February 2008

He Says, She Says: Blind Dates

Author: Keith Kelson & Jean Wharton

He Says

I’m not a big fan of blind dates. I’ve always preferred to tackle the dating game on my own. I’m very picky when it comes to women, and I have been told that I have very eclectic taste. I prefer that a woman be comfortable in her own skin, is down to earth and is fun to be around. I’m not a fan of those women who sit on the sidelines watching the purses while their friends dance the night away. These also happen to be the women that most people try to set you up with on blind dates because they’re so nice.

When I consent to go on the occasional blind date, usually after some prodding by a friend, I always make sure that the good folks who run the witness protection program are standing by to relocate me and give me a brand new identity. Especially if there’s no chemistry at all or, heaven forbid, the date goes badly. You don’t want to wind up on the wrong end of a blind date.

We’ve all seen a woman in a restaurant giving folks the “This is a mercy date” look as she sits at a table with a cat with a bad toupee who hasn’t updated his wardrobe since Three’s Company went into syndication. You don’t want to be that guy. Just in case some woman’s face starts to get that look as I’m sitting across the table from her, I want to be sure that I can start over somewhere else with a clean slate, where nobody knows my name. Call it ego, but I’m determined to preserve the little street cred I’ve got.

To be honest, for me a blind date is about as much fun as a root canal followed by an hour-long slide show about the wonderful world of algebra. Hollywood and urban legends really don’t help matters much, as everyone has heard the many horror stories that follow the words “blind date”. Like the one about the young law student who had to push a guy’s Volkswagen off the freeway in the rain, because it ran out of gas, while her date sat inside and steered because he had a bad back. That young lady was Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Needless to say, she refused to go on another blind date.

There’s just far too much pressure to perform on blind dates. First of all, you’re nervous because you don’t want to be seen as, well you know, the kind of socially inept person that needs help getting a date. When you’ve got to combat that kind of social stigma, real or imagined, you’re gonna have to be as funny as Jerry Seinfeld and be as charming and suave as James Bond. Needless to say, that combination is next to impossible to pull off.

Then there’s the universe, which will place at least a zillion obstacles in your way as you drive to meet your date. There will be at least ten disasters waiting to happen—everything from locusts and frogs running rampant to out of season hurricanes to Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back Kotter rear-ending you at a traffic light. Not to mention the high expectations of both your date and your mutual friend who arranged the date.

Trust me. I’ve been there. And watching your friend give you those big puppy dog eyes as she asks you how the date went and what day the wedding will take place can be hard—especially after you’ve signed up to join the French Foreign Legion to keep from seeing your date again.

But just because I’m not a fan of going on blind dates doesn’t mean I’m against playing matchmaker. In fact, I know a nice pilot at The Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort who would be perfect for Jean.

She Says

I have fallen in love at first sight on a few occasions. The first time I can remember was when I met an adorable redhead with soft hair and big brown eyes; her name was Duchess and she was first my golden retriever. Few things have yet to compare to the overwhelming sense of love I felt for that dog when I first met her. The second instance of love at first sight happened on the first day of school, my freshman year of high school. He was the tall, dark and handsome quarterback of the junior varsity football team and it’s a crush that continues to this day, especially if I run into him while visiting my hometown.

Don’t you wish that you could bottle the feeling of actual puppy love or the sensation of your first high school crush and save it for whenever you need to remember why you’re in the trenches of a relationship? If you could take a swig from the “Love at First Sight” bottle you would be able to recapture that same feeling.

I could go on and on about other loves, but my point is this: women will chase the butterflies in the stomach, knot in the throat feeling of love at first sight like an addiction. I’ve had my heart skip a beat enough times to know that if I meet someone who gives me that feeling, I’m sticking around long enough to see what happens next. That being said, I love blind dates! The anxious feeling of not knowing who you’re about to meet is exhilarating enough to send me to the mall for a new outfit. That’s not to say that a blind date is a time to abandon yourself, but if possible, put your best foot forward and make a great first impression, because who knows what might be waiting for you.

Blind dates require two things. First you’ll need is an adventurous spirit. You must be willing to try something…or in this case, someONE new. Try this simple test. If you’re willing to do any of the following, then you’re a perfect candidate for a blind date:

1. Eat a chocolate from the box without referring to the guide to tell you what is inside of said chocolate.
2. Order the “Chef’s Sampler” at a sushi restaurant, not knowing what kind of items your meal will include until the tray arrives.
3. Buy a new game, learn the rules and play it right away with a group of friends.

If you can indeed fly by the seat of your pants and take whatever life throws at you, then you, my friend, are ready for the world of blind dating. Going on a blind date necessitates a certain degree of spontaneity in order for the mysterious set up to work. Control freaks need not apply.

The second thing a blind date requires is a trustworthy friend. The matchmaker cannot be a casual acquaintance or an unreliable drinking buddy. You should be able to trust the match-making friend to pick out a bottle of wine or select a pair of shoes with little to no trepidation before you allow him or her to pick out a date for you. You want your matchmaker to think highly enough of you to set you up with a worthy date. Make sure you’ve given your friend enough information about what you like in a date and who you’d be interested in dating, otherwise you might be stuck on a bad blind date—which brings up a good point about the date itself.

It may be terrible. Yep, it may be awful. It could be the worst set up in your personal dating history. However, at the very least you’ll have a great story to share with your friends. If you can surrender your expectations you will enjoy yourself and take the date for what it’s worth to you. This advice is hard to heed, especially when I’ve filled your head with notions of love at first sight.

People meet all kinds of ways…walking the produce section of the grocery store, working out on the Stairmaster at the gym, matched online through an Internet dating service. So, a blind date isn’t such a bad idea.

Now, Keith about this pilot in Beaufort…will he wear his dress blues on our blind date?

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