Blind date etiquette needs some workarounds. My grandma once tried to set me up with her grandma friend’s “perfect” grandchild. I—being the shallow twenty-some-year-old—refused to meet any man whose appearance was a mystery. So, my grandma—to beat me to the punch—borrowed a portrait (no joke, a larger-than-large framed photograph) of this guy to try to sell her “product”. I made her return the photograph, along with her promise that this guy is “just my type”. But, it got me thinking—if a superficial photo judgment prior to the date isn’t an option (although, in this Facebook-aged society, I can’t fathom such a thing), how do you deal when you show up to face an ugly duckling you can’t wait to duck from?
First, make sure the meeting spot has a quick escape route (coffee shops and wine bars work best—the less food the place offers, the easier it is to drink and run). Of course, if you schedule the date in a quiet, non-busy location, he may be hard to miss—the one and only eager man pacing back and forth and incessantly checking his watch or cell phone. If, in that moment, you’re already itching to get away, do. No harm, no foul if he doesn’t see you coming. The courtesy of a text during the U-turn, with a white lie excuse for your last-minute ditch, may be evil but just enough to save this guy from spending any more time being stood up.
If you’re meeting in a crowd-swarming space, take a deep breath and hope that the stranger you lock eyes with and your blind date are one and the same (long shot). On the other hand, expectations can’t be that high (that’s why the term has the word “blind” in it), so there is always a chance to be pleasantly surprised. And, even if the surprise isn’t pleasant, keep your composure. Keep conversation light, and make sure to cue your emergency contact (you did coin a signal phrase with your BFF for the get-out-of-jail-free card, yes?) Once she calls, feign shock at the voice on the other end telling you to get home ASAP. Most importantly, when you get up to leave, don’t offer to make it up to him—he’ll hold you to it. Finish with a “nice to meet you” pleasantry, and never look back. Oh, who am I kidding? Women, for some reason, have the hardest time letting a guy down easy—it’s that evil nurturing side effect that makes us want to preserve people’s feelings. But, ignoring the follow-up calls and deleting the slew of text messages isn’t as rewarding as bluntly requesting he find love elsewhere.
Let’s face it, although blind dates are rarely fun and often disappointing, they always make for good stories to recall and to retell. If you can look past the immediate horror, thank your loved ones for the entertainment.
Vicky fills the shoes of local Carrie Bradshaw in CandiDates, a blog about her own quest to explore the intricacies of relationships. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, she has made Denver her home and playground. A writer and copy editor for 303 Magazine by day, Vicky spends her nights pursuing her passion of ballroom dance.