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(303 Stories)

Prompted By First Dates

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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.

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Characterizations: been there, well written


  1. Marian says:

    Love this story, Suzy, and I can relate. This brings to mind the only “stoned” blind date I had, when a work colleague way back asked me to come along as a date to her boyfriend’s boss. Sara and I smoked some dope before, and maybe it was good that we did, because the boss, though very handsome, was completely boring. However, he had a Cadillac that made a very amusing “ding” sound when the door opened, and being stoned, I couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the evening.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, Marian. Your comment made me laugh. I thought you were going to say that you kept opening and closing the door just to hear the “ding” – that’s probably what I would have done!

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Terrific story, Suzy. I loved how its focus was not, as usual, on interesting things, but the lack of interesting things, particularly since the build-up had such possibilities for the former: blind date, stoned, (supposedly) great movie. And then: nothing, nothing, nothing. Sort of reminds me of that definition of jazz: it’s the notes they’re not playing.

    I must admit that I also loved the story because I, too, saw 2001, stoned, and probably at the same theater in Boston as you did. Can’t remember with whom I was — obviously not you — but with a few folks, none of whom were blind dates. I, too, found it pretentious and tedious, but I do remember that a few of the patrons — presumably also stoned — rushed the screen at some semi-trippy moment and were “escorted” (i.e., thrown) out. That was the high point, in every sense, of the movie for me.

    • Suzy says:

      Thank you, John. We may not have known each other yet, it was pretty early in the fall. I’m sorry I didn’t get to witness that screen-rushing moment. And I love your comment that it was the “high” point of the movie for you.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    A great story, Suzy. I think being stoned is the best way to approach a blind date. Too bad you didn’t see a movie like Woodstock when you were high. We saw that one with my younger brothers and we were all out of our minds. Don’t know how we got there or back to my parents’ apartment after. I did like 2001, though.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Very funny story, Suzy. I confess that the guys at my house LOVE “2001”! But none have ever seen it stoned (I think). I think most blind dates are super-awful and would try anyone’s patience, but not wonderful if stoned (difficult to keep up witty repartee). Sleeping through the movie and the date sounds like a good option, all around. Very glad that I don’t have to go through that phase of life again.

  5. Perhaps it’s true that love is blind but it sure ain’t a blind date. Great story and I especially loved your 2001 experience. Or is it truly the lack of experience?

  6. What a great description of 2001! And who could have been in a better position to level their critical thinking abilities than a super-smart, stoned ‘Cliffie in their freshman year! I am NOT being sarcastic. Just a fabulous, laconic account, Suzy! The circumstances, certainly the dope, and a mind and heart that can spin that account, not remembering who paid the fare. It would have been amazing to be with you on that drift (the best possible way to travel) on the MTA. The recounting of 2001 in which you made the astute observation that sleep formed a significant portion of the trip to Jupiter or wherever they went. No women. Dead in the water! Asleep in the theater. I think you should contact the ‘girl’ who was looking for the blind date and ask her of her impressions. Again… NOT being sarcastic here. Later on, I’m reading it again…

    • Suzy says:

      Charlie, I love your reaction to my story! Fun to read! And you’re right, I really should try to contact Debbie and ask her what she remembers. She also figured prominently in my spring break story, so I could ask her about that one too.

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