I’m so old that I started blind dating before match.com existed. I’m not sure if blind dating is a verb but the other variations – blindly dating or dating blind – sounded worse. I used newspaper ads and a matchmaking service to try and meet my future husband. Even though I learned pretty quickly that describing oneself with brown hair and blue eyes in written form is no match for a photo, I kept doing it, hoping my wealthy, good looking, funny, preferably Jewish prince would appear.
To love, cherish and complain to, were vows I wanted to share on my wedding day and felt only a fellow Jew would understand how important the complaining part is. So I put an ad in the dating/classified section of the Jewish Standard and waited for someone good to buy me, I mean ask me out for a drink. You get a pin code to dial in to hear your messages and attempt to discern cuteness through voice. It’s even less effective than a blind person feeling someone’s face to discern cuteness.
One guy I talked to over the phone had a deep voice – the kind I expected to house a hot rugged motorcycle riding yet clean cut Jew. I just figured if he was Jewish and rode a motorcycle he would still be clean cut. We would talk late into the night for several nights before actually meeting in person. We never engaged in phone sex (that was with another guy), but there was flirting going on and I couldn’t wait to meet him.
Pre internet dating photo when I could still wear a cut off shirt
After about a week of getting to know him and realizing we had a remarkable connection, we set a date to get together at a restaurant. I couldn’t believe it only took one response to find my Jewish hunk. I was told by friends who were experienced doing this to keep it to coffee. You don’t want to be too masochistic to put yourself in a position to have to eat an entire meal with someone with whom you have the chemistry of a failed experiment. And I guess all of these types of dates are experiments.
He described himself with brown hair, brown eyes, 5’9 and medium build. As soon as I walked through the lobby, I spotted a guy in a booth matching that description near the hostess’s station, but pretended I didn’t. I scanned the place more thoroughly to make sure I hadn’t jumped to any conclusions that he was actually the guy I was supposed to meet. My heart sank as I clearly understood my voice to hotness correlation radar was non-existent.
Then I saw him wave in my direction as he realized the girl standing alone looking lost was his date. There was no way to feign standing him up or oops I just didn’t see you! It’s not that he was horrid looking, but I knew I would need very low lights and tequila goggles on every time I was with him. It takes me about 3 seconds to know whether or not I’ll want to kiss someone – he was a not.
That sounds incredibly shallow and it pained me that I could not have a relationship with his disembodied voice but I wanted all parts of the matrix – smarts, personality and looks. Oh, and he couldn’t be broke living in his parent’s basement.
I eventually gave up on the Jewish Standard’s lack of standards and moved on to a professional Jewish matchmaker. My friend told me her mother-in-law had a track record of successful connections. At our first meeting she told me she had three candidates that she felt would suit me. I say candidates because for the most part, blind dates are like job interviews. Hopeful yet uncomfortable.
A bald Oliver Hardy was not how I described my ideal match to her. Introverted with OCD tendencies also not included in that list. Yet that is a fair depiction of date #1. I figured I would make the most of the hour I was going to lose having lunch with him by trying to engage in interesting conversation, such as finding out what he liked to do for fun, about his family, etc… Yes, I was kidding myself that I would have a gripping dialogue with him about his hobbies and I did think of running away when he took a bathroom break but there I was, my enchilada the only redeeming factor on this date. When the waitress brought the bill, he asked if I thought I would want to see him again. I was still in my infantile stage of blind dating and so I practiced honesty and said no. He then called over the waitress and asked for separate checks. I learned honesty is not the best policy when it came to first dates/interviews.
Date #2 was definitely better looking. He was an extrovert and had a cute smile. I love unique personalities but I would say a Jewish wigger decked out with an extra large “chai” (חי) (Hebrew for Life) instead money symbol necklace went beyond my expectations. Although the date wasn’t as lifeless as #1, I knew a Jewish Vanilla Ice was not my future husband.
I told my friend’s mother-in-law I did not want to meet pick #3, thank you for the completely incompatible dates and good-bye. Yenta she was not. I would take my chances on meeting guys the old-fashioned way – drunk in a bar.