It’s been said that love is blind, but when it comes to finding love on a blind date, the romantic odds are actually pretty even. Maybe your date is obnoxious, overly eager or just simply not your type; on the other hand, your ideal mate could be waiting for you when you arrive, ready to sweep you off your feet. But before we get to the good stuff, let’s first address the bad side of letting others set you up with a single stranger. If you’ve ever had a particularly painful blind-date experience, read these first few scary set-up stories; then, you’ll realize you’re not the only one who’s ever suffered through a frightening matchmaking situation!

Worst blind date #1: A tax(i)ing evening
“I called a cab one day to take me home from work, and after I got in, the driver and I started talking about relationships. He asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I said no, he told me he recently picked up a good-looking Wall Street big shot who lives in my town and is single. He said he had the guy’s email address and wanted to set me up, so I thought, ‘What the heck?’ and I gave him my number to pass along to the guy. Well, he called me a few weeks later, and we talked a few times on the phone. His voice was so sexy that I convinced myself he was my future husband and we made a date to meet. A week later, he picked me up... and, well, let me put it this way: the sexy voice did not match the sexy guy I had imagined. Still, though, I decided to keep an open mind. Over dinner, our conversation was bad; 80 percent of it detailed his partying habits at the Jersey shore and all the women he had dated! I knew I needed to end things early, and I got out of there fast. It was certainly not a match made in cabbie heaven, but hey, you have to take some chances when you’re single!”
– Laura, 28, Hoboken, NJ
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Worst blind date #2: I snooze, you lose
“I once had a blind date show up to pick me up two hours late. I had already figured he was standing me up, so I got into my pajamas and was watching a movie in bed. When he showed up at my door, I was pretty annoyed, to say the least. He was barely apologetic, saying he was out with friends and had lost track of time, which didn’t exactly qualify as a good reason, in my opinion. He even had the gall to suggest we begin our date right then and there... even though I was ready for bed! Um, no thanks.”
– Jen, 28, Los Angeles, CA

Worst blind date #3: Is tum-thing wrong?
“I once had a blind date who asked if he could use my bathroom soon after coming to pick me up. He must have had an extremely upset stomach, because he was in there for at least 20 minutes. My apartment was small and the bathroom was adjacent to my living area, so unfortunately, I could hear everything that went on in there... and it was so gross! Once he came out, the smell was indescribable — the people in the hall could probably even smell it. Throughout the date he pretended like nothing had happened, but it was nearly impossible for me to see him in a ‘romantic’ light or think of going out with him again.”
– Regan, 31, Columbia, MD

Worst blind date #4: Niece to meet you
“My boss once set me up on a blind date with her niece. I was worried about the implications of such a set-up, but my boss put me in a position where I couldn’t say no and kept going on and on about what a sweet girl her niece was and how much I’d love her. Well, that description couldn’t have been further from the truth! She showed up wearing a really revealing outfit, chain-smoked throughout the entire date and cursed incessantly. Then, on the drive home, she threw up. The only thing worse than the date itself was having to lie to my boss when she asked me the next day how it went. Fortunately, I began dating someone pretty seriously soon after that night, so I got out of ever having to go out with her again.”
– Andy, 27, Durango, CO

Worst blind date #5: All’s fair in love... and hair color?
“I was set up on a blind date with a guy named Brian by my roommate, Julie. Prior to our date, she had showed him a photo of the two of us along with our other roommate, Heather. He and I hit it off on the phone, so I was really excited for our date, which we had planned as a casual pizza date. When he came over to pick me up, Heather answered the door. His eyes lit up, he gave her a huge hug, and then he said, “It’s so great to meet you, Jess!’ I stepped forward and introduced myself as the ‘real’ Jess, and he sputtered, “Wait, you’re not a blonde?” It was clear he had gotten got the wrong idea about what I looked like from the photo and was disappointed. Even though I was feeling pretty rejected, I decided to go forward with the date anyway, thinking that our phone chemistry would be enough to make it work. Well, he was all about hanging out at my place and getting to know Heather…he pretty much ignored me all night!”
– Jessica, 31, Princeton Junction, NJ

Worst blind date #6: The second time’s hardly a charm
“I hadn’t been on a date in a while, so when my friend agreed to set me up with a friend of hers, I really didn’t ask her much more about him than his name and age. Well, once I got to the restaurant, I realized that the guy was an ex-boyfriend of mine! It had been a few years since we dated, but the breakup was pretty bad, and we definitely hadn’t kept in touch or remained friends. It was totally awkward — so much so, in fact, that we couldn’t even laugh about it. It was clear that neither of us wanted to continue with the date, so we just sort of said ‘See ya later’ and went our separate ways.”
– Kara, 28, Centreville, VA

Three couples whose faith in their matchmakers paid off
Before you get too jaded by these other daters’ disastrous experiences, here are three true tales of couples who had better luck on their own blind dates:

Great blind date #1: The slam-dunk set-up
“I recently had a blind date who, when we were planning the date, said she could get us tickets to a Lakers game if I wanted to go. I was totally stoked, because I’m a huge Lakers fan. As if just going to the game wasn’t cool enough, she was able to get courtside seats through her job at a big-time talent agency, and we sat right next to Jack Nicholson! It was incredible! Not only was the game a blast, but she was really cool, too. I had an awesome night, and there was no denying I wanted to go out with her again.”
– Erik, 32, Culver City, CA

Great blind date #2: Home is where the heart is
“I was once fixed up on a blind date about a month after I moved from my native New Orleans to New York City. I wasn’t really excited about it, because I was pretty homesick and having a difficult time adjusting to the hustle and bustle of the city. I think I was in kind of a depressed state when I agreed to do it, so when Brian called me to plan our date, I barely spoke to him and just told him to pick a place and then pick me up around 8 p.m. That night, he showed up at my door and said: ‘I hope this is OK — I am a huge fan of Cajun food, so I was thinking we’d go to this wonderful Cajun restaurant that has a Zydeco band and everything.’ OK? I almost started crying, I was so happy! Had he somehow picked up on my homesickness? We had a fantastic night, and it turned out we had all sorts of other things in common as well. We’ve been together for nearly a year since that date.”
– Amelia, 27, New York, NY

Great blind date #3: When it comes to love, grandmother knows best
“When I turned 30, my grandma — with whom I am very close — became paranoid that I’d never get married (like 30 is over the hill, or something?). Just to quiet her, I agreed to go out with the grandson of a friend of hers she claimed was ‘a very handsome lawyer.’ I, however, was certain he would be a total loser and couldn’t believe I agreed to the date. My friends and I joked about it for the weeks leading up to the date, and I had extremely low expectations. When he came to pick me up, I almost fainted; he was drop-dead gorgeous. During the date I also found out he was very intelligent, well-educated and loved Woody Allen movies as much as I do. We had a great dinner, even better conversation — and there was a definite spark. We kept seeing each other after that, and each date was better than the next. We just got engaged about a month ago, and of course my grandma takes all the credit!”
– Joy, 30, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

When DC-based journalist Chelsea Kaplan isn’t helping you solve your relationship problems, she’s making jewelry. Check it out at