There are two things that control my life right now: being a comedian struggling to get noticed and being a single guy struggling not to be single. So it made perfect sense to go on Blind Date.
If you are unfamiliar with the show, Blind Date puts couples that have either a lot or absolutely nothing in common in an SUV for seven hours and sees what happens. There's a little more to it than that, but I'm summarizing.
A friend was chosen for the show, and that convinced me to give it a shot. Why not? They would pay $100, give me a free dinner, and allow me the chance to embarrass myself in front of a much larger audience than usual. Oh, yeah, and the getting a date thing.
The first step in the process was to apply online. I sent in an e-mail with my headshot and answers to a few basic questions. My favorite was "why do you want to appear on Blind Date?" I answered, "Normally, I take dates on a seven hour drive in an SUV, but this way we could have cartoon thought bubbles." I passed the first step.
I was happy to get that far, because that means I was not average; there was something about me that they thought would make good TV. I figure the producers pick people who are either all-stars or train wrecks, but I'd rather be a train wreck than forgettable. I was called in for an interview earlier this week.
When I got to the offices, there were several other guys there. I quickly understood I was right about them wanting some train wrecks. I didn't know if that's why I was there, but it was definitely why the other guys were.
The office process was not easy. First, I had to fill out a multi-volume application, detailing my personality with the same three questions phrased differently eight times each.
1) How would your friends describe you?
2) Do you like sex?
3) Do you like how your friends describe how you like sex?
I had some trouble filling out unique answers to all the questions, which included three words I'd use to describe myself, three qualities I had, and three of my strong points. I listed "ability to make detailed lists without repeating anything" as my third strength.
While I filled out my application, I was distracted by three episodes of Blind Date they were airing in the room, and three train wrecks hoping to be on future shows.
Guy One was okay. Nice guy, all smiles, but certainly not Generic Reality Dating Show material. He was a bald school teacher in his late thirties, and he seemed shocked at everything on TV, even when they started airing the episodes a second time.
"Can you believe she just did that?!" he asked with astonishment.
"Yes I can," I said. "But the first time they showed it, I was totally caught off guard."
I said that all in my head. I don't need them typecasting me as smarmy.
Guy Two was more the reality show type smooth talker, glass jaw, and cut arms (I know because his mesh shirt didn't have sleeves). And he called a friend to help him fill out the application. The entire application. The entire seven page application.
"Hey, Jim? What do I look for in a girl? And give me three words for how much I like sex."
Guy Three seemed harmless, until he spoke. Because when he spoke, he asked me to spell "Ralph."
"What, like the grocery store?" I asked, assuming he worked there, while also fearing it could be his first name.
"No, like Macchio," which he then also asked me to spell.
Guy Three was writing that he looked like Ralph Macchio. Odd, since I didn't know Ralph Macchio was a 200-pound Hispanic guy with a shaved head and a goatee.
After two hours, I finally interviewed. They wanted me to talk about sex a lot more than I wanted to, and they made me stand in a very unnatural position (they said it looked better on camera). Overall, I think I came across well, looking for an intelligent conversationalist with an accurate self-opinion and a body like Jessica Rabbit. Hey, they asked.
I haven't heard back if I made the show, so whether I'm an all-star or a train wreck remains to be seen. But I can take solace in what I learned from applying: The competition at the comedy clubs may be fierce, but I'm not as scared as I used to be by my competition in the dating pool.
Insert witty cartoon thought bubble here.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of Student Body Shots, which is available at www.SteveHofstetter.com. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.