Dear future husband: love is blind, dating in the pitch black

Dear future husband,

Shakespeare said that love is blind. What did he mean? And if love is blind, then just how is lingerie so popular?

I think what that baffling bard meant was when in love you can’t see your partner’s negative traits. Sometimes blindness can be a good thing, ignorance is even bliss. I’ve known friends admit to falling in love with the idea of someone, that someone ticked all the right boxes but they knew the reality of who they were was not the illusion they were projecting. Many of us can live quite happily with some degree of self-delusion or another, whether consciously done or not.



Then there are those who perhaps look a little too closely, shining an interrogation desk lamp in the eyes of every suitor. The sheer volume of profiles has given many of us a window shopping mentality when it comes to finding a partner. We objectify each other and swipe left in a nano second if our requirements aren’t met – too short, too far away, too old or too bald. How many happy couples would have actually never been if the other had insisted on these criteria I wonder? Perhaps I’ve already discarded you… if so I’m sorry!



If you make it to date one – a brace, a bizarre limp, wearing crocs, excess sweating and an inability to pronounce the letter “r” are all the superficial reasons cited by various friends for declining a date two. Ok that last one was me… but there was genuinely no spark and when he asked “what would you like to dwink?” all I could hear was Monty Python’s Life of Brian sketch as Pilate addresses the crowds in Jerusalem…

“He sounds like a notowious cwiminal… Welease Wodger!!!”



What would happen if we deprived ourselves of sight entirely? Does removing the visual element allow us to focus more clearly on the person on the inside? Is it possible to fall in love with someone you can’t even see? The TV program Catfish demonstrates that people do just that with individuals they meet online and never in the flesh.

In a great British film called About Time, the awkward ginger protagonist falls in love with a girl he meets at restaurant Dans Le Noir in London. A restaurant serving food entirely in darkness. Intrigued by this idea, your lanky awkward future wife is stepping blindly into dating in the dark…



We arrive at the restaurant and stow all of our belongings in a locker, feeling bereft without my mobile (light producing) the four of us (my auntie, friend Liz and trusty sidekick Jane) peruse the menu. Options are simply 1. meat 2. fish 3. vegetarian and 4. complete surprise. I decide to throw caution to the wind and opt for 4. surprise.

We are introduced to our waiter, Trevor, who is himself completely blind. We are instructed to stand in a line and place our hand on the shoulders of the person in front, passing through several blackout curtains and into the room…



I knew it was dark but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as overwhelming. There is not one modicum of light anywhere. I can hear other diners talking and eating but have no idea where or how many they are. I am guided into my seat by Trevor and try to keep my cool but I am feeling very claustrophobic indeed.

Trevor brings out the wine and I attempt to locate everyone’s glasses and pour some out using my finger to feel the levels. It’s also dawned on me I’m wearing white. Error. Miraculously the wine is poured with only minor spillage. I start telling the table an anecdote which goes on a bit (they sometimes do that by the way so I hope you’re patient). 

No one else makes a sound for about 5 minutes. Feeling unnerved I pause and ask if anyone’s still there. This causes my companions to fall about laughing (more than can be said for the story) and inform me my anecdote was so boring that they’ve been to the loo and come back again. Humph! 



A lady pipes up to my left “are you ok? It can be a bit strange to begin with” making us all jump and ask how long she’d been sitting there! From her accent and that of her partner we deduce they’re from the North somewhere, we guess Manchester but it transpires to be Yorkshire. We have no idea how old or quite what our neighbours look like. My aunt seizes the opportunity to create a fictional life for us all, as four young models out on the town! 

Trevor arrives with our starters, I choose to eat with my hands and conclude there is duck and beef, possibly a shallot and what I think might be a scallop. It is all delicious and certainly tastes flavour packed with one sense deprived. 



Trevor has a voice that you could imagine being great on Breakfast radio – warm, funny and assured. We learn that he is single himself and my aunt sets about offering up her niece and single friend to him (one or the other and not both, she clarifies). Describing us as two illegible professional ladies (in the non prostitute sense) Jane’s prominent jaw, my ‘moon face’ and tomboy tendencies don’t seem to perturb Trevor any. Trevor likes the outdoors and I admit to owning more than one fleece and secretly enjoying a browse in Millets. Trevor promises to go away and think about it. As the wine flows we try to start a singsong off, feeling confidently anonymous in the dark. My aunt is like a jack russell with a bone and urges Trevor to snap us up. He opts for me. Hurrah! (Sorry Jane)



(Selfie in the dark: not my best side…)

The plates are now empty and the wine has been quaffed and sadly it’s time to depart. In daylight Trevor is very bashful and we thank him profusely for a wonderful afternoon before he scurries off, a little embarrassed. 

Whilst I clearly didn’t meet you, my future husband, the experience has been a real eye opener in a way I hadn’t expected. The charismatic Trevor is living proof that in the country of the blind, the one eyed man is king. The restaurant is a remarkable social experiment bridging the gap between the disabled and the abled and well worth ruining a white jumper for.  

My search continues.

Yours disgracefully,

Alice

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