A Dude's Guide to Matchmaking


If there's one thing I know about really liking something, it's that if "you really like it, you want more." But if I know a second thing about liking something, it's this: when you really like something, you want other people to know about it, experience it, and like it too.

This may explain why the moment I began seriously dating my now-wife Ashley, I also began a hell-bent campaign to find soulmates for every single person I knew. Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but the point remains that I've made myself available as a matchmaker for anyone who wants one.

Since I don't know which one of my four readers is reading this right now, I can say this: of course, I don't know how you feel about matchmaking. You may be a big fan who has personally taken part in, or even benefited from, the craft. Perhaps you think people like me should just stay out of other people's lives and mind our own business.

Don't worry, I'm not writing to defend the practice, and what follows should be mostly free from controversy. These are just my observations about setting people up, and whether you're the matcher or the matchee, I hope there will be something here for you...

The Art of the Match
Keep these in mind if you're following the life strategy of "the opposite of Tangent Space(s)'s advice"

1. Match-making is really hard
For two people to form a lasting, loving, successful bond, so many things need to go right. There have to be meaningful attractions and commonalities on physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional levels. To think that "that one friend of yours" will be an ideal match for your coworker's sibling is sort of insane. I'm not saying you should shy away from making the connection, but let's all lose the habit of saying things like, "She's perfect for you!"

2. Match-making is extra weird in today's world of pseudo-dating
I'm no expert on modern romance, but I think we're all familiar with the trends. Directness and phone calls are out, while texting and emojis are in. There may be some pros to this movement, but one con is that ambiguity seems to be at an all-time high. It's hard to say if someone is truly interested or if there will be another date. Thus, you get to share in this tension when you are a third party who knows and remains friends with both people.

3. If you want to bring people together, just write a blog
And here the shrewd reader will discern that I'm pulling a bait-and-switch of sorts. You see, for some time I've needed to exult in the following two Tangent Space(s) accomplishments, and this post is the perfect place to do it...

a. My marriage
If you haven't heard this incredible story (yeah, I'm referring to the story of me and my wife as "incredible"), I'll gladly tell you the whole thing sometime. But for our current purposes, you just need to know that this blog was instrumental in my meeting Ashley. We first "met" on another person's blog, at which point Ashley came here and read TS(s); according to her, she immediately knew that we were meant to be together. 

This isn't match-making in the typical sense, of course, since I was part of the match. But don't worry, a Tangent has successfully made another match as well...

b. Scott's marriage
I have a Minnesotan friend named Scott. To make a long story short, I once wrote a series of posts (backed by some impressive faux research) urging people to rise above the completely meaningless "Happy birthday!" Facebook posts and to take five seconds to personalize such posts. Scott--who himself credits my blog posts as his motivation--personalized a Facebook birthday post on a woman's wall, and that very personalization led to their first date. They're now married.

[Here is the post that originally inspired Scott, and here's his telling of the story (scroll down to his comment).]

If your mind isn't blown, you have some sort of robotic circuitry where your human, feeling brain is supposed to be. For real though, you never know the impact a small action is going to have on another person's (or your own) life. Writing a blog could lead you to your future wife. Offering to the public a crucially important, timely, sage, well-articulated piece of advice about social media posts could lead a distant friend to marry a Brazilian woman.

Match-Making and You
...and your perfect soulmate

Have you done any match-making? How'd it go?

Have your friends made a match for you?



A Soda Fountain Adventure


Some of you, no doubt, read S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders sometime around middle school. It was part of the curriculum in my county, so I found myself reading it aloud in class many times, my pubescent voice cracking at every change of inflection. I wonder what my classmates thought when I was called on to read; I was a good reader, but man, those voice cracks.

But today's topic is too grand for me to get bogged down in memories of 1997 and my changing body. The reason I bring up Hinton's coming-of-age novel is that it prominently features Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay," especially its titular final line:

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

I'm glad I was exposed to this poem in middle school, because it helped me in high school when the well went dry... the well of the sweet nectar of life.

Baby Come Back
Or I'll bring you back in a laboratory like a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein

The discontinuation of Tropical Sprite Remix was, to me, The Day the Music Died. If you had the privilege of tasting this heavenly concoction, you know exactly what I mean. If you didn't, you were deprived one of life's true masterpieces...

...until now.

Coca-cola (always leading) has developed a fountain machine, called Freestyle, that allows you to thoroughly customize your soda beverage. You've probably seen one in a Qdoba, Five Guys, or some other fast casual restaurant.

Just saying whatever comes into the top of my head... freestylin'

One glorious day, it occurred to me that Sprite is one of the beverages in the Freestyle. That for each beverage in the machine, there are plenty of flavor syrups to mix and match. And that, if the stars aligned perfectly, if God saw fit to pour out a special blessing on a random dude like me, perhaps those flavors could combine their powers to summon forth the Captain Planet of beverages.

On most machines, these are the flavor options for Sprite:

L to R: cherry, orange, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, grape, peach

I could stretch this into a novella, but that would require inventing a villain hellbent on denying the world of delicious flavor combinations. Too dark. So I'll just cut to the chase...

It was only a matter of time and experimentation until I rediscovered the magic of Tropical Sprite Remix. Here's the formula that will change your life (in the sense that reading it, like any action you take, adds to your cumulative life experience):

Please try this.

A Drink By Any Other Name
Would at least closely resemble the taste of its former self

What is your current favorite soda beverage?
Have you made any fun creations in the Coca-Cola Freestyle?