Do you believe in love at first sight? As a social experiment, The Daily Trojan Editorial Board set up two people on a blind date to see what would happen. To some, college is a time for experimenting and exploring options. For others, it’s the best time to go looking for their potential spouse. Blind dates are tricky — things can get messy if expectations aren’t clearly addressed or if there are no sparks in the beginning. There are always two sides to a story. Read on to find out what happened.
My Sunday began like any other. I woke up, came into the office and was fully prepared to kick back and watch the Super Bowl with my friends afterward. Somehow though, while I was at work, I ended up agreeing instead to get set up on a blind date and then write an article about the experience.
I thought to myself, “That’s no big deal, I can find some time to fit this into my schedule,” only to end up at Ground Zero at 10 p.m. later that night for the sake of this social experiment. To be honest, the whole scenario was kind of rushed in order to make things happen before the story’s Wednesday deadline. I had an interview beforehand and an essay to complete afterward, so everything had to be more truncated than I would normally do things.
I wasn’t given any details at all before I met her, and I didn’t even know what she looked like, which made finding her at Ground Zero at 10 o’clock at night a bit of a challenge. But on the flip side, at least I didn’t go into it with any preconceived notions about what she would be like.
Neither of us had thought about Ground Zero actually closing either, so when we both got there we had to meander around campus for a little bit before finally finding a Starbucks to sit down at and have a conversation.
Which is what I would refer to the night as more than anything else: a pleasant conversation, rather than a date. We ended up having a pretty good amount in common. We were both transfer students, were both very involved in a wide variety of organizations on campus and had pretty similar mentalities for approaching college as well as life. She even knew my roommate, and she almost texted him beforehand. But after walking down Figueroa before finally parting ways, I didn’t feel like a spark had generated. She was super nice, and it wasn’t the painfully awkward experience that most people think of when they hear the words “blind date,” but the whole thing just didn’t click for me.
At the end of the day, I think the problem with this whole experiment was that I went into this thing with the mindset that this was going to somehow have to turn into a story, and as a result I never took the “date” part of the equation very seriously. Even though this girl was pretty and nice, we obviously both had ulterior motives for being there other than legitimately trying to get to know each other.
Like most things, for a date to be successful both people have to want to make it work. Relationships take time, commitment and effort, and if that effort isn’t apparent, then what’s the point of even moving onward? I was mainly there because I had a job to do and I was less interested in forging an emotional connection, so it didn’t happen.
It also didn’t help that for most of the night, my mind was in “damage control” mode. Taking risks and leaps of faith have resulted in some of the most successful dates I’ve been on. But because any chance I took that didn’t pay off was going to be immortalized in print, I instead took the route of playing it as safe as possible. I wasn’t trying to make something happen, I was trying to get through the whole thing without embarrassing myself.
Overall, I would say that if someone asks you about going on a blind date or anything of that nature, think about why you want to be there. Don’t go because someone asks you, go because you want to, because at the end of the day that’s the only way that you will ever end up being successful.
My impression of a blind date has always been associated with women and men in their mid-30s who are so unlucky in finding a partner that their friends have to step up and coax. So when my friend presented me with this opportunity, I immediately doubted my charm, speculating why I would need a blind date at the age of 19. Regardless, I decided to give it a chance to see what it has to offer.
Hours before the date, which was scheduled to be at 10 p.m., my mind was imaginatively occupied by materialistic thoughts of my date, filtering through possible images of him characterized with idealistic traits. Could this be the day I find my future husband? I constantly reimagined my scenario to resemble that of a happily-ever-after ending of a soap opera, completely devoid of reality. After a few attempts of digging information about my date out of my friend, I realized the necessity of embracing the whole meaning behind a “blind date,” that it is the element of surprise that makes it concept to be so mysterious yet thrilling.
I provided a sufficient hour for myself to ensure I was presentable. After curling my short hair, applying a thick layer of false lashes and layering a rosy shade of blush and lipstick, I accentuated my effervescence through a sweet scent of Miss Dior perfume. After bombarding my room into a post-atomic horror through multiple fits of stylish outfit, I finally departed wearing an everyday outfit composed of a grey sweater and a pair of loose pants, reminding myself of the casualness of the date.
It was 9:55pm. Within the remaining five minutes, my heart rate quickened, creating a sense of exhilaration mixed with anxiety that quickly filled my lungs. I started running, as I was both slightly late and I wanted relief from the nervousness building up. It was then we crossed paths, with him catching me mid-air with my mouth open gasping for air, hair flowing free from gravity‘s restraint and eyes wide open as if I were being chased by a horde of zombies. And there, my first impression went right down the drain.
He said, breaking the silence, “Erika’s friend?”
“Yes! Hello,” I said, out of breath.
We then formally introduced each other. He had a distinctly strong and firm handshake, a little too much actually, which made me feel as if he was attempting to shake my hand off my shoulder.
Though we verbally exchanged names, I realized minutes later that I did not actually retain his name due to how nervous I was.
It turns out that the café we were supposed to have our date at was closed, so we decided to grab some coffee at the Starbucks on Figueroa Street. As we were walking in and out of the shades of street lights, I took discontinuous gazes at his features.
He was very tall and was wearing all black. His chiseled face defined by a slightly pointed chin and a sturdy jaw line. His light brown hair was complemented with a hint of curliness. His deep aqua blue eyes conveyed a sense of sincerity, sitting below his evenly trimmed eyebrows. He carried himself in steady footsteps and spoke in a very mature and steadfast way, exuding a sense of certitude that was palpable.
We made a stop at Starbucks, and with coffee in presence, we started talking about our favorite types of coffee, which then led to discussing about the necessity of coffee in our lives, as we found out that we are both very prone to going to sleep late and rising early due to our busy schedules.
We were both transfer students, with the same reasons for transferring, as we felt like we weren’t a good fit of the slow, peaceful locations of our first alma mater. We both wish to live in a fast-paced environment, with a passion to explore new environments. We talked about the places we went and recommended some to each other with reasons why we should explore there. Every once in a while I turn and made contact with his blue eyes as they gave off a sense of approval and genuineness. Deep inside those eyes I could sense a strong sense of idealism and individuality, a whole new realm I’m completely foreign to yet adored.
It was very interesting to compare his life with mine, with many similarities yet were contrasted by two different realms of study as he was a creative writer and I was a business student.
We ended our conversation upon finishing our coffees. I said my goodbyes with no romantic feelings attached whatsoever, but what I felt that I gained more from this experience than I expected. We often portray the end result of a date as either a success or a failure contingent on the ending relationship resulting between two people. But I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. We often go into a date knowing who the other person is and the exact traits and personality that we looked for, which were often the reasons that led to a date. But being on a blind date allows yourself to be exposed to unpredictable yet diverse sets of perspectives, allowing you to really open your eyes to see that there is far more just than checking off the “ideal personality and traits” list for compatibility. I am grateful to my friend for setting this date up to unblind me from my restricted ideal traits of a date, letting me realize that there is far more to explore, far more to learn about myself, and far more to putting on that extra blush to make myself more physically appealing.
Later that night, I was reminded of his name again and went to sleep soundly.