The concept of ‘blind dating’ remains a most thrilling and interesting phenomenon that millions of people all over the world have engaged in at one time or the other and in fact still continue to practice even today. Imagine the feeling of flirting with someone you have not seen and the seeming endless ordeal of having to imagine the person’s physical appearance as you are only confined to the knowledge of that person’s voice or handwriting depending on your mode of conversation, either via letters or phone calls as the case may be. One thing you cannot take away from the concept of blind dating however is the fact that it is usually so much fun, well at least while it lasts. It somehow gives the partners the opportunity to explore each other’s fantasies under the cover of invisibility and of course there is the mutual respect both partners tend to have for each other in the course of this ‘no-physical-or-visual-contact’ kind of relationship. However, the blind dating idea goes a long way to prove the ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ theory, especially when the ‘blind partners’ happen to meet at last. The success of the ensuing relationship thereafter depends on how they handle the open relationship.
I explored with the idea of blind dating by chance sometime in late 2005. It was through a very popular request show on TV at the time. It was not as though I had any serious intentions but I thought it would be an amusing experience so I sent my details to the specified number requesting for any cute girls within my age grade at the time. I watched on intently waiting for my details to scroll past the T.V screen. A little while after, my details actually appeared on the screen and within seconds, my phone became the hottest line as calls, messages and of course ‘flashes’ kept me as busy as a bee. By the end of the day, I had secured no less than twelve blind dates and I had to begin the long ordeal of scrutiny. At last, I narrowed the list down to about seven girls. I had a pretty interesting relationship with all of them and in fact, I am still in contact with about four of them till date. I ended up meeting three of them and the unfolding experiences proved to me that indeed, a blind date is best kept ‘blind’. Due to time and space, I would share just one experience.
The most serious relationship of all perhaps was with U.J, a cute girl who resided in Surulere. Coincidentally, she shared the same name with a girl I had dated back in UME class. At the time, she was nineteen and trying to get into University and over the course of our communication, I learnt we shared a similar taste in writing and some other stuff. Back then, I knew only one or two female folk who were interested in the art and so I was instantly won over by my curiosity. I really wanted to know this girl who had a writer’s dream like me. We became an item almost instantly, having phone conversations and chatting on a most frequent basis. My pocket of course suffered the cost of always having to visit cybercafés to chat online with U.J and always having to keep airtime running on my phone. At a point, I settled on the cheaper option of making long calls to her from call centers. The mobile operators had not thought it wise then to introduce the ‘midnight free calls’ thingy.
BG and I were still rolling with the punches of our seemingly frustrating relationship. I believed the root cause of our problems happened to be her decision to hold on tightly to her virginity, thus denying me the most sought pleasure in a romantic relationship. Somehow, at the time, I simply could not understand what any nineteen year old girl would still be keeping her virginity for and in spite of my pleas and persuasions, BG remained resolute on her decision to ‘keep her virginity till her wedding night’ like she always put it. Oh, how I hated those lines! As such, I was on the constant lookout for a replacement, one I hoped to find in one of my blind dates, especially U.J who seemed to match every quality I desired in a chic. On one of our online chats, she had confirmed to me that she was no longer a virgin. Now, that was good news to my ears. We continued our ‘blind dating’ for almost three months before we decided it was time we saw each other face to face. We agreed that she would come over to my end. I believe I was the happiest twenty-year old alive during this period and I waited impatiently for that day, nearly driving myself nuts as varying forms of imaginations flooded my mind. I wondered about her looks (she had told me she looked quite good), her carriage and of course I had begun to picture in my obscene mind the lovemaking scenes we would probably share.
True, the day finally came and we met. She was indeed the perfect picture I had of her. In fact, she was better than what I expected and I could not thank my lucky stars enough. I decided then that BG could eat her virginity for all I cared! Meeting U.J in the flesh however was not to be the fairy tale I had imagined as things suddenly began to go awry. We spoke on a good lot of stuff ranging from books to movies to stuff we had written and planned to write. She even composed one of my poems into a song! I was sure I had met the perfect woman at last. We hung out together on a few more occasions and at some point, we shared a few kisses and touches. However, something seemed to be different. We simply could not strike the balance we had struck all the while we had maintained a no-visual-contact relationship. I noticed this and desperately hoped she hadn’t as I still believed we could work out. The calls and chats began to thin down and gradually, boredom began to set in.
The ice finally broke when she visited me some time later and told me we needed to stop seeing each other as it all seemed like a mistake. She said she wished we had remained friends without meeting each other and I had to agree even though I never told her. It took a little while for me to get over the blow. I called a couple of times but her response was never as cool as it had always been. I dropped offline messages which she never responded to. Before long, all my calls were answered by the mobile operator informing me on the unavailability of the number I was calling. At that point, I knew it was time to hang my gloves, brush the dirt off my shoulders and move on. Fortunately, BG was still around and we continued as usual to ‘roll with the punches’. I maintained contact with a few of my other blind dates but of the few ones I met physically, none appealed to me as U.J had. Perhaps, the incident with U.J had killed the desire to go all the way. I realized I had learnt a good lesson from the experience. Till date, I have not seen or heard from U.J and sometimes I wonder if she was actually real. Perhaps, she was some spirit being sent from beyond this realm to toy with my twenty-year old heart.
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