Recently, I found out blind dates are still a thing in this era.
Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and does not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
Over coffee one day, my close friend Syukri confided in me, “I’ve been going on blind dates for the past few months.”
Syukri is 26, has fair skin and dark eyes. He wears hair dyed ash silver that makes him look like an anime character. He is the oldest of 6 siblings, and is described as a “family guy”.
I’ve known him as one of the kindest friends among his group, and is definitely a ride or die partner in a relationship. Hearing him say he has started going for blind dates surprised me.
“Seriously? I never thought that blind dates were still a thing — how does it work?” I asked curiously.
“A blind date is basically when one’s parents set you up on a date with a colleague or client’s children,” he said, smiling in embarrassment.
How every blind date starts
Each blind date starts with his parents and the girl’s parents meeting up at the arranged location to introduce their children to each other. After that, the two people will continue their date alone while getting to know each other.
One of his recent dates was with a young woman named Siti, at a cafe near his house in KL. It was one of his most awkward dates, as she was only 19 years old, which made it a 7-year age gap.
“I remember thinking she was way too young to get married. I don’t understand why her parents would want their daughter to get married this soon,” he said, scratching his head.
Throughout the date, Siti kept starting conversations that seemed tailor-made for his interests. “It was totally scripted,” he said, cringing.
“She brought up stories related to cars, food and gaming, which was oddly specific. When I asked her what her other interests were, she said car modification and gaming,” he shared.
“I thought, this sounds good….way too good to be true.”
Syukri guessed that she would have probably have had a conversation with the other girls that he had gone on blind dates with. Hence, she knew quite a fair bit about him. Either that, or she is just really good at reading people.
After an hour, he started feeling really uncomfortable and had lost interest in the date. It felt like she wasn’t herself and he couldn’t really get to know the real her.
So he made up an excuse to leave the date.
“But she didn’t take the hint! Instead, she gave reasons to keep me from leaving by suggesting other places that she would like to continue the date with. This made me feel even more uncomfortable,” he shared.
In the end, she finally gave up when he told her he had an emergency and he really needed to leave, but he could see the disappointment in her eyes.
Since then, she continued texting Syukri after the date, but he did not reply to her as he did not want to give her hope.
Each girl knows all the other girls that Syukri has gone on a blind date with
Since 2013, Syukri has rejected many girls. In his own words, he said, “I am not proud of it and I have some regrets for doing so.”
Up till now, he has gone on over 10 blind dates, with 10 different girls.
“It’s super awkward if it does not work out,” Syukri shifts uncomfortably, “because I will eventually have to meet these girls at family or corporate events.”
“When I walk into these events, I feel weird having to to say “Hi!” to all of them while they talk about their dates among each other.”
Not only are they friends of his family, they’re all friends with each other. To escalate the pressure, the girls will try to compete among each other to win his heart.
One time, he went on a date, and she had told him conversationally that she actually knew the girl that he went out with the day before.
She then asked him, point-blank: “How did it go?”
You can imagine the sweat running off his pores. Not knowing how to respond, instead he told her, “It went… well.” How is that not weird, right?
Syukri’s parents have doubled their efforts
His parents are very disappointed at this point, but they still did not give up. By the time I write this, they’ve already started setting him up on another date at his home due to CMCO.
“I said no!” Syukri said. “I felt like it was too weird for me to meet a stranger at my home.”
One of the reasons behind his fear of dating is because it brings back the past. He still remembers the look on his ex-girlfriend’s face when he broke it off with her, and all the sadness it has caused him.
“The thought of getting close to someone that I am unsure of scares me,” he admitted quietly.
At this point, he feels, his parents are desperate for him to find a girl to get married as soon as possible.
I asked him why his parents are so desperate for him to get married.
“Till today, the reason why my parents set me up on these blind dates remains a mystery. My mom used to be really strict back in the day and would always tell me I can’t have a girlfriend until I have a stable income. To my surprise, she now gives in and is even encouraging me to get a girlfriend.”
Does Syukri want to get married himself?
“I think my parents mean well, but at the end of the day, I’m looking for a real connection that careful preparation, setting up and blind dates cannot replace.”
I looked at him, this kind, charming, young guy, and wondered what would be the personality of the princess that he will sweep off her feet?
“Honestly, I’m just looking for someone who has a strong heart and most importantly someone who just gets me. I have my own flaws as I’m quite bad tempered and egoistic. I’m sure most girls would be turned off by this. So it’s hard to get someone that is able to get through this with me, but I’ve been trying my best to change over the last few months,” he said candidly.
As we sat there together in companionable silence, I realised I would never want to be set up on a blind date, ever.
For one thing, I don’t think my parents know the type of guy I’m interested in. And for another, the pool of candidates are restricted to sons of their friends — meaning I probably already know most of their candidates.
Finally, I asked him what his life plans are.
“Of course I want a relationship, but at the same time I think I’m better off alone. I tend to overthink a lot. I have a lot of doubts about whether I am good enough to be in one just yet,” Syukri mused.
“At the moment, I’ll just go along with these dates that my parents set me up on. And if I really do find someone I click with, why not?” He grinned.
Would you mind if your parents set you up on a blind date or are you against it? Let us know in the comments!
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