MUSKEGON, MI–Despite the urgings of friends and coworkers, Eileen MacKay and Doug Traschel refuse to lower their standards enough to date each other.
"I just don't find Eileen very attractive," the short, paunchy 39-year-old told friend Wayne Russo while bowling Monday. "She's fine as a friend, but as far as anything more, she just doesn't do it for me."
MacKay, 40, who hasn't been on a date in almost two years, also reported having no romantic feelings for Traschel. "Everyone keeps saying that Doug and I seem really well-matched and would totally hit it off. That's all well and good, and he seems like a perfectly nice guy, but I feel like I could do a little better."
Traschel, a fulfillment manager at Muskegon Piping & Tubing, met MacKay a year ago when she was hired by the company as a customer-service representative. Coworkers almost immediately began pointing out to Traschel and MacKay all the things the two had in common, including their mutual interest in Mexican cooking, popular fiction, and old movies.
"Whenever Doug would go off about some old Humphrey Bogart movie, everyone in the room would be like, 'Here he goes again.' That is, until Eileen started working here," coworker Georgia Gullickson said. "It turns out, she's seen all those black-and-white movies, too. It's like they were made for each other."
Many others expected romance to blossom between MacKay and Traschel, as well, based on the fact that both are Stephen King fans, nature lovers, and horribly lonely.
"Doug's always joking about how he'd better find a wife before he loses any more of his hair," delivery driver Larry Stordahl said. "Well, let's get going, Doug. What's wrong with Eileen?"
According to Traschel, many things are wrong with her.
"I'm no Tom Cruise, but I try to put forth a neat appearance," Traschel said. "Eileen, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care at all about looking nice for work. And she's always talking about her dogs as if they're her children. I seriously doubt I could ever date a woman like that."
MacKay, who called Traschel's mustache "kind of ridiculous-looking," said she finds him too talkative.
"Doug just goes on and on, assuming that everybody's interested in what he has to say," MacKay said. "People call me a motor mouth, but he makes me look like one of those mutes at the circus! Also, he's way too negative for me: I'm a very positive person, and I can't stand being around people who never have anything nice to say about people."
Both MacKay and Traschel said they'd rather spend a quiet night at home cooking enchiladas and watching The African Queen than go out with someone with whom they're so obviously incompatible.
"Just yesterday, [Eileen] was in the office breakroom, going off about how The Rainmaker is John Grisham's best book, when anyone with half a brain knows it's A Time To Kill," Traschel said. "Can you believe that? She'd better not be getting any funny ideas about the two of us getting together."
Fortunately for Traschel, MacKay is so uninterested in dating him that she becomes offended whenever the possibility is raised.
"I admit, it'd be nice to have someone," MacKay said. "But I'm not about to settle just so I don't have to spend another Saturday night alone. I'm not ready to scrape the bottom of the barrel just yet."
Traschel also said he is "not so desperate that [he'd] date just anyone."
"Peter Grantham in promotions got divorced last year, but no one's trying to set him up with Eileen," Traschel said. "That's because Peter's tall and good-looking. But short little me, I make a perfect match for Eileen, right? Well, forget it."
"Besides, I've got my eye on a certain someone named Rachel," continued Traschel, referring to Muskegon Piping & Tubing's 26-year-old receptionist Rachel Nygard. "I'm thinking of asking her out for a drink after work sometime."
MacKay expressed similar interest in going out with Grantham.