The happy couple that wasn’t

I DID something last weekend that I swore I would never do.

It’s a little cringe-worthy to admit, but I felt the circumstances called for it and if I had my time over, I’d do it again.

What was my transgression? Well, I set two friends up on a blind date… Without them actually knowing about it.


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Funnily enough, it was a complete failure.

You see, we were throwing a party and a guy from work was coming – a single, 40-something male friend – who I thought would be the perfect match for my single, 35-year-old female teacher friend.

They’re both genuinely awesome people who happen to be really shy and as such, neither of them has been on a date in, oh, seven decades. So I decided I wouldn’t let either know about the other person, lest they get too nervous or try to weasel their way out of coming.

Instead, I thought I’d just throw them in the same room and let nature take its course. Except nature had other ideas that night: they stood on opposite sides of the room, completely unaware of each other and every attempt I made to nudge them closer together totally failed.

He arrived early, she arrived late, he left 30 minutes after she walked through the door and they didn’t communicate with each other beyond a polite ‘hi’ when crossing paths.

I was disappointed for my friends. Because these days, if you’re not keen on internet dating, it’s really tough trying to meet someone new.

This was the realisation had by sisters Andrea and Sally Tonkin, who have launched the initiative ‘Five in Five’, which encourages singletons to reach out to friends, family, colleagues and neighbours for potential love match recommendations. The aim is then to go on five dates in five weeks, and to donate money to charity along the way.

They launched this idea after becoming tired of online dating profiles, where people are forced to make decisions “based on constructed profiles and limited interactions”, says Sally.

“Dating used to be all about the referrals and vouching for someone. Someone would actually say ‘I know a person you’ll absolutely love’,” Sally adds.

And while the online dating formula does occasionally work for some, it often ends in tears.

That’s why I’m not giving up on my friends! It’s BBQ season and I reckon these two could really hit it off, if I could only get them within 2m of each other, so I’m going to invite then (with a few other friends, for buffer) to an informal summer soiree.

I realise this could be classified as ‘meddling’, but that is my nickname – this column is, after all, called ‘The Meddler. Wish me (us… them?!) luck.

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