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Blind date

Posted by Smokey Stover on February 06, 2004

In Reply to: Blind date posted by WordCrafter on February 06, 2004

: Two expressions are related. 'Blind date', and 'she really has a great personality'. These must be relatively mid century 1900s, since most dates earlier than that were in small villages where everybody knew one another. Anyone know the genesis of these?

Yes, sometimes you might hear the expression "she has a great personality" from someone promoting a blind date. You might also hear that she has a great pair of honkers, or even that she's pretty. It can happen. But the two phrases are not connected except incidentally. Notwithstanding the predominantly rural character of the U.S. before WW II, and perhaps of England as well, the OED Online gives citations from the 1920s. Doubtless the expression was in use earlier. After all, young men and women often found themselves living far from home in places where it wasn't easy to get to know members of the opposite sex. If one were attending a college, most of which were segregated by sex, one might possibly be introduced to one of the few local residents available for dating, always in short supply, or one might have a friend who had a dateless sibling back home, or who knew someone similarly situated but at a college for the other sex. Often colleges (like mine) set up mass blind dates for members of the freshman class. My college was small (and non-coed) and everyone knew everyone else. We had one student, Bob, who was blind, and knew everyone by the sound of his voice. One afternoon I saw Bob standing on a platform at the local train station. I asked him where he was going, and he replied, "Nowhere. I'm meeting a blind date." He meant it both literally and figuratively. SS