The Extinction of the Blind Date

I recently turned 24 years old. According to my brother, I'm officially in my mid-twenties. And now that I'm no longer "just out of college," I've realized that certain things change as you get older. You can no longer go out every night of the week because you have responsibilities. You have to start eating healthy and exercising if you want to fit into your favorite jeans. And, you start dating more seriously. Or at least, my friends do. I used to be in the majority of my friend group for being single. But somehow over the past year, everyone has coupled off. I'm now in the very small minority. But I'm ok with it.

I love being single. It's fun. There's something exciting about not knowing what will happen next: Is he going to kiss me? Is he going to text me tomorrow? Will I see him again? But of course, with the fun comes the games: Why hasn't he texted me yet? Should I tell him what I'm doing tonight? He texted me... but it's 1:30 AM. What does that mean?

I think it's the games portion of the single life that starts to annoy my non-single friends. So, they've started setting me up on dates. Normally, I would pass. I don't like being set up. It's awkward and I'm not a desperate, pathetic loser over here. But, I figured I had nothing to lose. I might even get some funny stories out of it. So I agreed.

The first set up was a double date: my friend, the guy she was seeing, his friend and me. Before the big night, I was told his name and his age. He was described to me as a young Bruce Willis, aka, bald. Then, my friend told me to send her a picture of myself. Apparently Baldy is picky. It was a double date -- it's not like we wouldn't have known how to find each other.

In exchange for sending a picture of myself, I got a picture of him. There he was, young Bruce Willis wearing a baseball hat. Now listen, Bruce Jr. wasn't hideous. There were no major scars or deformities on his face, his eyes were the same size and he wasn't over 250 pounds. For all intents and purposes, he wasn't bad looking. But, the moment I saw his picture, I knew nothing would ever happen between us.

So, on the night of our double date, I already had my expectations set very low. I tried to keep an open mind, but I had already made my decision. I knew I didn't want to go out with him again. The date was fine. He was friendly, nice and smart. I would highly recommend him to someone else. He just wasn't for me. And I decided this before we even met.

The second blind date of mine went a little bit differently. It started off with a friend telling me I would hit it off with his friend. I rolled my eyes, not taking him seriously but he insisted. He took my phone and followed his friend on Instagram from my account. I laughed and didn't think much of it.

The next day, I remembered what had happened so I thought I would amuse myself by looking at this kid, who I'd supposedly like. I couldn't wait to see what he looked like. I bet he didn't shower. I figured he was the type of guy that would fist pump in clubs. Or even better, he was going to be a club promoter. With gel in his hair. I just knew it. So I went onto his Instagram, eager to see the type of guy my friend thought would be good for me. But to my surprise, he was absolutely adorable. From his pictures, it seemed as though we would get along perfectly. I could hear the wedding bells already. I had to meet him.

Numbers were exchanged and he texted me. We started to talk... well, text. I'm not sure that there was an instant connection but I still held out hope. I mean, he was adorable and perfect for me based off of his Instagram account. So I knew everything I needed to know. Soon, we met up for drinks. We talked about our mutual friends and interests. I got too drunk and tried to get him to kiss me. He didn't. It was all very romantic.

Looking back, there wasn't much chemistry between us. But, I had been determined to make it happen because I thought we would get along so well. I had such high expectations before we even met. But there really was no spark between us. It took some time for me to let go of the fantasy I had created. It's the exact opposite of what happened with Bruce. My expectations of who he was and whether or not we would get along got in the way of me evaluating the situation for what it was. I wasted so much time trying to make something out of nothing, purely because of what I thought it was going to be.

A blind date is, or at least what I think based off of movies, two people meeting for the first time without any prior knowledge of one another. They don't know what the other person looks like, talks like, where they're from, what they like. The only knowledge that they have is that there is a mutual friend. Then they meet, and in that first date, they form a first impression and decide whether or not they want to see the other person again.

But these days, blind dates no longer exist. We have access to all of that first date information before we even meet. We know exactly what we think of the other person before we sit across from them at a table. We no longer have control over our first impressions because our online persona does it for us. Does he make a lot of statuses and try to be funny on Facebook? He must be annoying. Does she take a lot of selfies? She's self-involved.

I have a friend who was set up on a blind date. His friend who set him up wouldn't show him a picture of the girl or tell him anything about her, only her name. So, naturally, he looked her up on Facebook. She wasn't there. That's weird. So, he Googled her. Nothing. How can somebody in this day and age not be on Facebook or show up on Google? He was so freaked out that she wasn't anywhere on the Internet that he assumed she was too weird for him. So, he didn't even go on the blind date. What does this say about our generation?

In certain ways, having all of this information at our disposal can be a good thing. We don't waste our time on so many bad first dates because we can weed out people with whom we know there's no future. But there's a down side to all of this as well. That first guy, Bruce Willis Jr., could have been hilarious and perfect for me but I was already sure we would never work out. I didn't even give him a chance.

And it's not like I have a track record for dating Mr. America or anything. Personality has always been more important to me than looks. And while that might be true, once I have my mind made up, it's hard to change it. It's a lot easier to make a good first impression than it is to fix a bad one. Poor Bruce Jr. never stood a chance.

These days, the only way to have a real blind date is if you're actually blind. But maybe not even then. Blind dates have gone extinct with the invention of the Internet and social media. While the old school romantic in me is sad to miss out on the experience... at least there's a smaller chance of getting stood up.