Wednesday, April 20, 2011
What does the person someone sets you up with say about you vs. them?
My friend/co-worker A and I had a little disagreement the other day. See, A was recently set up with a lady whom he found displeasing to his personal tastes. He used very colorful language to explain this which I am purposefully omitting from this blog post.
The situation made A angry. He took the friends' choice of set up as a personal offense. If this is who she's setting me up with, he thought, then she obviously has a terrible opinion of me because this girl is ____________ (insert colorful language).
"You know what? I think who a person sets you up with is the greatest indicator of what they think of you," he told me. "And I think you should write about that."
So here I am, except unfortunately I'm about to write about the fact that I think he's wrong.
In order to explain the several "why's" of this topic I'm going to have to work inside a premise that may anger and frustrate some of you. I apologize in advance.
The premise is this: there are leagues and they are somewhat based on looks.
A's position is that when a person sets you up they are essentially announcing where they think you fall leagues-wise by offering you an option they believe is at or below your league. It's, "I think you'd really like my friend Jessie. She's exactly as attractive as you if not slightly less, so you're about as good as each other can do in this world."
Because someone would never say, "Hey I think you'd really like my friend Jessie. She's WAY better looking than you, but don't worry about it."
Makes sense if you believe that everyone functions within the same understanding of levels of attraction and the way leagues work. I do not, which is why I disagree with A.
Yes, there are people who are universally attractive to all people. You can find them in places like UsWeekly, national television, and my new gym. So fine, that same understanding exists. I'm not hear that argue that every single person has a different definition of beauty. Some beauty translates across all.
But within the realm of people who don't look like Elizabeth Hurley (I once saw a PBS special that said her face is more symmetrical and therefore attractive than 99% of the rest of the world) I believe things are very subjective. I like certain kinds of looks, and I would set someone up with a man I believe is attractive. In doing so I would be saying, "A, I think you'd really like my friend Kate. She is attractive, in my opinion, and I think you'll think so too."
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I will be saying, "A, I think you'll really like my friend Kate. She's fun and smart and energetic, and I think your personalities will really mesh well."
Yes, much of the success of early relationships is about mutual attraction so looks are never not somewhat of an issue. But how much of an issue and how that issue works into the set up isn't the same for every yenta making a match.
So perhaps, I told A, this friend of yours did not go about setting you up with looks alone in mind. Perhaps she said, "I want to find a great, kind, stable girl for my friend A to date. Maybe he'll like this one?"
Unfortunately she was wrong, but that's on A's side of the issue, not hers.