After work on Wednesday, I headed down to Panera to grab dinner for the family. While standing in line waiting to order, I noticed a fairly attractive young woman standing about six feet behind me. When I turned around again, I saw she had edged a little closer and was looking right at me. Then, while still making eye contact, she took another step forward.
\”Uhhhh… hi,\” I said.
She smiled and said hi, and leaned forward a little. This seemed a little strange, as this is not the normal effect I have on women that have a full set of teeth. Generally, they manufacture some reason to pretend they didn\’t see me – like sawing off their foot.
Just then, the counter cleared, and I was ready to order. I ordered the food, then headed over to the other end of the restaurant to pick it up. I saw the girl order, then walk very slowly to a table, scoping out the restaurant. After a couple of minutes, a guy with brown hair walked over to her table. She got up, and they shook hands, as if they were just meeting. Then it hit me:
She thought I was her blind date.
Fortunately for her, I was not. I imagine she was relieved, as well. A small part of me wished that, had I known what was going on, I would have played along for a little bit. But after my ruse was exposed, I imagine it would have gotten uncomfortable.
I started to think about how different blind dating is these days, with the internet and all. I mean, does anyone go on a date anymore where they haven\’t at least seen a picture of the person first? It so happens that this guy looked a lot like me (or I, him), so I can see where she might have confused us. (Although on my blind dates, I always wore bright orange arm floaties and a Seattle Seahawks football helmet, to make sure the girl could spot me immediately. There generally weren\’t many second dates.)
But it seems that some of the best stories people carry throughout their lives are tales of blind dates gone horribly wrong. The ones where a friend of yours says she knows this really nice, funny girl that looks like Uma Thurman, and she actually looks more like Bob Uecker. (For some reason, at least in the mid \’90s, any time a girl wanted to set you up with a strange looking friend, they always said she looked like Uma Thurman, merely because she manages to be both hot and weird looking.)*
Now, with the internet, potential suitors can be fully vetted and examined prior to meeting in person – although, admittedly, any time someone posts a picture of themselves online, you should probably mentally slap on about 15 pounds to estimate what they really look like.
But sadly, the tales of crazy blind dates may be going the way of fondue and wife swapping. This is more disturbing than the disappearance of the newspaper industry. Everyone needs to experience a truly apocalyptic first date to tell all their friends about. Without these, people would be forced to sit around and tell stories about how they got their scars. (I have a theory that if more than 3 people are locked in a room for more than 2 hours, the conversation inevitably turns to drinking stories and scar stories – and sometimes, they\’re the same story. I have yet to be proven wrong.)
Oh, and since I know you\’ve been wondering: The sandwich was delicious.
*Side note – After college, I moved to Chicago and stayed with my friend The Gooch. We went to a bar one night, and I actually did meet a girl who looked like Uma Thurman – and in a good way. She was a law student at some school there. She called me a few days later, and asked me if I wanted to go have coffee. My answer? \”Well, I don\’t drink coffee.\”