Who has a blind date when happily married and 77 years old? I did!
Last week, a lady I met when attending Unitarian Church services on Zoom came with her daughter for lunch and a visit. I will refer to her by the initial (M) of her given name. She lives in Toronto and her daughter lives in Italy.
Over the years of the pandemic and since then, we met regularly at Sunday Zoom services and had many friendly email exchanges. We recommended books for each other to read, shared clips from UTube videos, and developed something like a ‘pen pal’ relationship.
The Oxford languages dictionary defines a blind date as a ‘social engagement with a person one has not previously met’. Most often, blind dates are arranged with some intention of a romantic relationship.
While there are many stories of blind dates turning into horrendous experiences, a blind date can be the beginning of a new relationship. It certainly offers an opportunity for adventure and a new experience.
The blind date last week was an opportunity to meet in person to strengthen our relationship. From previous exchanges on Zoom and over email, we knew that we had many common interests. Both of us had already shared information about our families and current lifestyles.
I invited M to our cottage as she was intending to explore South Western Ontario in July when her daughter returned to Canada for her annual visit. Unfortunately, she was unable to come to the cottage, but she expressed interest in coming a shorter distance to London where we live when not at the cottage.
Preparations for a Blind Date
When meeting someone for the first time on a blind date, an attitude check is important. I decided that I would do all I could to make our date a fun event.
About two weeks before our meeting we decided that lunch was on the agenda and that the venue would be at our home rather than at a restaurant.
I thought carefully about the menu and asked in advance about food preferences. I settled on a carmelized onion and artichoke quiche, a vegetarian dish that I’ve made countless times along with a simple green salad. At the last moment, I changed my mind substituting a kale salad as I found some tender purple kale leaves in my veggie garden that I dressed with cranberries and slivered almonds.
Avoiding awkwardness or embarrassment was a consideration. I wondered about serving wine with lunch. In case alcohol was refused, I had lemonade ready and cooling in the fridge. Since we were meeting at home on a hot day in July, dressing in comfortable summer wear made choosing clothing for the day an easy decision.
It felt natural to exchange hugs when M and her daughter arrived. They brought a huge container of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies as they were also unsure about whether to bring wine. We laughed about the wine question, opened a bottle, and the visit began.
As often happens, we began our conversation with topics covering the drive, the weather, my garden, our new deck, and food preferences. When the comfort level increased, it felt safe to express opinions and show vulnerabilities. We compared life experiences during the pandemic. We discussed book clubs and hobbies.
I remember serving the meal but don’t remember eating one bite as we were so busy getting to know one another.
Meeting at our home rather than in a restaurant meant that we could linger as no waiter was hovering over us waiting for the table to turn over for other customers. It also created just the right informal social environment!
People who go on blind dates usually do so with the intention of creating a long-term relationship. In the case of my blind date last week, I’m confident that our online relationship is now cemented into a deeper friendship. It felt easy to be myself and, I trust, this was also true for M. Our conversation was never forced — it flowed naturally from topic to topic.
It was odd to meet M in person although we had ‘met’ many times over Zoom so we had some ideas about who each of us was as a person. I was honoured that both M and her daughter took time out of their lives for the two-hour drive from Toronto to visit us.
We had a delightful afternoon in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. I’m looking forward to seeing her again to continue the discussions we began and to further strengthen this new friendship.
Thanks for reading this blog post. I’m wondering how many readers have had similar experiences of meeting new people in interesting ways. Blind dates don’t need to be restricted to romantic encounters!