short of gross negligence, and realize that I am receiving nothing in consideration for the waiving of such rights but the privilege of arranging a meeting with DS and FPU.
20. I consent that this agreement may not be altered except by consent of both parties, consisting of DS and myself.


Signed on this the ____ day of _________, in the year ______, by:

X _______________________

Witnessed and approved as to form by:

X _______________________
Daniel Staker


Holdinator said...

You could do this.

Like as a job.

Charge people to make these kinds of contracts for them.

Words like "execution" make them sound really really REALLY serious.

As a contract like this ought to be...


Daniel said...

Thanks. I'm skilled in all sorts of not-real-world productive areas.