What are your feelings about blind dates? I have always been against them -- for myself, anyway. It's not like I don't agree with them, or think that nothing good can come out of them. But for me, I never wanted to go on a blind date.
But life doesn't always go as you plan. And so I did go on a blind date...once. Grab a drink and some munchies, curl up in a chair and read on to hear all about it...
Ten years ago, I was single and living in an apartment in The City with my 3 roommates. One of my roommates -- hmmm...let's call her Kathy -- decided that for my birthday one year, we were going to go out and do something special; just her and I. So we picked an evening, wrote "An & Kathy's Special Evening" on the calendar, and made plans to go to 'our' place -- DQ -- for ice cream.
As the day came nearer, we were talking about getting all gussied up for our night out, and Kathy was very insistent that I should wear my grey sweater vest (yes, I wore sweater vests -- just call me Chandler-ette). So I did, not even giving any thought as to why she was so determined that I wear that particular item of clothing.
So finally we are all dolled up and ready to go. We hopped into her little white car and we started driving in the direction of our nearby Dairy Queen. But before we got there, she made a surprise turn and we ended up pulling into the parking lot of an Earl's restaurant.
Huh, I thought, as Kathy was chatting my ear off to not let me get a word in edge-wise. This is odd. I wonder why we're going here.
I could sort of see a gleam in her eye and I knew she was up to something, but I couldn't figure out what it was.
She tried parking her car in a very tight parking spot, but was having difficulties (or so she said), so she suggested that I get out first; that way she wouldn't have to worry about leaving room on my side for me to get out.
Naive as I am, I obliged without a second thought, and hopped out of the car. She rolled open the passenger window, leaned over and handed me a note and then said "Have fun!" and drove away.
Yup. That's right. She just drove away and left me in the middle of the restaurant parking lot in the middle of the coldest month of the year.
Now I was really curious. Did she plan a surprise party for me? If I walked into the restaurant, would there be a table of my friends waiting to celebrate my birthday with me? But wait -- if that was the plan, why did she leave? Why wouldn't she be a part of the celebration?
Well, I had no other choice but to walk into the restaurant and see what was waiting for me. So I opened the door and cautiously walked in, looking in all directions to see if I could see someone familiar.
I did a double-take as my eyes landed on someone that I did indeed know. It was a guy I had gone to high school with. Although he was at least 3 years younger than me, and -- get this -- I had been his youth sponsor up until that year, as he had since graduated from high school.
And Kathy didn't even know this guy...let's call him Chris. So I was very confused as to why he was there, and what the heck was going on. Chris cautiously approached me and said "Are you meeting someone?" to which I replied, "I have no idea what's going on. Are you meeting someone?" And that's when he told me that he was on a blind date and that he was to look for someone wearing a grey vest.
And then it all clicked. I had been set up -- on a blind date!! What a nightmare! With a guy barely out of high school. Granted, I was probably only 20 years old myself -- but still. I had been his youth sponsor!
And how did Kathy even know him?? What was going on???
As we sat down to dinner -- and a very awkward conversation -- the pieces started to fall into place. See, Kathy was good friends with the couple who were the main youth leaaders that I worked with. And apparatly Kathy had wanted to set me up with someone, and they suggested Chris. At least he knew he was going on a blind date...I had been completely side-blinded.
It was one of the most awkward evenings of my life, and it couldn't have gone by any slower. After the meal he asked if we should go see a movie or something, and I said that I rather just wanted to go home. I think he understood how awkward I was, and especially knowing that I had been tricked into it.
So he paid for dinner (I had vowed to myself that if I had to pay for it, Kathy was going to pay me back every penny!) and drove me home. I stormed into my apartment, fuming mad. Luckily for her, Kathy had been smart enough to make herself scarce that evening so she was not around to face my fresh wrath. Instead, I vented and bawled my eyes out to my other roommate and her fiance as they sympathized with my situation (but probably found it slightly amusing too).
I was in bed before Kathy got home that night, and I left for work the next morning before she was up. But one of my roommates must've told her my reaction to her sneaky little plan, 'cause she called me at work with extreme regret in her voice. She thought she was doing something fun; she had trusted her friends that they were making a good suggestion.
I held a grudge for a little while -- and made her grovel for my forgiveness -- but after awhile, I forgave her...with strict rules that she n-e-v-e-r set me up on a blind date again -- at least not without telling me about it first!
I can still feel the confusion, shock, embarrassment and awkwardness of that evening, even a whole decade later -- but at least now I can laugh about it. Sometimes that's all you can do.