In the past, I used to hate surprises, but I quickly got over it. I realized, what is life if not one giant surprise after another? It wasn’t until I started dating that I welcomed the idea of entering it blindly. Surprises can be fun if it’s, say, a birthday party, but when it comes to a first date, the entire experience is bubbled with so much anxiety you begin to wonder how the hell you ever got to this point?
I’m going to say this once (and this is coming from a genuine nice person): GET OVER IT! I get that you’re uncomfortable with strangers, I get that the idea of entering anything blindly is so “unlike” you, but you’ve forgotten that this is 2014. If you haven’t learned by now that all roads lead to Rome, it’s time you get to learning. The gay community has just as many blind dates as any other (if not more), but unlike straight people, we’re often the ones too stubborn to step into such a danger zone.
The truth of the matter is blind dating is NOT a danger zone. Yes, it can feel like falling without a net, sure, it may be the weirdest things you’ll experience that week, but the more you curse it, the less willing you’ll be to step out of your comfort zone in anything else. That’s never a good thing.
Why are gay guys are more willing to take risks when it comes to sex than they are with love? Entering sex blindly seems to have little to no fear – apps like Grindr made sure of that. Sex can be quick, emotionless, and easily attained during a lunch break. The idea of expanding our horizons further is almost always out of the question. Dates have become a waste of time; meanwhile, we’ll bend all of our plans if an opportunity for sex presents itself. There’s something wrong with this picture.
One of the most underrated things in life is risk-taking. The most successful people in life, love and business will tell you that without risks, there are no rewards. Blind dates are a relatively low commitment and there is almost zero risk – unless your friends have set you up with Ted Bundy
To say things like, “It’s such a waste of time” or “I’m better than that” or “I’m to scared to meet someone new” or “He’s way too good looking for me” or “I have too much dignity for that” is like throwing away an unscratched lottery ticket. Why the hell would you say no to something that has a possibility of being great?
Before you reject the blind dating concept, it’s important to look at the source. Where did it come from? A close friend? OneGoodLove? A coworker? Parents? Siblings? A random stranger at a party? Depending on where you’ve received the invite says a lot about the person. Here are some ways to dissect potential compatibility based on the source, in order of the most promising:
- CLOSE FRIEND: Think of the friend and consider how well they know you. If they know everything about you, chances are they’ll have a pretty good idea of the kind of energy you’ll thrive in. You have every reason to think their judgment on men will be adequate to what you have to offer. When they continuously rave about this guy they know who they think “will be absolutely perfect for you,” why not believe them? Your friends know you better than you know yourself sometimes.
- COWORKER: We often have a poker face at work. We try to maintain a professional decorum in the workplace, and in doing so we tend to show our true character. Coworkers know a lot more about us than we may think. They see a side of our personality friends fail to see. And think about it, when we’re at work, we’re at our most “charming” since there is a bigger need to make a good impression – the same energy we’ll probably bring to a blind date. Coworkers see this side of us, and usually judge among themselves. Because of this, they’ll make wise choices when it comes to compatible guys.
- SIBLINGS: Your siblings have known you your entire life, and depending on how close you are to them, they’re likely to make pretty good choices. But beware, most siblings hate to see their brothers single, so they’re quick to try and intervene with the nearest gay guy they find. Their heart is in the right place, but be sure to ask questions about him before you leap into the pit.
- PARENTS: Like siblings, your parents want what’s best for you – only more. I can’t tell you how many blind dates my mother has set me on, and each and every time it’s the same kind of person: “the boy you want to bring home to mom.” They were nice guys, but they were totally my mom’s type rather than my own. Parents want their children to be happy and they’ll often butt in to our love lives. As they get older, the last thing they want is to see us single. Take their ideas with a grain of salt.
- FRIENDS OF FRIENDS: We’ve all experienced those people at parties who say, “Oh! You should meet my friend. You guys would be absolutely perfect!” So… because I’m gay, you think I’d make a great couple with your gay bestie? The thing is, strangers know nothing about us. They don’t know our personality, our tastes, our political party, our plans, our jobs, or any vital information suitable enough to matchmaking. Don’t let the words “man” and “perfect” trick you. Hear them, and then ask any other mutual friends about it. Make your assessments then.
Don’t be afraid to take risks!
It’s called living, and you’re never going to experience it if you’re trapped inside a pit of stubbornness. You are the ruler of your life choices, so why not take some chances? The next time an opportunity presents itself, I urge you to ask yourself why. Trust me, every answer you think will always be an excuse. Go out there and take a risk. You never know what will happen (and that’s the best part).