This prompt was originally going to be Blind Dates. We expanded its scope to First Dates, which would of course include blind dates but also dates where you knew who you were going out with ahead of time. The broader topic seemed likely to lead to a larger selection of stories. However, my brain stayed focused on the one and only blind date I ever had.
A blind date to a boring movie is not a recipe for success
It was the fall of 1968, my freshman year of college. One of the girls in my dorm was still dating her high school honey, who was a freshman at Brown. He had come up to Cambridge to see her, but had brought a friend with him. They were all going to go into Boston to see a new movie called 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Debbie was looking for another girl to be the friend’s date. She wasn’t particular about who it was, so she was going door to door in the dorm asking everyone she saw whether they wanted to go. She lived on the fourth floor of Comstock, and my room was 204, which means that before she got to me she had already exhausted all the possibilities on the fourth and third floors. It must have been a Friday or Saturday night, so perhaps not too many people were even around. I was in my room with my future roommate (Linda #2 for those who read my roommates story) and we had smoked quite a bit of dope. As a result, I was not really inclined to go anywhere. But Debbie was desperate, and Linda urged me to go (she had a boyfriend, so she couldn’t). So I went.
I tried very hard to act normal. I don’t know if the guy realized I was stoned or just thought I was a little weird. He seemed really straight, so he might not have recognized the signs of being stoned. He was also incredibly bland. I think his name was Chris, and he was from somewhere in the Midwest. He had short hair (definitely a strike against him), and he was about my height. That’s all I remember about him. The four of us took the MTA into Boston, found the movie theater and went in. Somebody else must have paid the subway fare and bought the movie tickets, because I know I didn’t do it. Then the movie started. It was very slow and tedious. There were no women in it. There was NO DIALOGUE for the first twenty minutes of the movie! It couldn’t have been much more than about half an hour in that I fell asleep. I woke up towards the end, and there is no dialogue for about the last twenty minutes either. And everybody dies, except for one guy. I just don’t get why people made such a fuss about this movie. It was even more boring than Chris was!
Needless to say, the date was not a stunning success. Even if I hadn’t been stoned, and hadn’t hated the movie, I would not have been interested in this guy. So I have to admit that I didn’t make any effort to be nice to him. I was happy to get back to Comstock and say goodnight to the boys from Brown. Debbie and I never talked about it afterwards, so I don’t know what, if anything, they said about me. I also don’t know how much longer she kept seeing her guy. But I never went out on a blind date again.
Note: For this story, I looked up 2001 on Wikipedia for the first time, and was delighted to see that the NY Times had said it was “”somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring,” and The New Republic review called it “a film that is so dull, it even dulls our interest in the technical ingenuity….”
Another note: Although seeing a terrible movie wasn’t helpful to this date, I have to say that seeing a great movie will not necessarily lead to having a great date. In 1974, I went out on a first date with a guy I met while doing a musical at Harvard Law School. We went into Boston and saw The Sting, which was fabulous. But after watching Robert Redford for more than two hours, I had zero interest in getting amorous with this guy! I don’t think we had a second date.