I returned from China, a lone man in the world. This, I decided, needed to change. But having lived in the remotest of locations for the last semester, I knew not where to start.
The answer was the first blind date of my life. Sister Missionary was, appropriately enough, a sister missionary. She had recently served as a missionary in my ward in NY, and my parents were smitten with her. They had met her just before she was to finish her mission, return home, then return to BYU. They figured, she’s single, I was single, and we would be in the same geographic location. A match made in heaven. I was dubious. Little did I know that 3 years later this would pretty much become the extent of my dating requirements.
So I returned from China, she returned from Japan (her home) and we met at BYU. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to date someone right off their mission, but it’s hard. She thought I was evil, which is more or less true. My charming wordplay didn’t translate across the language barrier, so no help there. So after a couple dates of discussing our mutual love of Japanese things, and our lack of love for each other, that died.
Back to square one. Since Sister Missionary hadn’t panned out, I decided to try Sister Missionary #2. SM#2 was a sister missionary from my mission. Yes, dating a girl from my mission, kind of skeazy. Dating a girl when I was her District Leader, skeazier. Oh well. I call her up. We chit-chat for ten minutes or so. How’s so-and-so? How’s the major going?
Me: Remember that time at Llamafest . . .
SM#2: I’m married.
Oh, SM#2, I knew there was a reason I liked you. Not because she’s married. Because she cut to the chase. Not in the best way imaginable, but she read between the lines and did what needed to be done.
SM#2: . . . but I’ve got a girl I want you to date.
The date went horribly. SM#2 and I had known each other for 4 years. She’d known her husband for 4 months. Well, a bit longer than that, but significantly less than 4 years. She and I could talk for hours. My date and I could talk for minutes. Well, a minute. I’m sure she’s married with 8 kids by now, but it was pretty clear within that first stunted minute of conversation that I wasn’t going to be the father. We went to the Work and the Glory movie because my date wanted to see it. It was more interesting than she was. Yep, that’s how bad the evening was.
Two blind dates in two weeks. Never one before, never one again. I haven’t sworn off them, I’ve just never been offered another. It could be because I appear ungrateful for the two I’ve gone on. Not true. I’m glad the matchmakers made the effort, and the girls gave them a try. They just didn’t work. My blind date success rate is only slightly lower than my normal date success rate. A more likely cause of my lack of blind dates is that I tend not to talk to my married friends. I usually talk to singles, and single folk are much less prone to set up blind dates than married folk. Single folk realize that being with another warm body isn’t inherently better than being alone. And I’m not knocking you married folks’ matchmaking efforts per se. Yes, I think your married rapture tends to cause you to oversimplify relationship requirements (a newly engaged acquaintance suggests I date every girl he meets. Literally. Every XX we come across.) but I still appreciate the effort.
My other single friends get set up on blind dates fairly regularly. Why don’t I? Well, probably for the reasons mentioned above. Also because I’m a tough match. Quite a few people have told me I’m the weirdest person they’ve ever met. How do you match that? Probably with the second weirdest person they’ve ever met. And I already know those people, because I go to the Singles Ward too. When I’ve discussed matchmaking, people always seem to tell me that “Oh, you don’t need help Chris.” I’m glad that my charming wordplay and superb confidence have succeeded in fooling the world.
No, I haven’t sworn off blind dates. I like my dates like I like my movies: really bad or really good. Anywhere in the middle is pretty boring. But you can’t intentionally set yourself up on bad dates, because that’s just mean to the girl. So blind dates are great; although there’s a lower chance of them turning out great, there’s a greater chance of them turning out horribly. And then you have things to write about on your blog.