If Jenny Craig and L.A. Weight Loss can have a disclaimer under all their happy customers, why on Earth shouldn't online dating services? Not that I get my hopes up — if anything, I have manage my expectations far below normal levels in all situations — but I'm sure there are some people who put all their rotting, lovelorn eggs in that sad, soggy online-dating basket.
The ads for eHarmony and Match.com make me want to throw things. With eHarmony, it's middle-aged, multiethnic Christian couples dancing around and smooching to old Natalie Cole songs; on Match.com, it's confident, attractive single people vamping in an empty room for a black-and-white camera. Whispering, "Date me, you equally sexy beast" through pouty lips.
I'm here to tell you: It isn't like that.
CrazyBlindDate.com in no way tries to pass itself off as a legitimate dating site with a proven track record for love connections. It's more of a beta test for brave — or bored — souls in major metropolitan areas who are comfortable letting computers match them up nearly randomly with other similarly brave/bored souls.
On a sort of "Twitter dare" from a high school friend last week, I thought, "Hey! I'm both brave and bored. This sounds fun," and signed up for an account. Two days later, I got an e-mail "offering" me a date the following week.
All I got was a name, age, vague body-type description and a few lines he'd written about himself. No photo — nothing else. I wouldn't be allowed to contact him until 30 minutes before the date, and even then it would be only through CBD's double-blind text messaging system.
Fast-forward to tonight. At 7 p.m. on the dot, I got a text message from George, 28, self-described average body, essentially downplayed his personality and everything about himself. "Tall w lite beard," he said in his description, and wearing a black sweater and jeans. We would meet in Wicker Park for a drink, and that would be that. A crazy blind date.
Except that when I arrived at the restaurant, the space was dark. A closer inspection of the establishment's hours showed it had closed two and a half hours earlier. Strike one, CBD.
"Fucked, right?" (I'm charming.) "Where to next?"
We walked half a block south to one of my favorite restaurants and had a glass of wine. Conversation was easy; he was a gentleman. We shared the cursory small talk and even feigned vulnerability about our dating pasts. I was a real gem and revealed practically nothing about myself. This was a first date first. Though part of me wonders if I would have given away more if I hadn't been so busy learning about his Serbian family or the road trip he took earlier this year with his godfather's son-in-law to Billings, Montana.
The unkempt receding hairline, penchant for action movies, vague homophobia, excessive walleye consumption and total ignorance of all things social media–related — he hadn't even heard of Twitter, for Christ's sake — were instantly forgiven when he paid for my brownie sundae. I even let him tease me for leaving one single bite on the plate.
I was FULL!
The population of the friend zone grew by two when we parted ways with a mutual handshake. Mine was all business.
I hastily flagged down a cab and headed home for a photo shoot in my new sailor-stripe dress. It's a little silly.
The evening wasn't crazy. In fact, it really wasn't even a date, unless any situation financed by a man is a date.
But then again, I wasn't looking for much. Gossip Girl was a rerun anyway.
Results: pretty typical.