There’s a fine line between a unique date idea and an uncomfortable, over-the-top experience. Last week, my date crossed this line by taking our “blind date” extremely literally. Dining in the dark is an acceptable idea for couples who’ve been together for months, but doing it on a first date is a terrible idea.
- I only got a short glimpse of his face before we were immersed in total darkness. I can’t stress enough how terrible this is for a first date. I like getting lost in someone’s eyes, not considering clawing out my own in a panic-induced episode. We were led, conga line style, to our seats. I wasn’t even 100% sure that they sat me across from the correct date. At that moment, I came up with a new dating rule: I will not go on a first date that requires me to sign a waiver. Period. End of story.
- I wondered if he had something to hide. I had a glimpse of his face, so I know that he wasn’t hiding three noses or a mole the size of his face. Maybe he chewed with his mouth open or had a rare form of Tourette syndrome causing him to pick his nose every three seconds. Did he not want me to study his face so that I couldn’t pick him out in a police line-up after he attempted to murder me that night?
- The usual first date fears were magnified. I’m clumsy when I have both eyes in use. If I’d known that we’d be dining in the dark, I would’ve worn flats and a much looser dress. I’ve had dates where I’ve literally tripped and fallen on my face in a restaurant full of people. How was I supposed to walk like a normal human and not stab myself in the eye with my own fork? At least I knew that if it happened, he wouldn’t see it.
- I felt something new and it wasn’t good—it was claustrophobia. The waiter explained with giddy laughter that someone freaks out and asks to leave at least once a week. Without knowing the distance to the ceiling, the walls, or any windows, did I just discover claustrophobia that was dormant in my psyche for 30 years? Would he notice if I slipped away from the table and ran down the block in my stilettos? I was starting to panic and the temperature of the room felt as if it was inching up to the mid-’90s. I rubbed my eyes more than I care to admit, desperate to catch a glimmer of light. So that’s what it feels like to be in solitary confinement.
- Flirting is damn near impossible in the dark. I’ve mastered the hair flip. I’ve worked tirelessly at performing a wink that doesn’t look like a seizure. All of these skills were wasted in the dark. I had to learn to pick up on cues from his voice alone, which wasn’t easy. I wasn’t even certain that I WANTED to flirt with this guy. I know that looks aren’t everything, but they’re definitely a determining factor in deciding who to date.
- It appealed to my senses, but not the good ones. It is said that without one sense, the others are heightened. When the food arrived, I smelled the B.O. of my server. When my date reached for my hand, I jumped in terror. Going in for the first bite of food was a little like being a contestant on Fear Factor. Would it be chicken or a human ear?
- We kissed after dinner… purely out of relief that it was over. When I finally stepped out into the lights and my eyes adjusted, I felt like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Instead of kissing the ground that I was finally able to see, I kissed his face. It was a pretty great kiss actually, but unfortunately, none that followed with him lived up to it.
- He managed to land a second date that same evening. Maybe this was part of his plan all along. High on relief, we were giddy with laughter as we walked down the street on the way to a bar. The bartender offered us menus, we locked eyes and shouted “YES” at the same time. Most of my attempts to get the fork to my mouth were unsuccessful and when I actually did, 90% of the time there was no food on it. We couldn’t wait to devour food that we could actually see.
- It was all downhill from there. We went on a couple dates after that, but I would have been better off being courted by a blank wall. Without the adrenaline from the sheer terror of dining in the dark, there was no spark between us. There wasn’t even a flicker. Unless your plan is to trick someone into dating you, find a lamp to eat under.