LAST_UPDATEMon, 23 Jul 2018 8pm

I Dated Someone I Have Never Met, In The Dark.

So, I decided to date a woman I met online through OkCupid, and as our first date, we’ll meet at Dining in The Dark KL. Literally, a blind date.

Yes, you read that correct. We’ve never met, and usually the first things you notice when eating at a new restaurant and date is the food - and how pretty (or ugly) your date is (especially if they look very different from their OkCupid profile photos).

She is 34, a vegetarian foodie, and single. I am 22, a red meat carnivore, and available.

When Cyber-Sparks Turned Into Clumsy-Diners

We talked online, traded our numbers and asked her out for a date at Dining In The Dark (DITD). I didn’t tell her I was writing this as an article though (the things one do in the name of journalism). Hey, at least it’s free food for her. And despite the thousands of questions we had for each other, we promised to divulge as little information about the other as possible.

After booking a reservation and levying a hefty RM240 for two people (for the Classic Dinner wineless set), we met at the entrance. Boy, was she tall. I’ve never dated girls this tall - and she was wearing flats, thank God. Let’s face it, you can never trust photos 100%, as uploaded shots are only those of a ‘good angle’. A waitress received us at a lighted area and she gave us 2 tests before we started dinner.

(Spoiler Alert)

Test No.1 - A glass of fruit juice is given. Figure out the 4 ingredients.

Results: We could taste orange, and maybe pineapple, tangerine, and well...salt. I’m pretty sure I tasted just orange juice. The answer? There was orange...and 3 other ingredients which were not pineapple, tangerine or salt.

Test No. 2 - A bowl full of rice grains is handed to each of us. Blindfolded, find two paper clips in that bowl.

Results: Easy peasy. But I was *pretty* sure there were no paper clips. Seriously. I found the first paper clip after a few millenniums. Feeling confident, I made a bet with my lady date, that whoever finds the second clip owes the other a drink (or a kiss, cause that’s a win-win scenario). I sure was going to enjoy my strawberry milkshake. I searched desperately for the second paper clip but alas, she had found two of hers. Feeling like a loser, I took off the blindfold and the fact that there was actually 4 paperclips in the bowl didn’t make me feel any better.

Anyhow, we were introduced to our waitress, whose name must be remembered if you seek a chance of surviving in the dark. She’ll come to your help and guide you. Evelyn was her name, and she is 23 and blind. All waiters and waitresses in the dark dining room are actually blind.

Holding each other’s shoulders in a train-like single formation, we entered the black pit where our dinner awaits.

It was dark. Pitch black. Not even a silhouette could be seen. There was a CCTV with barely visible red lights (red lights don’t impair night vision) probably to catch out on any attempted hanky-pankies. And it was inky black that I could literally strip dance, make horribly ugly faces, and do jumping jacks and none would be the wiser.

And as I had thought of writing this article as a food and restaurant review, I realised there was no menu for me to see, I couldn’t see food in the dark nor take photos. And they change the menu monthly.

Here’s a photo of our appetizers:

Very Appetizing.Very Appetizing.

Evelyn the waitress would serve us by announcing that they are standing to your left/right side, and after setting down the food, would announce that you ought to start with the bottom left plate, then the bottom right, moving to the top right and finishing with the top left plate. Such guidance was much needed - being the klutz that I am, I wasn’t ready to look like an idiot by spilling that soup or drink onto my lap.

The point was for us to use our olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) and somatosensory (touch) senses without relying on our ocular (vision, sight) abilities. Not only do I not get to see my food, I am not able to enjoy the eye candy who looked beautiful that evening. No phones, watches and electronics were allowed inside. When one’s senses are disabled, the other senses are heightened. So, the conversation and the food then became our focus.

Can You Trust People You Meet Online?

As we conversed, it turned out that she had dated several OkCupid-ians. These men (and boys), were stereotypically and extremely lustful guys, who were better off finding their ‘fix’ with prostitutes, after hearing how their behaviour were on the dates. Because you see, not all guys are just looking for sex in OkCupid.

She regaled at first dates who wanted to ‘enter’ her house, and chronicled at one who unzipped his pants in the car and asked her to touch ‘it’. She enumerated at how some guys, white people included, sent her a photo of their ‘tool’, big as it may be and others being straightforward with messages such as ‘Friends with benefits?’

“Trust is one issue when meeting someone online. I have to know I’ll be safe, so we meet at somewhere public first,” she gathers.

“So you trust me?,” I innocently prodded.

With a hesitant sneer she answered, “Well, you approached me in a nice way, and looked trustworthy. Although I must say your OkCupid profile photo makes you look a bit gay. You’re not gay, right? Have any gay guys gone after you?”

“Well, if I had been gay, I wouldn’t be here with you”, adding a mental note to myself to change that smiling gay photo of mine the next time I’m on OkCupid.

“But the worst part is, when they say they are single and they actually are not. And then, they vanish so quickly afterwards,” she lamented.

I could have been gay, not single nor available (but all of the mentioned did not happen). Which made me wonder if it did, would her feelings be hurt yet again after so many failed attempts in her quest of meeting her ‘Mr Right’ online?

‘Ugly’ Disguises

On the other hand, an oddly attractive girl did contact me the last time. Thin, fair skinned Chinese, clutching a polaroid camera. We followed up with conversations on Skype, only to find her disabling her video screen.

Slightly assertive but I politely insisted, “Show me your face, cause I’m showing you mine.”

To which she uncomfortably replied, “I don’t look anything at all like my display photo”.

Oh well, unlucky me. Unfortunate for her though, not only did she disguise to be someone else completely different, she had suffered a car accident which left her with head injuries. Prone to headaches, she had lost her memory of life prior to the crash and suffered from a condition called retrograde amnesia. That meant she cannot remember who she was, her name, and woke up in a hospital bed feeling confused. She was supposedly developing her new life.

That was all peachy until she began stalking my phone number and Skype, demanding to meet and talk to her every single night, and even in wee hours of the morning. I soon resolved to dating girls only after I asked them two questions: One, “Are you lesbian?”, and two, “Do you have any mental illnesses?”

Guys too, have weird encounters with online dating.

A Happy/Messy Ever After?

Coming back to the matters at hand, of which I was grasping food with a messy grip. Using cutlery in the dark wasn’t a piece of cake, especially when that piece of cake couldn’t keep its equilibrium on my finely balanced dessert spoon. And I cursed myself whenever I needed the fork, which I had misplaced somewhere in the vicinity of my table.

A snapshot of the main course. Very filling.A snapshot of the main course. Very filling.

Thankfully, the food had already been sized down without the need of using a knife, with desserts and ice cream that are placed in easy to hold cups.

I will not divulge the menu of the food, but suffice to say that it was a 4-course meal, of which we felt full afterwards, albeit extremely thirsty.

The date and I had a great time speaking about each other. I told her that I could host a “Dining In The Dark In My House” as well, where I’d serve chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs and Maggi mee with the lights off. Tasteful in every sense, no?

Also, if I had my own DITD restaurant, I’d be sure to include lots of chilli, hot water for drinks, and wasabi to “spice up” the intriguing experience. Also, make sure that night-vision CCTV is recording, with videos to be sold to the customers after.

I’m sure it would be fun to see that ‘messy’ first date.

Here’s a photo of us together at the table. Evelyn is the one standing next to us:

Do we look good together?Do we look good together?

To quench our thirst and ‘feast’ our eyes, I treated her for a drink after dinner. And after sending her back home (obviously not asking to ‘enter’ her place), meeting a potential romantic interest online for the first time in the dark, proved to be an exciting, if visually lacking, blind date.

I return feeling blessed and will never take lightly the sense of sight that is truly a gift.

And alas now, she wants to continue the relationship as I conclude my piece with a full stop.

- Malaysian Digest