January 29, 2006

Blind dating is like cowboy boots. Just because they're back doesn't mean I plan to get a pair.

This year, predictions stated that there will be an increase in terrorism, global warming and blind dating. The first two I can handle. But a blind date? Cooling the Earth is less daunting.
What's wrong with internet dating? Who wouldn't prefer to sit alone in a bathrobe, trawling through misleading photos, pretending to be charming in e-mails? Maybe web dating is too easy. Maybe people are nostalgic for getting dressed up, having no idea what your date will look like, and then being totally bummed out and forced to sit through dinner for two hours.

Maybe they miss the old-fashioned disappointment.

The last time I went on a blind date - the only time I went on one - I was fixed up by someone I didn't know very well. This is the best way to go, because when the date's over you can end the acquaintanceship, horrified someone would think so little of you. No big loss.

Having spoken on the phone first, we decided to meet at a restaurant in my neighbourhood. I asked how I'd recognise him; he described himself as "white". I knew it would be a long night.
I arrived first. A very attractive man came in and seemed to be looking around. There was a twitch of hope. He started to walk towards me and I asked: "Are you Bob?" Any answer other than yes (which includes "I could be") would be reason to leave. It was a no. So, just as I was about to leave, the real Bob shows up. White Bob. How did I know it was him? We'd met before. A few years earlier, we had spoken briefly at a party. My first thought upon seeing him again was, "Oh you're that guy - the guy I was bored talking to," which was only slightly better than his response, which was to stare blankly at me and wince. Not only was there no recollection on his part, but he instantly knew exactly the wrong thing to say: "We've met? Are you sure?" Thank you.

He was a writer for The New York Times and a shameless name-dropper, but I decided to stick it out for one reason. Even though he wasn't right for me, I knew one day I might want to fix him up with someone I hate.

Liza's blind date sounded more my type. At dinner she went to the loo. When she got back, he was rummaging around his pockets and produced a syringe and cotton swabs. "Did they tell you I'm diabetic?" he asked. Then he lifted his shirt and jabbed insulin into his stomach. Liza lost her appetite. "The rest of the evening, all we talked about was diseases," she said. And that's bad?

But some work out. Madonna and Guy Ritchie, for instance. I read they met on a blind date. It probably helps ease the "blind" part, though, if you're the most famous woman in the world and Sting is the matchmaker. But I'm not going on a blind date again, even if Sting did offer to fix me up. It's like cowboy boots. Just because they're back doesn't mean I plan to get a pair.