Dating Games Decoding 'cute'

When you have a set-up in mind, be ready to facilitate the connection… and don’t say “cute.”

March 12, 2010 20:58
4 minute read.

Dating games cute 311. (photo credit: .)


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When you’re being set up on a date and hear the guy or girl is “cute,” it usually doesn’t elicit a positive response nor make you want to approve the set-up. Unfortunately, “cute” now translates as unattractive, just as selecting “curvy” in your J*Date profile is translated into overweight. To sum up: Most singles are instantly turned off and reject a “cute” blind date. But you have to consider the source of the set-up, because not all sources are created equal.

• If you’re being set up by a grandparent, then you absolutely must require photographic evidence. Grandparents will always think their grandchildren are cute, just as they think babies, puppies and stuffed animals are cute. Grandparents think all their grandchildren are fabulous and special and beautiful, and so do all of their mah-jong and bridge partners. The thing is, eventually someone’s grandchild is going to be great-looking and smart and funny and so on, and you should take every opportunity that comes your way, just in case.

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The problem is that many grandparents are technologically challenged, and asking them to email you a photo of their bridge partner’s single grandchild is more difficult than teaching them how to program their cell phone’s voice mail. If your grandparent isn’t even online, then simply ask for the other singleton’s contact information, and take it from there. Many grandparents will probably forget all about it, but if said grandparent does follow up, you can simply say that he or she wasn’t your type if the photo was horrible; or that the date went okay, but there wasn’t any chemistry; or, if the date was a disaster, say that you’re “still talking,” if in fact you are.

• If you’re being set up by your own parent, you can ask him or her to honestly describe what they mean by “cute” – and gauge their reaction. If their eyes start to search the room behind you as they think of a few generous synonyms, then they definitely know that the singleton in question is not exactly on a par with what you have in mind. If, on the other hand, they immediately reply “pretty” or “”beautiful” or “gorgeous” or “handsome,” you may have found yourself a winner. Beware of the response “Well... I haven’t actually seen my friend’s son/daughter/stepchild/niece/nephew, but I hear he/she is really cute.” In such a case, run far, far away. Again, always give set-ups a chance by – at the very least – checking out a photo, and remember that someone who has a just so-so photo could be better looking in person and have a rocking personality.

• If you’re being set up by a friend, they should know better than to describe a singleton as “cute.” If they have to resort to that description, you have your answer right there. A few caveats: Although I believe attraction is a priority, it is also subjective, and what is “cute” to your friend may be hot to you. Conversely, “cute” to your friend may be ugly to you.

If you know that you and your shadchan-inspiring friend have different tastes, ask for a photo. Remember, though, that there are things way more important than looks, and as long as there is some attraction as a base, all his or her other qualities will only build upon that foundation.

My friend Mike started chatting with a girl on J*Date who didn’t have a photo but described herself as “cute.” Mike made the rookie mistake of accepting that as a description – from the girl herself! Now, as I mentioned earlier, attractiveness is subjective; but when Mike asked her to send him a photo, she made up excuse after excuse... which should have alerted him. Instead, he made plans with her on the basis that she send him a photo before the date. Again, she had excuses and didn’t send a photo, but again, he ignored his suspicions and drove 30 minutes to meet her anyway. Lo and behold, she wasn’t exactly Mike’s version of attractive, and he learned a lesson the hard way.

Now that “S” and I have gotten to know each other’s friends, I have begun trying to set them up. What I’ve quickly learned is that it is imperative to have photos ready as well as background info (education, career, personality, etc.) to email immediately following the suggestion to both parties. I’ve already made the mistake of talking up an eligible bachelorette to one of S’s friends, only afterwards to present him with a photo and have him be less than enthused, since he had high hopes based on my description.

Singletons want to pounce on new prey and don’t have much patience when it comes to meeting their beshert. So take note: When you have a set-up in mind, be ready to facilitate the connection… and don’t say “cute.”

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