I was pretty skeptical about the outcome of this blind date—I have an arsenal of bad date stories. I had no reason to think that a date with a total stranger would be any better than some of my previous experiences. On the way to downtown Palo Alto, I assured myself that at least I was prepared for failure.
Justin and I arrived at our meeting point, Starbucks, twenty minutes late. In retrospect, we should have planned for downtown’s crazy parking and terrifying unprotected left turns.
Regardless, in the first two seconds of our date, I felt my negative bias begin to thaw. For starters, my date, senior Patrick Skelly, showed up on time promptly at 7 p.m. in a nice attire consisting of a button down shirt and khakis. Justin’s date was Riley Fossum, whom I knew and was pretty friendly with. At this point I was calm and even allowed myself to think that maybe I’d enjoy myself.
On the way to the restaurant, Patrick did a great job at trying to keep up a conversation. Of course, things were a bit awkward in the beginning, but that was to be expected. He even held the door open for us upon entering Pizza My Heart (major points).
Then came the fated moment that would decide the outcome of this date: paying for the meal. I know the subject of paying for a meal is always a bit touchy. Some girls get extremely offended if their dates don’t pay while others think that men offering to pay for someone’s meal is a chauvinistic practice that promotes gender stereotyping. For me, offering to pay for my meal is one of the best things someone can do on a date. When Patrick offered to pay, I nearly fainted from happiness. Patrick was polite, sweet and well-mannered, and all my worries beforehand were completely useless and unnecessary.
The rest of the date passed quite well. Patrick mentioned his parents three times during the date, an act that was sweet and endearing. He kept the conversation going pretty well, wasn’t phased by a homeless guy talking to us for 10 minutes, and was a great sport even when we decided to go to Yogurtland, despite him being lactose intolerant.
Patrick’s manners and overall sweetness really helped me have a great time. I will not be rushing out for more blind dates in the future, but this experience has taught me to never expect the worst and to keep an open mind about things—even those beyond your control. I would even go as far as to say that Patrick’s impeccable manners gave me hope for the men at Gunn. This may be super cheesy but, seriously, don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Once in a while you might end up with a great experience and an even better story to tell afterwards.
A blind date is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get. In the weeks before the date, I was hoping for no less than a fancy chocolate—the type that is so beautiful that you don’t want to eat it because you can’t stop looking at it. The day of the date, I heard rumors that the person I was going to go with could not come, and The Oracle staff members were scrambling to find someone else for me. That’s why, when I walked into Starbucks twenty minutes late, I was more than happy to see that my date had not left and was in fact a living, breathing person.
My date, sophomore Riley Fossum, was seated at an outdoor table at Starbucks. Riley and I had been friends previously, and I was glad that our initial conversation was not awkward. We decided to go over to Pizza My Heart to grab some dinner.
I’m going to be honest, for the bulk of the time at Pizza My Heart, I didn’t talk to Riley. Unfortunately for Riley, I am quite the gregarious creature, and when a homeless man named Manuel Chavez walked up to our booth looking to make some conversation I happily obliged. Chavez told us a lot of stories about fictional historical events. Among other things, he told us a captivating story about Richard Nixon’s suicide and how he was in fact my uncle. After Chavez made several guesses about the names of my family members, I decided to refocus my attention on Riley. After all, Mr. Chavez told me he would see me later; to my disappointment, we haven’t met up since then.
My date with Riley concluded with a leisurely stroll to Yogurtland. We had a great conversation about our social lives and mutual interests. During our time together I learned that we had more in common than just our interest in baseball and softball respectively. Even though our time together didn’t feel much like a date—more like an extended hangout—I had a ton of fun. We strengthened our friendship and learned a lot more about each other.
My advice to anyone going on a blind date is to just be yourself. It’s not going to be awkward unless you make it awkward. In fact, I think that my conversation with Manuel Chavez improved the overall quality of our date because it showed that I was comfortable being there. If you be yourself you may end up having a great time like I did.