The blind date
Blind dates are rare. If you can’t look someone up on Facebook to see a photo, there’s My Space, Google, e-mail, or a friend’s photos. In the online dating world, rarely will you get a response without a photo (according to OkTrends – the online dating site OkCupid’s dating research – the photo is the most important part of the online profile (more on OkTrends another day)). So showing up to meet someone who I have no idea what they look like was exciting. I saw Stan Smith (a nickname, named after his Stan Smith Adidas he’s so proud of – see photo above) texting as I approach our meeting point on my bike, then felt my phone vibrate. “We11 eye here” said the text, decoding necessary because of the five keys broken on his phone – making all texts from him a fun puzzle to decipher. I was hoping he was my date, because my other choices in the area were a couple of homeless men and one guy either really drunk or really high at our 3:30pm meeting time. Luckily the cute, tall guy in the Stan Smith Adidas was my man!
We are a surprisingly good match (thanks to my friend from work for the set-up!). We’re both writers and love to learn. I could see us challenging each other with random facts and who can research the fastest about bizarre topics. He said he’d look up more things than I did during our conversation. A rarity for me, as I’m always the one writing down things to Google. He writes for TV and film, and is a written poet and a slam poet (performance poetry). We chatted over beers, went to see an amazing photography exhibit by Lucia Graca of music venues from across the world (through the Contact Festival), and went for a walk to see graffiti art and loading docks in an alleyway (yes, mom, I trusted him enough to go into an alleyway with him).
Sometimes, though, we talked more about being on the date, then actually being on the date. He joked that we’re like characters in a play talking about being in a play. It was almost a pre-date, and if we go out again that will be an actual first date. I told my friend who dates a lot that and she said most first meetings tend to end up being pre-dates to see if you actually want to go on a date with them – especially with online guys. I guess I’m going to have to start setting up second dates, so I can go on real first dates. Wow, the world of dating is confusing!
It’s also a problem with doing this project. Everyone is interested in what I’m doing, which is fantastic, but then we end up talking about it too much. And then all the big questions come up. What if you meet someone you like? Can this be authentic if you must go on dates every day? What happens if you only want to date one person? What if you meet more than one person you like?
One date is not enough time to really get to know someone. Real dating involves the development of a relationship, and I worry that I’m putting the novelty of the 31 dates over the chance to really find someone I care about. I will see how it goes, but I might allow more than two dates if a second date goes really well.
On a positive, but extremely bizarre note, this is the message I got e-mailed to me from OkCupid (the online dating site I’ve been using):
We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you’d like to know.
How can we say this with confidence? We’ve tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people’s reactions to you in Quickmatch and Quiver.. . .
Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:You will now see more attractive people in your match results.
This new status won’t affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You’ll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.. . .
Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn’t just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.
Not to brag or anything! I’m still so perplexed by the dating world – so completely about looks and less about personality or genuine connections. I really dislike it.
My first online date. This better be good. Or really bad, so it’s good writing!