“Matchmaker” by Shawn Anniston from Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction (Cleis Press, 2009).

 Once again the author has presented us with a complete support system for his unnamed narrator that is a lot of fun to experience. Instead of a biological family, this time we’re shown a created one. Melissa and Amanda are his roommates, his friends, a couple expecting their first child…and amateur matchmakers. They keep trying to fix him up with one or another of the many, many eligible guys they know. Of course he gets the idea that they want him to move out after the baby is born. Wouldn’t you, if you were in his shoes?

The trouble is, he still hasn’t recovered from a heartache he suffered in high school. He wasn’t rejected per se; he misread the signs and hung his hopes on someone who wasn’t interested in him. Even so, it caused him to put the notion of romance completely out of his mind, and he’s stubbornly stayed that way. He finds fault with every guy Amanda and Melissa shove in his direction and then vents to another good friend, Mick, who offers his opinion as a series of wisecracks.

There’s some powerful alchemy at work in this story. I think the secret is in how relentlessly the narrator resists the very idea of being in a relationship, so that when sparks do finally start to fly, it’s a jaw dropper. It also helps that there’s some killer dialogue in this piece. It’s just, overall, a ridiculously enjoyable read.