A funny thing happened at Thida's party last night (a great party by the way, where I talked to a lot of interesting people). I will attempt to protect the names of the guilty, so let's imagine there's couple XY (a male and female pair, of course) and single female Z. Now single female Z is recently out of a relationship and looking. And couple XY is cheerfully bi/poly and enjoys finding cuddly people to share their bed (and may actually be looking for a third long-term partner; I'm not sure on that score). ANYWAY, the point is that Z told me at the party that X was really cute; and X told me that Z was really cute; and Y told me that Z was really cute; so when Z told X that she thought Y was really cute, it was clear that there was mutual interest and attraction all around. Of course, it was only clear to me, so I took on a matchmaker role and spilled the beans all around, and then retired from the field, leaving carnage behind me. Well, embarrassment, at any rate. I can be a dangerous friend. :-)
Anyway, I got mail from X this morning basically saying I was a terrible troublemaker and that they had a date with Z now that they were really looking forward to. :-)
Which all makes me think that the position of matchmaker is sadly lacking in our society these days. There are tons, literally tons of people I know who are looking for partners. Some are looking for friendly fun, some are looking for romance, some are looking for long-term partners, some are looking for marriage, kids, and the dog in the backyard. A good matchmaker could be invaluable here. She would keep lists, and take notes, and people could openly come to her and say "I'm looking". And they could tell her what they were looking for, and she (or he, certainly) could say, "With your looks and no job, you can afford to be that picky?" Maybe knock some sense into people's heads, and open their eyes to what's right next door. Or introduce them to somebody they'd never have run into otherwise, but who would be just perfect for them, if they only gave him a chance.
Oh, newspapers and alt.personals try to fill the function, but it's not the same as a woman who *knows* you're a neatnik and would just lose it if your prospective put her glass down on your nice table without a coaster. Or (to translate to modern day) happens to know that you have a secret life as a professional domme and need a partner who can cope with that side of your personality. She would occasionally even throw parties, where couples and triples and singles etc could mingle, and she'd huddle with the very settled folk and say "So what do you think of Johnny for our Mike and Steve? Such a cute triple they'd make...and Johnny so good with Mike's little ones..."
I don't think you could make it a job, as such, but ritualized gift giving would be a nice exchange. A dinner now and then; maybe on your anniversary you could send flowers to the one who brought you two together. That would be nice. Hmmm....maybe if I ever settle in one place for good, I'll start advertising my services. Just to friends, of course; the reason this worked in the villages is that the matchmaker knew everybody. So I'd pass the word to my friends, and they could pass it to their friends, and eventually it'd trickle out, and maybe someday someone will call me, saying, "Matchmaker, what do you think of Kathleen for me?" And I'll get to say, "Kathleen? A sweet girl yes, a nice girl yes, and with such a good job designing computer games, who'll notice the two buck teeth and the forgetting to bathe now and then, but Michael, Kathleen is not the girl for you, because Kathleen is a hard-core dyed-in-the-wool lesbian, and I hear she has her eye on Susan Taylor besides. I expect to hear wedding bells any day now from those two. You, what you need is a nice bisexual Jewish girl, the kind you can take home to your mother and then host wild orgies with when you're back in San Francisco. Have you considered Nora, Steven's roommate Nora? Such a nice girl, and in the dark, who'll notice that little problem she has..."
I'm being silly, but really, I think this is important. So many people are so lonely these days; I think there's one thing the Religious Right does have right -- family is important. I just think their definitions of family are a little too narrow for my tastes.