Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Uni life: In blind dates and goody bags, the excitement is in the unknown

Although I wasn't brave enough to take part in Cambridge's mass blind date, I admit it's certainly an interesting way of meeting people you wouldn't otherwise interact with.

Last week, I was invited to a Cambridge-wide event, a mass blind date. “Suffering from a broken heart?” the description blared. “Let the Love Doctor prescribe you a Blind Date and get that heartbeat racing.” The idea was that you fill in a form and the organisers would set you up on a date. Chances were, it would be with a guy you’d never met before.

It turned out to be an immensely popular idea: about 1,200 students signed up. “I’m only doing it because donations go to charity,” was the shamefaced refrain, while the other reasoning was a jaunty, devil-may-care wiggle of the shoulders accompanied by: “I reckon it’ll be a laugh.” No one wants to admit they are fed up of being single and think they ought to mingle more.

A friend had a spare form, so I decided to at least fill it in. It started off easy enough, with details such as your name and college. There were tick boxes on a sliding scale for descriptions that ranged from “I look like a typical artist” to “I look like a scientist”. A choice between bad hygiene and bad dress sense?

It got increasingly harder as I progressed. For the questions demanding details of “worst date ever” and “cheesiest chat-up lines”, I told the form exactly what I thought about it dropping incessant reminders about past romantic inadequacies. If we’d all been such smooth Casanovas, we wouldn’t be desperately going on blind dates, would we?

I suppose it was a bad idea to be honest when answering “drink of choice”. My coolness quotient definitely took a plunge as I had to admit: “Water with lowest calcium-­cation content possible (being a party ­animal)”.

“What am I looking for in a date?” I had in mind a whole list of characteristics, such as being musical, having a sense of humour and independently motile eyebrows. After some consideration, though, I sadly decided on: “Male. Beggars can’t be choosers.”

I chickened out at the last minute, so never did end up going on the blind date. Although I’m not brave enough, this is certainly an interesting way of meeting people. A friend, Faheem, did take his date to a restaurant called The Maypole and found it a not-too-thrilling experience. The young lady he was to go out with had cleverly coordinated with her friend, who was also having her blind date at The Maypole. That meant that at least the girls would have had each other’s company and a familiar face to rescue them if their allocated date turned out to be a disappointment. This was undoubtedly not the case, but at least turning a date into a sort of group dinner saved a fair amount of awkwardness.

The whole affair is lighthearted and you get to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise interact with. Plus, you don’t know what you’re going to get, much like a surprise goody bag – which is where the excitement lies.

The writer is an 18-year-old student at Cambridge who grew up in Dubai

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: February 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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