Blind Dating 101

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Friday 8th October 2010
In this article
  • How to plan a blind date.
  • How to act on a blind date.
  • How to keep a good blind date going.

So you’ve never seen her before, but you’ve agreed to take her out. Relax, buddy, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Still, the horrifying experiences of the SharpMen who came before you can give you a few pointers on the dos and don’ts of dating blind. Check ‘em out:

Step One: Assessing the Situation. Chances are your blind date is a "set-up" — important information. You mother/cousin/boss/girlfriend/second-cousin-thrice-removed is sure that this woman is your soul mate. Regardless of whether this is true, the fact remains that you’re going into a situation where the way you act will be reported to people you know (as opposed to the faceless girlfriends of your date who will laugh about you after the drop-off). As such, think about what you plan to do and how you plan to act. Pull out your gentlemanly moves. Really. Besides looking like an ungrateful bonehead, failing to conduct yourself properly on a set-up will result in a set-up dry well, which, even if you want (because it’s your nosy mother who’s setting you up), may prevent you from exploiting more promising set-ups in the future. In other words, hedge your bets ‘cause you just never know.

Step Two: Planning the Date. Despite our best advice, there are still some aspiring SharpMen out there who refuse to plan their dates. They pick up the girl and then turn to her and ask, "So, whatchya wanna do?" Oblivious to the steam rising from her ears, they continue to drive or walk on, while the woman beside them thinks, "What a jackass, he might as well be out with his frat brothers!" Our position is that this form of lazy dating gets you nowhere, and will get you nowhere even faster on a blind date. Why? See above regarding our "be on your best behavior" dissertation. The bottom line is that blind dates have got to be given some thought, lest you look like an even bigger bonehead.

What kind of planning? By definition, blind dates require planning for an activity with someone you don’t know. As such, don’t plan anything too complicated. Rather than an entire day of apple-picking 20 miles from town (see Great Dates), plan several shorter activities closer to home. This way, if she turns out to be a neurotic freak, you can drop her off after the first activity, or go on to another, in the event she’s the gorilla of your dreams.

We also suggest making double reservations (where those are required) at two restaurants with different types of food and atmosphere. A lot of guys use this tactic to avoid taking a girl they find unattractive or boring to a pricey (or populated) joint. We suggest the two-restaurant plan because, frankly, it’s a blind date, and you don’t know her or her taste in food and/or noise tolerance. Just remember to cancel the reservation you won’t be using once you determine your ultimate destination. No need to become persona non grata at every place in town, right?

Next, plan two additional activities for the evening. These are plans with executions contingent on whether or not you can stand the sight of her that also give you the opportunity to (a) stretch out your time with her, and (b) give her the illusion that you are a fun guy.

For example, let’s say you pick her up and she’s a winner. After the entrée, suggest that you have dessert and coffee at another place nearby (You say: "Hey, have you even been to _____ ? They have the best desserts I’ve even had. Let’s go there for coffee." She thinks: "Mmm, I could have cheesecake, but, wait, my big butt . . . but hey, this guy is so spontaneous!"). On the other hand, if she turns out to be a whiner, you can have dessert and coffee at location one and then take her home. Then, if you have occasion to see that big butt under the better lighting afforded by location two and she suddenly seems like she’s not for you, you can take her home after coffee. Of course, if you’re into that sort of thing (SirMixALot), you can suggest yet another activity from your bag of tricks. We recommend your third activity be an interactive one, like a people-watching walk, skeet ball, or after-dark croquet or lawn bowling. Basically any corny activity featured in the musical interlude of the chick-cult-favorite movie "Valley Girl." They love that.

Step Three: The Actual Date. If you’ve agreed to start the evening at her place, be Sharp; actually go to the door to pick her up. Sure, you may end up meeting her mother, but you may also meet a hot roommate (and then, there’s always the hot mom scenario). Be prompt. When she comes out, smile and introduce yourself. Compliment her/her house/her hot mom. As you walk out to the car, ask her if she’s hungry. She is? Great. ("Wow, he cares about whether I’m hungry — what a nice guy.") Then ask her which food she’d prefer, option A or B. ("Oh my God, he’s so together, he made plans, and he’s not as conceited as I thought — he cares about my preferences. He likes a woman who thinks for herself!"). You’re doing great. Now, if you drive, get her door. In the car, don’t play the radio any louder then what is comfortable for conversation. Don’t change the stations unless she insists. If you take public transportation, pay her fare and allow her to enter the cab/train/bus before you.

Begin conversation by asking questions. Always a great first date move — even more ideal on a blind date because, well, you don’t know her. Ask about her neighborhood, her job, other restaurants where she’s eaten that are similar to the one where you’ll be going. Don’t ask about anything negative, nor couch your questions in a negative tone. No need to offend someone you just met, right? Don’t be lewd or use profane language. Answer the questions she poses, but don’t go on and on — try to save dissertations on your world views for date number two. Never talk about problems you’re having on any first date. Ditto regarding job problems, ex-girlfriends or anything else that’s negative. It’s a downer.

Step Four: More on the Dinner Part of the Date. When you arrive at the restaurant, check in and offer her a drink if there’s a wait for the table. When you’ve been seated and have had a chance to look at the menus, ask her what she’d like and suggest menu items you’ve had there before. When the server arrives, communicate your date’s choice first, making eye contact to ensure that you’ve got it right. This will give her the opportunity to ask for the entire entrée "on the side."

Offer wine or a cocktail, and if she declines, refrain from ordering alcohol for yourself. No matter how bad she is.

When the food arrives, use your knife and fork, watch for food flying out of your mouth as you speak with your mouth full (!) and don’t pick off of her plate. Do offer her some of your meal and, if she accepts, place a small portion on her bread plate.

See Step Two: Planning the Date for suggestions on dessert and coffee, and after-dinner activities.

Step Five: The Drop-Off. How was it? Awful? OK, keep your cool. Maintain pleasant conversation on the ride/walk back home. Even if the date has turned into a fight over Chinese foreign relations (and we know how that can get), take her all the way home. If you drive, get the car door and then walk her to the front door. If she runs out screaming, at least wait until you see that she’s gone inside before you take off. Believe it or not, women notice these things. If you take public transportation, even though it’s a hassle, accompany her home in the cab or on the train/bus all the way to her door. If you’ve got the only cab in Manhattan and it’s raining, you may stay in the cab and watch until she makes it to her door and is safely inside the lobby. Thank her for the evening. Really. OK, now go.

On the other hand, if the whole night was one big musical interlude from the movie Valley Girl, by all means, don’t stay out all night. Give her something to look forward to. As with the horror show date, take her home, all the way to her door. Once there, don’t linger. Smile warmly, thank her for a great evening and say goodbye. Don’t go for the kiss unless the date went remarkably well and she’s hovering one inch from your face in anticipation. Why? Remember, this is a set-up, a date by referral. Any misstep on your part embarrasses you and the person who went to the trouble of setting you up in the first place. Err on the side of caution, my friend, and you ensure that you get a second date with DreamGirl, or alternatively, another set-up from the person who introduced you to this winner.

This article last updated on Friday 8th October 2010
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