We have all heard the sales pitch. “I have got the perfect person for you. You just have to meet them.” Suddenly, you begin to shift around uncomfortably as you scavenge your mind for a quick excuse. Of course, you end up standing there completely mute as your try to calm the sick feeling stirring up in the depths of your stomach. All you can get out is an unenthusiastic, “ok” before your friend, mom, grandmother, or random person that one of the first three knows, erupts into a detailed description of this mystery person. This is how the nightmare begins. Blind Dates.
Apparently, Blind Dates are fun for someone because they still exist, but for the people that actually have to suffer through the catastrophic event, it’s like walking onto the American Idol audition set – if you had no clue what American Idol was and you were really just trying to find the bathroom before stumbling into that room. The judges are critical and possibly obnoxious. You couldn’t impress them even if you knew what they liked, and you really don’t want to be there in the first place.
The number of things that are wrong with the Blind Date is mind-boggling. First, the whole set-up process has its own code language that you can never decipher until it’s too late. For instance, in real life if someone has a “great personality” that means they are a really nice person and enjoyable to hang out with – easy, right. Not in Blind Date land. “Great personality” could mean “trapped-in-house obese” or “has chewin’ tobacco teeth” or “looks like an Olympic power-lifter.”
You might be told that this person is “really funny.” Oh, great, that’s awesome because back in real-life, “really funny” is a top three quality. Ahhhhhh, unfortunately when it comes to Blind Dates, “really funny” usually means “still watches cartoons” or “quotes lines from movies constantly” or “laughs so loud people stare.”
Another favorite of match-makers everywhere is “so sweet.” Well this is perfect because isn’t “so sweet” exactly what everyone dreams of in a mate – romantic, caring, sensitive, attentive. Yep, on the other hand, we usually don’t want “so sweet” to mean “make a hair-doll of you stalker” or “stares at you silently while you eat” or “invites the parents to the blind date.”
Sadly the list goes on and on. It’s impossible to make a translation guide because the language changes with every match-maker, but you can be certain of one thing – “involved in church” probably means something closer to “guy with megaphone street preaching” and a mere “good looking” never means more than “has all of his body parts.”
The second thing that makes Blind Dates simply indefensible is the inevitable disappointment. Someone is always going to be disappointed – either you will not like him or he will not like you. Sure, once in a while lightening strikes and two random people who have never even exchanged an email or text message may love each other’s company, but let’s get serious with each other here – movies are movies for a reason.
You see this guy confidently strut into the room and you immediately know he is a complete schmuck. The picture you saw of him was from 30 pounds ago and apparently there was some great lighting in the room. He talks about himself constantly and you nod robotically as you try to figure out if you can get home in time to watch Grey’s Anatomy. It’s not this guy’s fault that you aren’t attracted to him. You don’t want to hurt his feelings, and no matter how hard he tries, you would go so far as to pay for your own meal to get the heck out of there.
Third, the Blind Date makes you take a hard look in the mirror at yourself because someone wouldn’t have set you up with that person unless they thought you were equivalents. No hideous guy ever gets setup with a model. Fat guys aren’t getting paired up with lifeguards. Ditzy girls don’t go on Blind Dates with Rhodes Scholars. Blind Dates are the one time in life where whoever set you up will be forced to reveal what they really think about you. If your date was dumb as sandpaper and has the Ben & Jerry’s flavors memorized, what is your matchmaker telling you? Maybe your date looked a little like a turtle and showed up in sweatpants. What does that mean about you?
Then, possibly the worst part about a Blind Date is the aftermath. There is no way to tell the matchmaker that you didn’t like your date without hurting their feelings. Your date is always going to be your friend’s cousin or your mom’s best friend’s daughter or your best friend’s best friend from high school or your sister’s roommate. How do you break the news to them that “your cousin is ugly” or “your best friend is obnoxious” or “your daughter smells like onions.” This is impossible news to break to someone. If you make the mistake of being honest with them, then get ready for the “what makes you so perfect” lecture. It should be OK to not be attracted to someone without having to feel guilty about it. Blind Dates make this impossible.
So here is how all this can be resolved. If you feel the need to set people up, then you need to be way sneakier about it. Take your duty as a matchmaker seriously and don’t get lazy. First, never let either person know that you are thinking about setting them up. As soon as one person knows, it’s ruined. Someone will get their feelings hurt. Second, you have to get both people around each other in a casual setting a few times before making your move. Both people need a chance to 1) see what each other looks like in real life and 2) see how each other act. Third, and this is the critical step, the matchmaker needs to make a preliminary finding that both people are compatible. If your two people don’t look like they enjoy each other or have that spark, then delete the match from your brain and never mention it to anyone. If you follow these steps, you may be able to successfully setup two people and avoid the Blind Date disaster.