Back in the late 90s, the creators of “Thirtysomething” wrote a tv show called “Once and Again.” It was about blended families and second chances, and it often made me cry, which I like in a tv show.
Marin Hinkle played one of the secondary characters, Judy, a single woman in her thirties who owned a small bookstore. Judy was your typical tv spinster, portrayed as being kind of neurotic and overly picky when it came to finding the right man. Mark Valley played one of her love interests, Will Gluck, a silent, sensitive, handy drifter. She hired him as a handyman for her bookstore, and he fell in love with her. She couldn’t get over the differences in their backgrounds, even after Will Gluck, as a surprise, turned the wasteland of the back patio area of the bookstore into a beautiful, serene refuge for reading and thinking and drinking wine, complete with fairy lights (I am a sucker for fairy lights).
Something about this story and the look of devastation on Mark Valley’s super handsome face (and I don’t normally go for blonds) made a lasting impression on me. In all of the online dating I’ve done, I try not to disqualify men because they haven’t had the same educational or professional opportunities I’ve had. I’ve tried not to miss out on Will Gluck and my own backyard refuge with fairy lights.
It turns out that despite the fact that I am not monetarily rich, I am snobby. I don’t think if the matchmaker presented me with Will Gluck that I would be able to get past the first couple of conversations. The matchmaker connected me with a couple of men recently, and those conversations did not go well. Only one of them has traveled outside the U.S., and that was to a border town in Mexico when he lived in California; the other doesn’t have a passport.
The one who doesn’t have a passport asked me, after I told him about traveling with the Viking, if I have a favorite wine. I don’t — the wine I want to drink depends on the food and the surrounding circumstances. When it’s hot, and I’m having a lazy conversation with a friend, there’s nothing better than rosé or sauvignon blanc. When it’s cold, I welcome the punch in the mouth of a California cabernet (I generally do not love California cabernet). When I’m cooking and it’s cold, I save a glass of French pinot for me while the rest goes into the stew. I got as far as, “I don’t have a favorite, it depends,” and the gentleman jumped in by saying he had a favorite, what it was, explaining the wine to me (a little condescendingly), and finishing by saying that the store was frequently out of it.
I’m not going to share what his favorite varietal was because it doesn’t matter — I’m not going to think less of you or stop being friends with you because you have the same favorite. I don’t care what your favorite wine is unless it’s your birthday or Christmas. I know this man was nervous and trying to make a good impression and to find a point of connection. At some point along the way, I turned into a snob, and I’m grappling with that, because that’s not who I want to be, but that’s who I am. The Viking says no, that there’s a difference between being a snob and being worldly, and that if I come across a Will Gluck, she hopes that he’d have have enough intellectual curiosity to ask why my favorite wine depends on the circumstances. (Also, before you judge too harshly, we’re all snobs somewhere — “I can’t believe you listen to Taylor Swift,” “I can’t believe you don’t watch ‘Sherlock,'” “You can’t say you like ‘The Birdcage’ until you’ve experienced ‘La Cage Aux Folles,'” etc., etc., etc.)
I don’t think that not traveling or not having a passport makes someone a bad person or lazy or not as good as I am, but I do think it means we’re not a good match. Here’s where I am. If a man reaches the age of 50 and claims that he is very interested in travel but hasn’t made it happen yet, it tells me a few things. It means that travel is actually not in your top ten things that you want to do; it’s in my top 3, maybe my top 1, so we have major misalignment in our priorities. It means that travel is in your top ten things to do but you haven’t achieved it, which makes me wonder about your ability to get shit done. It means that you’re saving travel for tomorrow, when none of us is assured we’re going to get tomorrow, much less a perfect tomorrow.
It means I have concerns about your cultural agility and how you’re going to navigate interactions with my parents and their heavily accented English. It means you’re probably going to get frustrated when I reject your advice on how to deal with them because you’re not taking into account the cultural issues that are interwoven with the generational issues of my family.
I’ve asked the matchmaker to filter more carefully for the travel. I’ve also asked her to filter for men who have passion (ugh, that word) for their chosen careers, who are ambitious about what they want to accomplish in life. I’ve explained I’m not looking for lawyers and doctors, but I do want someone who’s engaged with the world he’s created for himself, beyond whether it allows him to pay bills and have a nice car (I do not care about his car).
I’d have to rewatch to make sure, but I think Will Gluck (and he’s always “Will Gluck” to me, never “Will”) had some trouble connecting with Judy’s family and friends and didn’t see himself as doing anything more than drifting through life with Judy. In the end, Judy let the dream of Will Gluck go. I see now that I have to do the same.
maybe it’s American men! I highly recommend Australians.
It definitely couldn’t hurt to ask the matchmaker to look for Aussies in the US. Seems like they’re going to be in demand, though, given how attractive American ladies find that accent.