My favorite little bookstore in Richmond is in an area of the city called “Carytown,” which someone once described to me as “the East Village” of Richmond. The store holds an event called “Blind Date With A Book,” and it’s pretty amazing. At the front entrance there’s a shelf full of books of all different sizes and thickness wrapped in nondescript brown paper with a sneaky description and a price. The idea is that you have no clue what type of book you’re buying, which makes it sort of exciting—like a blind date! You’re supposed to buy the book based on little information and without, of course, judging the book by its cover. I almost got one, out of novelty, but then found myself wishing that more areas of our lives were open to the kind of pleasant surprise that only a blind date can provide.
Dating nowadays is not that much different that going to the grocery store and picking up a few things you need. You make a list of things you want, and you go in determined to find exactly what’s on that list. In the dating world we can put the salary we demand our dates to have, we swipe them left if we don’t find them attractive enough or if they’re just not our type, and we scroll up and down and pick and choose them, overlooking all the bad fruit.
It’s all a little impersonal.
If you have such a filtered approach of dating, statistically you’re simply going to run out of people! You’re going to get bored because you’ll cycle through all the folks who are “your type” and who you think you match with based on limited information. What sucks about it is that we always judge a book by its cover, and sometimes we even dictate what the cover should look like before we even read the book.
This is why I wish we brought blind dates back from the dead. Done right, blind dates can be a great way to meet someone new without all the bullshit that comes from talking to someone online or via text message. When I say “blind date,” I don’t mean blind date in that sort of old-fashioned way, where so-in-so sets you up with someone you’ve never met before and you dive in head first. I mean a blind date for the social media era. People in L.A. and London are throwing Pheromone Parties, where you sleep in a clean white t-shirt overnight, toss that bad boy in a zip-lock bag, scribble a number on it, put them on a table, and people pick partners based on how much they like the way your body smells. Seems
Or maybe what I’m looking for is an antidote to online dating. Aren’t you sick of this stuff yet? And if we’re all going to be on dating websites anyway, maybe we could talk to one another based on our interests, and instead of uploading pictures of ourselves maybe we upload pictures of our favorite records, or our favorite books, things that give our potential suitors a taste of what we’re really like as people.
Of course, people always find a way to get back to the superficial: what do you look like? Who am I talking to? People want to know what you look like right away, and they will simply not talk to you if they think you’re ugly or not what they’re looking for. In some ways you can’t force chemistry where there isn’t any, but in others the benefit of a blind date is that the expectations are pretty low and you’re just going to unwrap this thing to see what’s inside. Could be amazing, could be lousy. But the experience is part of the fun.
—Follow Madison Moore on Twitter: @popgazm