The Life Of An Undercover Dating Agent

There’s nothing trickier than trying to sell your single friend to men without looking like a pimp. Allow me to explain: My friend Lizzie is a beautiful, smart, and kind woman with many wonderful attributes, but the pool of eligible men is significantly smaller when dating the second time around. Not only are there fewer men, but the quality of said men is not always up to snuff. That is why I have taken it upon myself to be my friend’s agent – dating agent, that is. My job is twofold: Keep the scumbags away while attracting the desirables.

For Lizzie, a desirable means a loving, kind person who will make a nice husband and doting stepfather. For me, a desirable means a rich, handsome, smart man, with vacation homes on both sides of the coasts. To each their own, I guess.

Several months ago, Lizzie and I traveled out of town to attend a mutual friend’s wedding. During the celebration, I scanned the crowd, hoping to find some desirables. Locating one, I asked my friend, “Do you think that guy’s cute?”

“Sure. Why?”

“He looks like a good husband type, don’t you think?”

Lizzie looked at me with suspicious eyes. “Whatever you’re thinking, just stop it right now.”

I waited until she was distracted before darting over to the guy to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Heidi. Are you married?”

The man blinked. “Um…no.”

“Hurray! Follow me, please,” I said, snapping my fingers.

The man didn’t move an inch. “I have a girlfriend.”

Damn it. He wasn’t supposed to say that. But as poet John Lyly so eloquently wrote, “The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.”

“Do you see that gorgeous creature over there? The one in the fuchsia pink dress,” I said, pointing to my friend who stood talking and laughing with someone across the room.

The man craned his neck. “Yes, I see her.”

“Well,” I replied, “that gorgeous creature is single and… How can I put this? She thinks you are the meow’s cat. I mean, the cat’s meow. Err…you put the meow in her cat.” I could feel the buildup of sweat from my axillary glands.

“I’m sorry, but I have a girlfriend,” he reiterated, trying not to laugh. Loyalty – the guy had too much of it.

Luckily, I found someone else who was single. He agreed that Lizzie was beautiful, and that was enough encouragement for me. I dragged him over to meet her.

“Lizzie – this man would like to say hello.” Immediately, my friend glared at me, but her social niceties prevailed and she greeted him graciously. Afterwards, there was a pregnant pause in which they both turned to look at me. I could tell the two of them needed my help. I said the first thing that came to my head (an unfortunate habit of mine). “You guys would make beautiful babies together.”

My friend nearly fainted and the man practically tripped over his feet in his effort to get away. Lizzie then lectured me about how she’s not at the wedding to find a man, she just wants to enjoy our friend’s celebration, yada yada. I had to promise her on my childhood’s pet rabbit grave that I would never, ever do anything like this again for as long as we both shall live, etc., etc. As promised, I approached no more men than night, and we returned home with souvenirs aplenty, albeit, none of the male human specimen variety.

Sometimes, it’s necessary for me to steal other people’s potential dates. One time I was at a party when I overheard a conversation between two women about setting up this guy with one of the women’s friends. The first woman was describing this man – her husband’s good friend – as being an Ivy League graduate with a highly lucrative career, who is now looking to settle down and have a family. The second woman was getting progressively excited, saying what a great match they would make, and that’s when I knew I had to put a stop to things before they went any further.

“Excuse me,” I said to the first woman. “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, and I just thought you should know that I have this amazing friend who might be perfect for your husband’s friend.”

The second woman glared. “I mean, I understand that this woman’s friend can go first,” I said, as a show of generosity, “but in the event that it doesn’t work out…”

Being an unsolicited agent for my friend is an exhausting, thankless task. Not just anyone could do it – of this, I am sure. It requires constant diligence and an eye for detail. Whether I’m at the grocery store, the tailor’s, or my gynecologist’s office, no man escapes my notice without a full background check. If I’m introduced to someone at a community gathering – say, a nice married woman – I immediately interrogate her about any single men in her family. When my children have friends over, I oh-so-casually ask how that single uncle of theirs is doing.

Working as my friend’s agent isn’t easy, but it is both my privilege and honor to carry out this mission, and I know that one day, I will see the fruits of my labor. That being said, if you happen to know Lizzie, don’t tell her about this blog – I’m working undercover at the moment.

Thank you.

HEIDI SHERTOK is a native Minnesotan, as is evident by both her Midwestern accent and her appreciation of any weather that isn’t attached to the word ‘negative’. She wrote her first book at the tender age of twelve, and after killing off all the main characters in it, she realized that books with happy endings are infinitely preferable to those that leave you with tear-streaked cheeks and empty tissue boxes. Heidi has three precocious children, and has at times been known to hide under her bed from them – not that she’s proud of it. She is the dog owner of a small white dog, named “Whitey”; she’s not real proud of that, either. Heidi has one published novel, “And Along Came Layla”, as well as blog postings on numerous websites, including “The Good Men Project” and “Kveller.” You can contact Heidi at [email protected].