After attending five proms in high school, I considered myself a pretty good formal date. I could drop it low to Usher's "Yeah" and maintain interesting limo-ride conversations. When I went on my first blind formal date in college though, I realized all of those sober chaperoned dances had left me totally unprepared.
First semester of freshmen year, before rushing a sorority or knowing a lot of people, I was set up with a boy for his Christmas formal. When I arrived, he greeted me with: "I've already booted twice, so I think it's going to be a fun night. It's great to meet you!"
Sitting down at our dinner table, I was very aware I was the only freshman, with all the older sorority girls curiously observing me. One of the table games included dropping wine corks into another person's drink when they weren't looking, which would mean they would have to chug their drink once they noticed. That person would then get a turn with the cork. As the only freshman, I was an easy target, consuming more wine than I wanted and offending people I didn't know by choosing them as the next corked victim.
During dinner, one of my date's friends came over to drunkenly joke around. My date went to kiddingly punch his friend after an insult, but in an inebriated state misshot and punched me right in the face. Everyone at the table erupted with laughter, while I was forced to laugh along and pretend my face wasn't burning.
Later, all of the fraternity brothers left the room for some kind of brotherhood tradition. I was left alone in a room full of predatory sorority girls trying to dirty rush me. I listened to several girls drunkenly tell me, "those girls are seriously my best friends" and "I'm literally obsessed with my big."
My date finally returned, but missing one of his front teeth. Without offering an explanation and with blood coming from his mouth, he announced, "let's dance!" We danced to the live band as blood from his uprooted tooth smeared on my dress.
When I realized he wanted to hook up, and I most certainly did not (and not just because I didn't want blood in my mouth), I Irish exited, walking a mile uphill back to my dorm in a dress and heels.
At this point, I've had extensive experience getting set up on formal dates with strangers. There are the horror stories, but most blind formal dates get the thumbs up. There was the boy who would go on to seduce me with his dirty talk and someone who ended up being a great friend.
Being set up with a blind date for your formal or someone else's can be a really great experience. If you cannot find a date or are cancelled on last minute, recruit a blind date.
If you are up for something exciting or want to meet someone new, be a blind date. Maybe your sorority, fraternity or some other social group, plans a blind date formal, like "Screw Your Sister," where you are more or less forced to be set up with someone.
Whatever the reason, take advantage of chances to be set-up with a stranger. If you are nervous or want to make sure to get the most out of your night, here are some handy tips:
1. Prepare beforehand.
If you are nervous about conversing with someone new for a long time, mentally prepare questions or conversations to bring up. If things take a really disastrous turn, have an escape route planned. If you are going to someone else's formal, find out if you have friends who are also going to help ease into the night or act as a buffer.
2. Don't pregame too hard.
I get you may be seeking "liquid courage," but do not go overboard. I've had blind dates where I blacked out and forgot what we talked about, making me look like an asshole later.
On a different occasion, I got kicked out of the restaurant for throwing sushi at other customers, and then proceeded to throw up on the date I had just met. Don't be that girl. If you are going to drink, set a limit.
3. Be yourself.
You shouldn't attempt to act a certain way to be liked. You want someone to like you for you. And if they don't like you, you never have to see them again. I mean, they really are just a random person.
4. Go into the night with a positive attitude.
Be optimistic that you will enjoy your blind date's company and the night. Even if this person isn't a future S.O, you might find a fun hookup or friend. If things get off to a rocky start, don't immediately dismiss them. Give the person a chance to redeem themselves.
5. Don't feel obligated to do anything.
Do not feel pressure from your date to do anything, like drink or smoke. Do not feel obligated to stay long, particularly if you do not get along well with your date.
Do not feel like you have to hook-up with the person you find yourself set-up with. Always do what feels right to you.