Friday, January 23, 2009

Rules weren’t necessarily made to be broken

Long ago I created a rule for myself; a rule to protect myself from awkwardness, uncomfortable situations and, in retrospect and perhaps unknowingly, pain. For years I've held staunchly to this rule, withstanding peer pressure and parental pleading. Then, slowly I began breaking the rule and each time I would break it, I would remember why I established it to begin with. I tried to slow down the rule breaking, but once it starts it's very difficult to stop. Precedent has been set and must be followed. I'm talking about my rule of blind dating: I don't do it. Or, more accurately, I didn't do it.

You, my reader, may have been one of the unfortunate victims of a blind date with me, or perhaps you were the instigator of said blind date. Please know that regardless of which camp you fall into, this post is not a reflection of you as a date or a friend.

As a single LDS male in a predominantly LDS community, dating is something I'm expected to do; I'm supposed to get married. Since I'm not married and I'm getting older (according to whose standard?) it is apparently incumbent upon people around me to rectify the situation. And rectify they've tried. My status as a single man seems to be more concerning to other people than it is to me. (Un)fortunately, I'm still single. C'mon people, I survived BYU single, I have resilience.

In these attempts at rectification, I've been on a number of blind dates as of late. Once word got out that I went on a blind date, it seemed that everyone had someone to line me up with. It might seem like an ideal situation for a bachelor such as me; everyone being described was the prettiest girl in the world, had the best sense of humor, was very down to earth and was super cool. Sounds like a good deal, right? Wrong.

We've now come to the very reason I banned blind dates for myself in the first place: friends lie. Maybe "lie" is too strong of a word, but how do you go back to a friend and tell him/her that your date didn't measure up to what you were led to believe? Or that you don't like their friend? Or that you thought their friend was boring? It's not a fun conversation. That's why I hate blind dates. I've met some very cool people through blind dating, but not once has anything truly "worked out". That's fine, but I detest going back to the instigator and saying, "I didn't like your friend" or "Your friend didn't like me." (The latter conversation means the date is having the former conversation.) Hate it.

However, I've come to realize that perhaps having a rule banning blind dates isn't the most practical thing for me to do. With that in mind, I've come up with a set of blind date rules, guidelines or things to consider before setting up a blind date. Following these rules/guidelines will let me allow blind dates to happen and hopefully make the process less painful.

  1. Just because I'm single and she's single doesn't mean we make a good match. If this is the only reason you want to set us up, please don't do it.
  2. Ensure that we have some commonalities (being LDS isn't enough).
    1. Sometimes, even without common interests a blind date can be arranged. An acceptable example would be, "She isn't really interested in sports, but she enjoys being active."
    2. I appreciate it when I date a girl who is in a similar situation as I am. That doesn't mean she has to be a graduate student, college graduate, full-time career woman, etc. but having something to build on is nice – being a grad student with significant career experience, an 18 year-old high school graduate is probably not the best match up for me.
  3. Don't lie about the other person. Brutal honesty is preferred. Not everyone is the smartest, coolest, most beautiful person in the world. I'm not such a person, I don't expect a date to be such. I like real people.
  4. Talk with both daters before giving a phone number out. I've called a date before and she was unaware that I would be calling; in fact, she didn't even know I existed. That was awkward, the date wasn't much better.
  5. If possible, provide a picture. Sounds shallow. Guess what? It is; I don't care.
  6. Understand that the date may not work out and that's okay. Don't be offended if one, or both, parties come back to you and say as much.
  7. If things are progressing, don't play junior high school games. You know, the kind where one party asks a mutual friend, "Does (s)he like me? Can you find out?" Once initial contact has been made, leave the daters alone to make their own way.
  8. Cold calling is uncomfortable for both parties. It can be difficult to start a conversation with a complete stranger with the end goal of asking her out, even if you both know it is coming. Try and arrange for the daters to meet at a party or other social gathering so they can meet and get to know each other and then decide if they want to go on a date.
    1. This set-up is my preferred way. If the girl knows that I'm the guy you want to set her up with, but is unaware that I know that as well, she doesn't feel rejected if I don't ask her out.
  9. Understand and respect me if I say I don't want to be set up. Blind dates take a lot of energy for me; even if your friend is the smartest, coolest, prettiest girl in the world, I may not be up for it. Don't push the issue. A begrudged blind date is not apt to be successful.
  10. If at first you don't succeed, "try, try again" isn't necessarily the rule. Multiple blind dates from the same source are acceptable, what is not acceptable is a personal mission to get me married. That's my job; I'll do it at some point.

There you have it folks. I'm considering making these into an application that will need to be filled out in triplicate to ensure that the setter-upper has given the date due consideration and is not just trying to play match-maker.

You know what, forget it - maybe I'll just try E-Harmony.


McGinnis Family said...

Wow! You've really thought this through and, obviously, you've had a lot of experience in the areas you've mentioned. I feel for you, seriously I do! It's gotta' suck to have EVERYONE thinking they owe it to you to set you up with everyone and anyone that is single & female!

cougartex said...

Since you brought it up, I have someone I'd like you to meet.....

Brian Was Here said...

I've found that when girls tried to set me up, it was always for the benefit of their female friend and never for me. Invariably, it was an overweight chick who was good at applying her makeup. Apparently, this is what girls mean when they describe another girl as "really cute and nice."

Guys tend to have better taste, but usually they know better than to meddle in another guy's affairs. Plus, we have more important things to do, such as watching TV and getting fast food.

Shannon said...

Wow, love the rules. And for the record, no more match-making for us. Promise.

Suzanne C Hansen said...

You've heard some of the drama I went through. . . leaving Utah did the trick for me, my sister, and a couple of friends in similar situations. . .maybe you should try it!! My last blind date before leaving Utah was with a 45 year old man who brought his youngest daughter who was 13 along!!! I was 28. He was really disappointed we couldn't go out again because I was moving!! Not me!!

BeatlesDiva said...

I feel you pain. I love the first rule. Just because two people are single and live in Utah, that doesn't make them a perfect match.

Good luck in the dating battle, I know it's one battle I've given up on.