|It was a Friday night, and like many Friday nights, my friends and I decided to go see a movie. We lived in a small suburban town and, other than bowling or the local pool hall, there wasn't much else to do besides see movies... so it was hardly rare for a group of us to catch a flick and hang out on any given night.
On this particular Friday night, a few of my friends and I were coming directly from work and expected some other friends to join us. Once we were in the theater, I ended up in the middle with two of my friends on my right, and another friend to my left, on the other side of a friend that met up with us outside.
At some point during the movie, my friend's friend offered me some candy. My dislike for Sour Patch kids notwithstanding, I declined, being a big proponent of the "never take candy from strangers" philosophy. In all honesty, not knowing her, I just thought it was a little weird to share candy. And who knows, it could have been a plot to subsequently steal some of my Junior Mints, and I wasn't going to have that.
After the movie, we all stayed to hang around and chat. I chatted with my work friends, recounting our day at work... the highs and lows, the good customers and bad. It wasn't riveting conversation, but it gave us something to do before we inevitably had to head home.
The next week, we all went to a movie again. (Like I said, there wasn't a whole lot to do in my hometown). My friend's friend was there again, and this time everyone else in our group suddenly and spontaneously realized that they needed to use the restroom and get snacks. With just the two of us left in the theater, my friend's friend turned to me and said, "You know this is a blind date, right?"
You see, our mutual friend had thought we would be perfect together and thus orchestrated a blind date. The only problem in the plan was failing to mention that little detail to me.
Suddenly everything made sense. The offered candy, the attempts at small talk... and yes, the disapproving look at the end of the last "date" when we parted ways without exchanging more than a few perfunctory words.
I was suddenly aware of the fact that, while she was wearing a nice outfit and had clearly taken the time to dress up for the occasion, I was wearing an old T-shirt and jeans. Painfully aware of the fact that I had neither combed my hair nor brushed my teeth or had a breath mint in the past several hours, I asked that we try our "first date" again so that I could actually try to make a good impression.
She agreed, and we chatted throughout the movie, setting a real date for the following weekend.
Our friends never did come back to the theater.
When I picked her up the following week, I showed up better dressed and better prepared. We had a very nice date at a good restaurant and followed it up (of course) with a movie. The conversation was much improved and we both had a great time.
At the end of the date, she turned to me and said, "I had fun. But I have to admit I was kind of worried. You seemed like kind of a rude slob at first."
It's a conversation that my wife delights in recalling whenever she possibly can.
I'm still a bit of a slob, and sometimes I can be a little rude, but we really hit it off and the lesson we learned is that blind dates are always better when both parties are aware that they're going on a date.
At least our friend was right about one thing... we are perfect together.