Dating in a Fishbowl

No one really likes blind dates. At least, no one I know. While I detest them like the rest of the population, I also believe in the “you never know” concept whereby I should be open to various uncomfortable situations, including blind dates, in order to meet my Mr. Right.

While I am perfectly open to blind dates, there is now a caveat…I will not, under any circumstances, have my blind date be a part of a group experience. Allow me to clarify – I am not referencing when a group of people meets out for drinks and people are hoping two of them will hit it off. I am talking about basically expanding the date to include other interested couples. Interested meaning that they have a vested interest in the success of the match.  This is obviously best described by using a few examples:

Expensive Escort

One of my closest and dearest friends, Alecia, was dating a wonderful guy who had a close, intact group of guy friends. One of them was single. So was I. Match made in heaven? Probably not. Charles is a very attractive guy and a true gentleman. Sadly, our date wasn’t designed for us to get to know each other. We were four couples in total, having dinner together. Girls sat on one side of the table while the guys sat across from us. Charles and I were dead center, providing the opportunity for everyone else to extend their heads forward, turn them to the side, and observe our interaction, which was awkward. There were six other people who were curious about whether we were hitting it off and I don’t think we could have said for sure since we were under so much scrutiny. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Charles. In fact, he’s an amazingly good sport. He, and his group of friends, have a game they play, credit card roulette, where each guy throws his credit card into a hat and the waitress pulls out the lucky winner, er, loser, of the night. That lucky gent will then pay for the entire meal for all participants. Charles was the credit card roulette winner of the night. So, not only did Charles get stuck with an odd date experience, he also got stuck with the check.

Three-on-One

Ron and Jo are a very nice couple. I don’t know them very well but I had run into them several times in a short period and, at some point, Ron indicated that his brother, Tim, was going to be moving to Austin and would I mind if he gave my information to him. Given that I believe in giving everyone a chance, I, of course, said yes.

Ron gave Tim my email address and we began an email exchange. Based on his emails, I would have never gone out with him. They were long-winded, filled with questions, and exhausted me to even look at them. But, I was keeping an open mind so I held onto the exchange until he came to Austin for a visit. We agreed to meet at Iron Cactus for a drink before I headed out for my original plans for the evening. When I arrived, Ron, Jo, and Tim were all there. And, suddenly…we were all on the date together. Tim explained that he didn’t have a car and that’s why it was the four of us. Why Ron and Jo couldn’t have dropped Tim off for an hour, or at least 30 minutes, and run into REI so we could get to know each other remains a mystery to me. And, with this three-on-one situation, it seemed that I was on a group interview where questions could come from anywhere versus a date where I was trying to get to know one person. Since I really didn’t know Ron and Jo, this was their chance to get to know me too. It was overwhelming, exhausting, and gave me zero time to find out if I might want to see Tim again. When he asked me if I wanted to meet the three of them the next day to shoot pool, I politely declined. Enough was enough.

Recently, one of my very sweet friends wanted to fix me up with someone by having the two of us over for dinner. I kept trying to explain that it wouldn’t be the right thing for us. She didn’t quite get it. I’m sure she thought I was being irrational as she was just enjoying living vicariously through me and thought it would be fun to be there too. I happened to meet him online as well and, once we removed my friend from the middle, we made plans to get together the two of us. So much better! How lovely to have the safety net of friends, but it is so much better to be fully present with one person at a time to see if you have any interest in seeing one another again. I am very pleased with my decision and hope to never have a blind/first date in a fishbowl again.

 

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