Married couple, early thirties, seeks same for enjoyable evenings spent enjoying cool restaurants, drunken afternoons in wine country, and general hooliganry. Kids okay, as long as you leave them at home. Encyclopedic pop culture knowledge and love of video games a plus. Must love cats.
Youngs, you know how people say that it gets harder to make friends as you get older? That’s pretty much true. And if you’re a couple looking for other couples to hang out with, it’s double-true.
So when you’re a married couple who gets transplanted across the country, far away from most of your friends and family, you’re pretty much screwed. This is the situation with which I currently struggle. My husband and I are transplants to California, and most of our friends and family are back home on the East Coast. Although we’ve each managed to make some pals on our own, it’s a little weird to invite a single girl or guy to join the two of us for the spring party at our wine club in Napa. We need couple friends.
Considering the preponderance of online dating options that cater to the nichiest of niches—survivalists, Trekkies, hotties, potheads, hot potheads—it seemed almost impossible that there wasn’t a dating site geared toward couples who wanted to connect with other like-minded couples for fun, adventure, and wine tasting. After this flash of brilliance, I had the business plan all figured out in my head (along with my millions of dollars in profits): couples would upload a profile detailing their background and interests, and could connect with other local couples who wanted to branch out and broaden their social circles. It was genius. I’d already almost finished writing our hilarious, enchanting profile as well as mentally planning our new gang’s future Halloween parties and boozy baby showers when I stumbled upon a most unfortunate fact.
It turns out that already exists. In a few different places, actually.
And as I perused the profiles of other nice-looking couples in the Bay Area who were just there to make friends, I found myself thinking, Ha, you losers. Not in a million years.
These sites are not popular. And they’re so mistrusted that many have to put up huge disclaimers assuring visitors that they are not secretly trying to organize swingers’ parties. So I guess that there’s at least one reason why “couples dating” has not become the Next Big Internet Thing.
Maybe another reason is that couples dating just presents too many veto opportunities. It’s tough enough trying to get two people together—trying to perfectly mesh music tastes with gastronomic preferences, plus figuring out where the other party stands on controversial topics such as Peeps or the Real Housewives. Imagine trying to play that game times two, with four people nitpicking on each other’s various quirks and peccadilloes. It’d be impossible. At some point in your life, your close friends are people you’ve known for so long that you’ve been forced to grandfather in their irritating qualities or less-desirable interests. If you met them fresh and had to confront the bad stuff upfront, even they probably wouldn’t make the cut.
But could it also be that finding platonic friends online just feels too forced and too desperate. Everyone understands if you’re too busy to find a boyfriend or sick of trolling bars or have exhausted all of your setup options. But to put up an ad saying, “We can’t find friends”? That feels not unlike an admission that no one wants to hang out with you. Plenty of people have trouble dating, but only weirdos and psychos don’t have friends.
It took my husband and me approximately three years to pick out a rug for our living room, so it’s a tall order to expect us to decide on new friends right away. And anyway, it’s highly unlikely that there’s some perfect couple out there waiting to complete us...she a prickly wordsmith with a penchant for Dance Moms and home canning; he a bowtie-wearing Marxist video game player. We’re complicated people. We’re looking for friends who are equally at home at the symphony and playing Kinect in our living room, and, although they enjoy grooving at all the latest clubs, really enjoy a quiet bourbon at home. They should be interested in going to concerts, seeing films, and taking long walks on the beach. We love life and discovering all that this city has to offer, and we’re just trying to find that special couple to share it with.
No fatties, please.