Blind dates are a definite do. I say this as someone who has been on a blind date with a friend’s friend’s dentist’s patient and lived to tell about it. Though these experiences tend to range from the moderately benign to the painful and bewildering, some people have actually met their spouses as the result of a blind date, as hard as it is to believe.
Due to the ubiquity of online dating—the blind date’s younger, techy cousin once removed—we’re all pretty familiar with dating complete strangers by now. The small difference being that unless you are highly adept at Google stalking, you will know even less about your blind date than your online match who likes sports and sports and also really likes sports. Which means, unless the Emma Woodhouse in your life reveals some sort of non-negotiable about the guy, there’s really no good reason to decline a blind date.
Aside from all the normal dating rules; don’t get tipsy, recount previous bad dates, or bring up past life trauma, and so on, a couple tips might make this nerve-wracking event a little less stressful.
Have something to say.
In the French movie Romantics Anonymous, an excruciatingly shy woman makes a list of topics to discuss on her date to help her converse like a normal human. At the restaurant, she plies her equally shy date immediately with these heady subjects – the Middle East, Art – causing him to periodically run to the bathroom in a sweaty panic to change his shirt and reapply deodorant. Though comically botched in film, the tactic is not a terrible idea.
Having two or three go-to subjects (books, movies, non-controversial current events) in your back pocket will help when there’s an awkward pause in the conversation. Peruse the weekend section of your local newspaper for light yet interesting topics appropriate for a first date. And speaking of awkward pauses, don’t feel like it’s your job to jump in and fill them at the first nanosecond of silence. It’s perfectly fine to let him do some of the heavy lifting so you can do some of the listening and see what he’s all about.
The worst part of any blind date is the dead time immediately before it. Do as much as you can to keep your mind busy so as not to over-think the date and/or list possible baby names if it all works out. The best way to keep your mind busy is to actually be busy. So if time allows, meet a friend beforehand for a drink. One Drink (remember not getting tipsy rule). It will take some of the edge off and talking to your friend will help you relax and realize that whatever happens, you have great friends and ergo, a great life.
C’est La Vie.
Once you’ve prepared for awkwardness and spent time with a trusted friend, you’ll be in a better frame of mind for your date. If all goes well, you’ll have a much less anxiety-inducing second date. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. Many artists have channeled pain into great art; you can at least channel a painful date into a great story. Everyone loves those.
Take three deep breaths, have zero expectations, and just be yourself. And wear some lipstick.
Allison Elliott works in business communications in New York City. In her spare time she can be found writing poetry and a screenplay for a monster movie.