One Night Stand: Wesley and Cat

The third instalment.

On Sunday evening, Balaka hosted two strangers on a blind date. These are their stories.

Cat

1. Please give the date a 1-10 ranking

I would say 8/10 because I did really enjoy the date, and the food was lovely, but sometimes I thought my chat was a little strange due to my nerves.

2. How was your performance?

Overall, I think (I hope) I came across as endearing when in actuality I probably came across as a little weird. I was very aware of my arms, I kept fiddling with the dessert spoon and I overthought everything. (am I eating my food too quickly? am I eating my food too slowly? am I drinking the wine too quickly? I’m definitely drinking the wine too quickly.) But Wesley was really easy to talk to and I was very interested to hear about his involvement with debating and his thoughts on St Andrews and Scotland in general.

3. What actually happened at the date?

Well, it started with me emptying out the contents of my wardrobe on my bedroom floor and staring hopelessly at my flatmate like the makeover scene in a 90s high school drama. Then after she picked out an outfit, I braved the howling gale into town and finally made it to the Balaka. I was shown to my seat and Wesley smiled and shook my hand, and we talked about so many things.

He made me laugh with his complaints of how cold and rainy it is in Scotland, and we talked about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life and St Andrews life in general. I chatted to the waitress, who told me she was a second-year medic and had an exam the next day, so we tried to placate her nerves. Then we left to go get a drink at Brew Co, only for me to realise I wasn’t carrying any ID, so that fell flat. But we left each other with the promise to grab a drink sometime this week.

4. Are you going to see this person again?

Yes, I would like to hang out again.

5. Would you go on a blind date again? (What are the benefits of blind dating, what are the drawbacks, should everyone do it?)

The drawbacks I guess would be that you feel a certain pressure to present the best version of yourself, whether that’s in your table manners, the way you dress or even your topics of conversation, but I think that is true of all dating, even Job interviews.

I think I would go on a blind date again! It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to be brave (it sounds like I did more of a charity sky-dive than a blind date) but I think people would be surprised as to how nerve-racking it can actually be. Wesley summed it up when he said to me ‘well, I’m glad you’re not an axe murderer’.

I think that it is good fun, even if you’re not looking to meet your soul-mate, it is a lovely way to meet new people!

Wesley

1. Please give the date a 1-10 ranking

This was a solid 8. There were no awkward silences or conversation topics at all. We spent much of the night laughing at each other’s jokes. Balaka was a wonderful host; the wine and masala were delicious, but the Peshwari bread just made the night. A quiet atmosphere was quite conducive to good conversation, far more so than coffee somewhere noisy during the day.

2. How was your performance?

I think I did really well. I wasn’t too nervous; if you don’t know what to expect, then it’s sort of difficult to place what you should be worried about, so I just went into it without too much preparation. I kept good eye contact, posture, and I tried to ask lots of follow-up questions. I did take an additional twenty minutes to finish my meal after she had finished hers, but she didn’t seem to mind.

We tended to be pretty conscious and vocal about our understandings of dating culture. She shared with me the chats she’d had with her friends leading up to the night. I had sought out a lot of advice on how to greet her and what to wear — I wasn’t the only partner to ponder such uncertainties. Things like these are the similarities that build into interesting conversations about social oddities.

3. What actually happened at the date?

We had already gotten into some complicated discussions before serendipitously ordering the same meals. We covered the basics of our studies; we reminisced on our times in this small but seemingly massive and exhausting town, and, most directly, the reasons we thought going on this blind date might be a good idea.

We quickly got to talking about our interests, our passions, and even our world views. Enlightenment philosophy was discussed as frequently as artistic preference and musical appreciation. We had friendly discussion about our families and our faiths. It was also the little things, like bonding over cats. And grapes.

We’d break our conversation every once in a while with an observation on the other’s personality – these broke the ice and gradually made us comfortable enough to share more.

She asked me to go to a bar with her at the end of the dinner, and off we went.

4. Are you going to see this person again?

Yes! We are meeting for brunch later this week. We started planning second dates midway through the first.

5. Would you go on a blind date again?

I would definitely do this again. I think everyone should do this. It’s important to note that rather than being fully blind, The Stand (or your friends) are going to know something about you and the other person, meaning it’s somewhat tailored, and not completely random. You’re statistically likely, if not guaranteed, to have some sort of similarities with the person. Find them.

In most instances, you’ll have both come together of your own free will. Unlike a date where you’ve met the person briefly, you’ll necessarily need to put a bit more effort into it, and your partner certainly will. Since no one ever wants to make a bad first impression, it’s arguably easier to hit it off when you’re sitting down privately over some wine for two-and-a-half hours than after having met around other people and loud noise, which can dilute and distract from conversation and opinion.

Certainly, you could strike out. And in a small town like St Andrews, you might even have to see them again. But that’s a risk that you take with every first date. At least with these, there’s an air of mystery that tends to pleasure and not to pain. You come to these with a completely blank slate, and that not only means that the possibilities are endless, but that you’re going to try something new and unique. Out of it, I’ve gotten a happy memory, and maybe a few more to come.


One Night Stand is a weekly column that The Stand runs in partnership with Balaka. If you’re interested in applying for a blind date, please email [email protected] Owing to the volume of submissions, we cannot respond to everyone individually; but rest assured, you will be contacted if we find a match for you! 

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