Despite the relatively short-lived endeavors of groups such as EMU Confessions and EMU Crushes, this year has seen yet another Facebook group come to life: EMU Blind Date. While EMU Blind Date has not spread as rapidly as the former two, it has a solid constituency of more than 40 people.
The page offers a basic structure for single EMU students interested in a blind date. After becoming friends with EMU Blind Date on Facebook, you can message the group, specifying when you are free and whether you want to date a male or a female. At some point, you can then expect to hear back from EMU Blind Date, giving you a time and a place to meet the mysterious other.
Some students who have already participated in the first round were directed to meet their blind date at the EMU fountain. From there, the couples walked to Bowl of Good where they received a sealed envelope. Inside were two papers: an introduction encouraging the duo to support the local restaurant by eating there, and a list of 20 questions to ameliorate any awkwardness. The question prompts ranged anywhere from the colloquial “how did you decide to come to EMU?” to the age-old “lizards or frogs” and the knotty “who can say ‘New York’ five times in a row fastest without getting tongue tied?” The suggestion provided by EMU Blind Date is for the tryst to last an hour: most likely short enough to prevent running out of things to say.
The intrepid EMU Blind Date page advocates a return to dating as a non-committal alternative to the current societal expectations of dating as a long term engagement. Although the makers of the page declined a personal interview, EMU Blind Date did communicate their purpose to me anonymously, writing that “dating isn’t considered a method to get to know other people who you may be interested in; rather, it is seen as a commitment to relationship. We wanted to revive this idea of people going on dates for fun, to get to know each other, to learn about yourself and others.”
Some students who have used EMU Blind Date spoke positively of this goal. “There was no pressure for a second date or not for it,” remarked First-year Bethany Chupp. “It was very much time to get to know each other in a one-on-one context. Don’t be worried about trying it out. There’s nothing to lose. You’re getting to know someone better one on one. You are finding out what you like in a person. This is giving you an opportunity to learn about yourself.” Many find this change in context refreshing, although the surprise nature of blind dates can cause anxiety.
EMU Blind Date wants to assure people who are nervous about taking the initiative to sign up that EMU Blind Date gives privacy and respect to all those involved; everything is kept in confidence. Furthermore, it is a “non- judgmental system.” They promise to be working for you, not against you.
One reason that may prevent students from signing up for EMU Blind Date is the anxiety, fear, and nervous- ness that can come with the anticipation of a social engagement. Second-year Malachi Bontrager was “a little nervous,” although he knew who his date was going to be before it happened. Overcoming the nervousness of signing up can be very rewarding. “It was a lot of fun,” said Bontrager. “I look forward to the next one!”
Another apparent concern voiced by many students is the impression that the campus is too small for blind dates. “A lot of people that I have talked to are skeptical of the page because they feel like they already know people at EMU,” admitted Hannah Mack-Boll, a First-year. “I was already friends with my date, but it was a nice excuse to get to know them more one on one.” The blind date allows people to get to know each other in an intentional context. Within the frantic mix of college life and responsibility, it can be all too easy to lose this deepening of one-on- one relationships, with just friends or with burgeoning romantics.
-Seth Stauffer, Opinion Editor
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