Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blind Dates

The other night I went to a meeting of a neighborhood historical preservation group. I got to the bar/restaurant and looked for the one person I knew. He wasn't there, so I wandered the lobby a bit. On my third pass a man standing close to the restaurant said "you might be looking for me". I was amused because it was obvious that he was waiting for a blind date, but I smiled and asked "are you with the Western Neighborhoods Project?" He said "no" and looked a little sad. The way things are going lately it was flattering that someone hoped I was his date. That is, until I realized he observed me for several minutes before deciding that it wouldn't be a horrible thing if I was his date.

I wish I had said 'good luck' or something, it takes a lot of nerve to go on a blind date. I have only gone on one, well technically. It was a blind double-date when I was about eighteen. My co-worker was one of those types who was so happy with her boyfriend that she wanted everyone else to be matched up, too. She suggested that we go on a double-date with a friend of theirs. I asked a bit about him and reluctantly agreed. I asked what he looked like, shallow, I know, and she said "not classically handsome". Funny the details you remember over twenty years later.

My friends picked my up and we went to the blind date's house. Met his mother and chit-chatted. We went to his room and the red flags started waving like crazy. His room was plastered with photos of Morgan Fairchild. Plastered. Talk about an insecurity complex. I looked nothing like her. Blonde? No. Blue-eyed? No. Petite yet busty? No. Mature? No. If this was his dream woman, why would I bother trying to impress him? I had my share of posters hanging in my room, Leif Garret, Shawn Cassidy, Andy Gibb, etc. but I wasn't fixated on one person.

Fast forward to later that evening parked at Twin Peaks. My friends were in the backseat doing what people do back there. I was in the front seat, miserable, with a person I didn't like. I don't remember why I didn't like him, but I didn't. There was a big bottle of beer. I was never one to drink in high-school, but I did partake that evening, when I realized it kind of blurred the misery. I believe we went and shined flashlights in the backseats of other cars. There was some mooning of passing vehicles as well. Mercifully the evening ended and they took me home. My date escorted to me room and put me in bed fully clothed. He proceeded to chastise me for letting him in the house because he could have taken advantage of me. My friends were waiting outside so it didn't cross my mind to be afraid. And even though I didn't like him, I didn't think he was a bad person to be feared. I didn't have the words or experience back then to articulate my feelings about that statement.

I didn't invite him in for anything, and he knew that. I'm glad he didn't attack me, but should I be thanking him? No. The crazy thing is I went out with him again, alone. I don't remember much about it other than a very vivid memory of waiting for the streetcar and wishing the evening was over. Never saw him again.

I let my friend set me up again, this time with a co-worker who I was interested in. On our first date he suggested I change my hair style. On another date, at the drive-in, he was appalled that I wanted a sip of beer, since I was underage. He had a Bronco, which has bucket seats. We were watching the movie and all of a sudden he was in my seat. I asked him if he knew beforehand that we would both fit. He admitted that he did have practice jumping into the seat like that. A while later he asked me if I would take my shirt off, claiming no one would see me since we were in a truck. Riiiight. I guess he felt that there was no legal age for toplessness, so it was okay. I actually liked him and we had some fun dates. He had a truck and liked country music, a rarity in San Francisco. But he just wasn't happy with me. He liked me because I was "nice girl" but was also frustrated that I was "nice".

It turned out that he was in love with an "older woman" who lived somewhere up north. They would meet halfway and go on romantic camping trips. Bye-bye. At least he finally told me, so I realized the problem was not me, just that he wanted me to be this other person.

Many years later when I was divorced I answered a couple personal ads just for fun. I met the first guy at the ice skating rink at the Embarcadero. As soon as I saw the leather patches on his tweed coat I was turned off. He was equally unimpressed.

The second one was too good to be true. We were both vegetarians, had common interests, shared the same birthday, and it turned out we worked for the same company. We talked for hours on the phone, and then went to lunch. We had too much in common. It was like, why bother asking questions, we knew the answer, there was no mystery. I would have liked to be friends with him, but he was romantically interested in me, so that didn't work out.

My final attempt at a blind date was set up by a co-worker. She had a classmate who would be perfect for me. I was very reluctant, but was in a phase where I was trying to be less shy, and forced myself to never turn down a social invitation. It was to be dinner with my co-worker and her boyfriend at their house. I got there early and helped cook. They guy was coming from Marin and called to say he was running late. I was nervous and wished he would just get there. A couple more calls and he said he wasn't coming.

I was pissed off and hurt. The only thing worse than having a blind date ditch you is having to continue the evening with a happy couple. The boyfriend was none to happy that my co-worker had tried to play matchmaker, resulting in a miserable woman disrupting his X-Files night. Looking back it is so silly to feel rejected by someone I never met. He knew next to nothing about me or what I looked like. He just chickened our or something. But at the time it didn't feel that way. I emailed him the next day and told him off. I don't remember his response. Who knows what the story was.

And that was the end of my blind-dating career.

No comments: