Cami Thompson was having trouble finding a good boyfriend. So she and two friends formed the Board of Love — a three-woman mate-finding group with business card, regular meetings, a MySpace page, and now a profile in Cleveland Magazine.
While meeting up with your friends to talk about relationships is nothing new, and it's kind of cool that Cami took lemons and made MySpace-ade, everything else about the Board of Love — and its writeup by Rebecca Meiser — is pretty depressing. There's its inspiration — Cami saw ad exec Donny Deutsch ell a woman on Good Morning America that "If you really want to get married, you need to treat your love life like your professional life," meaning she "needed a group of friends to hold her accountable for her dating decisions and to advise her on all romantic matters." The advice part seems like what normal friends do, and the "holding accountable" part seems like a nice way of saying "berating."
Though the board "tried to look for positives" in its meetings at the bar Panini's, Cami's friends Jenny Chalk and Carrie Hooks also say things like, "Immediately, I knew he was a jerk," and "I think Cami does have good taste deep down, but she's easily distracted by other things." They told her she was "only bothering to talk to nonquality guys," and assigned her the awkward-sounding task of hanging around for half an hour in the cracker aisle of a local supermarket, in order to meet "guys with disposable incomes." On Halloween, they dressed up in fishnets and pencil skirts and slipped business cards under the windshield wipers of expensive cars. While there's nothing wrong with friends giving you a little help with your dating life, the tenor of the Board's criticism and the mercenary nature of their activities makes the whole thing sound like, well, a job.
Then there are Meiser's subtle hints that she actually finds the Board depressing, not because of their Halloween antics but because the members are 28 and single. She writes,
To outsiders, Cami's choice of advisers might seem less than ideal. Neither Cami, Carrie nor Jenny have ever been in a relationship lasting more than six months. And each board member has her own issues.
Jenny, a fun-loving office manager and budding fiction writer, had been called out for her pickiness, rejecting guys because they were "boring" or "not my type." Carrie, despite dating a lot, never seemed to find the right guy. Ever.
And of a guest speaker's presentation, "Why You Marry Before You're 30: A Book Report," Meiser says,
Apparently, the speaker had read some study that claimed single women over 30 were more likely to die alone, surrounded by 40 cats than to marry. "Clearly, the speaker did not consider his demographic when he chose that topic," 28-year-old Jenny says. Afterward, the board took an impromptu vote, unanimously deciding to disregard the speaker's message because he obviously had no idea what he was talking about. Everyone felt much better after that.
It's kind of hard to tell if the subtext here — "but we're all still kinda worried about becoming cat ladies, aren't we?" — is coming from Meiser or the Board itself, but whatever the case, the article makes being a single woman sound like a disease, and the Board of Love sound like very bad doctors. Adding an extra little zing of delusion are the sidebars Cleveland Magazine has added. One describes the $1,000 "finder's fee" a board guest speaker is offering to the person who introduces her to her future husband. Another gives this advice:
Look around you. People generally choose to date others who are on the same social, professional and attractiveness "rung" as themselves. But how often does that relationship crash and burn?
Now think of the advantages of dating someone beneath you on the social ladder. These guys, knowing how lucky they are to get you, will work extra hard to keep your interest. They will spend more money on you, lavish you with more attention and be that much more grateful for your presence than any guy in the same social rung ever would.
Um, no? First of all, just because you perceive someone as "beneath you" doesn't mean he does, or will treat you accordingly. Second, what if he finds out you're dating him as part of a campaign to "lower your standards"? Third, the whole premise that board meetings, assignments, and guest speakers will make someone better at a process that includes an enormous amount of luck, trial, and error is pretty ridiculous. I guess it's supposed to be fun. It sounds about as fun as a Cathy comic strip, and about as smart.
Image via Cleveland Magazine.
Love By Committee [Cleveland Magazine]