Friday, September 20, 2013

Theory 18: Blind dates are the best dates EVER!

One beautiful spring day in 1997, I was performing off Broadway—off Broadway Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee—as a substitute teller at the Halls Branch of AmSouth Bank. I stood in a dusty, paper-littered stable of tellers wearing my skirt suit and pantyhose. I counted, keyed, and stamped my way through an ordinary day as a young banker until the stars aligned and one conversation with a co-worker change the course of humanity forever. My buddy “Luisa Banera Caliente” looked over her teller stall wall and said, “I know the perfect guy for you. Want me to fix you up?”

I said, “Sure, why not?”

Romance: I needed it. Halls Had It!

I knew Tall Child was cute because Luisa Banera Caliente sent me a softball team picture through inter-office mail. I’d never dated an athlete, so when I saw his lean form outfitted in red and gray stripes, I was intrigued. Tall Child and I met for dinner at La Paz. He brought married friends for backup in case I was a “dud.” Well, I wasn’t! Especially after two margaritas. The rest is history. Every year on our anniversary I think about that chance assignment with Luisa!

Sharky and the Gnome should write her thank-you notes for their very existence!

Set a course for adventure,
your mind on a new romance.

Blind dates come in different packages. Let’s define the types.

1. BlindFolded: You've never met, never seen each other. It's a total word-of-mouth situation. There is no conversation before hand

2. BlindOnLine: Caveat - You think you saw a picture and had a “conversation” but that bodybuilding, thoracic surgeon with no children, no living parents, and houses on two continents might really be your dry cleaner's teenage son or, teachers, one of your students. Watch out! Type cautiously. Under promise and over deliver!
Blessing– People meet great people online and find true love and happiness (thus the plethora of sites).

3. BlindFoldedHostageSituation: You are invited as a third wheel to a party so you can meet another third wheel of the opposite sex who is “perfect for you.” Stay off the spinach puffs. You could meet your future husband at your neighbor’s 5-year-old’s birthday party at Laser Quest. Wear stripes and deodorant and roll-on to romance, third wheel!

My buddy Sweater Vest Romeo says, “Blind dates are the best because they can’t see what you are doing to them.”

I loved blind dates because my friends and relatives screened the boys (I hoped) first. Basically, the boys were pre-qualified. Also, I could be completely myself and have nothing to lose. There was no year-long crush to build up my nerves. There was no miserable love-sick stomach ache to battle. There was nothing at stake. If he didn’t like me, I could just say, “What an idiot” or “I didn’t like him” or “He doesn’t even know me” or “He probably didn’t call me because he probably fell into a sinkhole.” There are lots of limestone sinkholes in Tennessee.

So, when can I pick you up?

Those of us who do meet on blind dates, fall madly in love and live, eh, happily ever after become champions of matchmaking. After my and Tall Child’s success story, I felt compelled to pay it forward. After a handful of awkward failed attempts, I struck gold with a match between my dear friend Mint Julep and one of Jeff’s oldest buddies. A whirlwind courtship ensued and now they live fairytale style with two beautiful daughters in a stately home atop a beautiful lawn overlooking the Tennessee River. What if one of their daughters grows up to be the scientist who discovers the cure to something impossible to cure? All because my romantic engineering!

My cousin Roscoe was on the TV show “Blind Date.” He’s a natural entertainer (should be a game show host) and his very presence soaks up the room. So, he played up his role on MTV with comic passion and flair. Roscoe from Tennessee and the strange girl from California enjoyed massages, wine tasting, and limo rides near Los Angeles. He admitted to me that he kind of liked the girl, but sensed the feeling wasn’t mutual. So, when the show’s host asked Roscoe, “Now that your blind date with [California Girl] is over, what do you have to say?”

Roscoe answered—like most young men would (as they are in constant fear of rejection, especially on national TV)—to the negative. But, in true Roscoe rare form, he knew this had to be “good TV” so he replied, “I think she should make like Michael Jackson and beat it.”

I love to poll my freshmen students. Yesterday, I instructed them, “I’m going to say a phrase. I want you to say the first words that come to mind when you hear the phrase. Ready? Blind date.”

Female students’ responses:
Not safe
Don’t find a date on Craig’s List.
Maybe if he went to band camp he’d be safe.
Be late and check him out from a distance. Then you can still make a run for it.
Hey! That’s how my parents met.

Male students’ responses:
Mysterious lover.
Only if I hear about her from a friend I trust.
Bad idea
What if she is Amish?
I went on a blind texting date. (Huh?)
Act like you are not yourself.
Yeah! You can change your accent with every sentence.
Yeah, be all city-folk then all country and say, “Dad gum!”
Be careful. You don’t want to get “catfished.”

Friends, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain with a great blind date! The course of humanity may be changed in an instant when a friend or coworker casually says, “I know the perfect guy/girl for you.” Slap on some lipstick/cologne and dream big, as in big romance, as in big love. Speaking of big love, that reminds me of a theory my neighbor friend “Fancy” and I share—
See you next post! Until then, think outside the barn.

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Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

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Just thinking outside the barn...

Just thinking outside the barn...