I'm 29 years old and three weeks ago, I went on a blind date for the first time in my life. Fully blind dates seem like a relic of the early aughts — I feel like Carrie Bradshaw went on blind dates, and thus I expected to go on a lot of them when I moved to New York City. But I also expected to wear high heels on my commute, have brunch at the same restaurant every weekend with my friends, and go to clubs called "Bed" after getting broken up with on a Post-It note. (All of which I have yet to complete. SATC bucket list, here I come!)
To clarify what I mean by a "fully blind date," I mean that I had no intel about my date prior to meeting him other than his first name. No Tinder profile pictures, no non-sociopathic mutual friend who set us up, and no random string of words like "Tommy Google New York Chelsea 29" to Google (#meta!). I only had my date's first name because I agreed to be set up by Time Out New York's as part of "The Undateables" — a column in which two single New Yorkers are set up on a date, and then interviewed about how it went.
Yes, you heard me: I agreed to have a potentially awkward first date published all for all of New York and the internet to see.
While a date procured from a dating app might feel pretty blind — you have no idea what the person you're about to meet will sound like, smell like, or even look like based on a few grainy pictures — going on a date when you literally know nothing about a person except for their first name is rough. I was super nervous, and I don't usually get nervous before first dates.
After rescanning the Time Out email for the final details about where I would be meeting my FBD, I headed to one of the most bizarre choices for a first date ever — Dos Toros in Manhattan. (If you don't live in NYC, it's like Chipotle. There's a counter, but not tons of seating.) I had no idea who I was looking for, or if Dos Toros served drinks, and I came in hot, finagling my way past a throng of sweatpants-clad NYU students wondering if it was possible that my FBD decided to wear a "KALE" sweatshirt for our Sunday meet up.
Per my email instructions, I asked for "Jenna" or whomever Time Out told me to ask for at the counter upon arrival. The cashier pointed to a woman behind me, who was standing next to a man who looked to be roughly my age and was not in sweatpants. Cool, this must be my date. Maybe-Jenna introduced us, which was nice, but then she waited in line and ordered tacos with us (she was footing the bill). It was a bit weird to start a date off with a chaperone, but alas, this was not just any blind date.
Once we sat down to eat, I surprisingly found myself at ease. We asked each other the twenty questions such as "what's your job?" and "where do you live?" with genuine interest because we truly knew nothing about each other. And we actually had to actively listen to each others' answers because we had no dating profile conversation topics to go on.
The conversation was easy — talking to strangers is actually not all that hard, as it turns out. We quickly found out that it's a small world after all, because it turns out that my lovely editor at Elite Daily happens to be friends with my date, and was in fact that one who had encouraged him to try "Undateables." She had no idea I was also doing it. I had a genuinely nice time, and all my nerves about going on a FBD were for naught. (You can read more about how the date went here on Time Out New York.)
If you've never been on a truly blind date, I'd suggest you give it a go. Sometimes dating apps and the ability to Google a person prior to meeting them contribute to too many expectations on a first date — good or bad. I like that a blind date means that you can't have any preconceived notions about the person you are about to meet, and you can get to know them as if you ran into each other at a bar, or while trying to hail a cab in New York à la Carrie and Big. If nothing else, a blind date is a lovely throwback to simpler times. Try one!