August 2012
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Love is Blind… Dating for the Visually Impaired

For many singletons, dating and getting to know new people can be challenging at the best of times. But what if a visual impairment means you can’t see the person you’re getting to know?

With television programmes such as the popular classic ‘Blind Date’ and Sky Living’s recent ‘Dating in the Dark’, the idea of prioritising personality over appearance has never been more popular. But in many cases, as with this television show, at the end of the date, the pair is faced with a ‘grand reveal’ as they make a final judgment on whether their date’s looks match up to their expectations. In most cases, they’re unimpressed by their appearance and decide to end any potential relationship. This raises the question: can you successfully date without knowing what somebody looks like?

Taking ‘blind dating’ to a new level, some companies now organise dating nights which are held in complete darkness. These nights are held all over the country and involve couples meeting at a restaurant in pitch black. The idea was first conceived in New York, as the diners are guided to their seats and rely on the senses of hearing, taste and smell. By the final course, the waiters light candles on the table and the dates can see each other in the light.

However, for people with visual impairments or blindness, there is no opportunity for a ‘grand reveal’ and they must instead get to know their potential partner in other ways.

As well as conversation which can hint at common interests, sense of humour and background, a blind date can also reveal other elements to determine whether they will be a potential match.

For example, with a sense of touch and sense of smell, it’s possible to determine how they are dressed and how well they take care of themselves. A handshake has long been recognised as a way to begin an acquaintance with someone and this sense of touch is an important step in building a relationship. Whilst this may not be a priority for some people, it can be important for providing an overall interpretation of the potential partner.

Some websites now specialise in organising speed dating events for blind singletons. These sites are specially catered for those with visual impairments, helping them to make contact with potential dates. As with sighted dates, these sites stress the importance of meeting somewhere that the couple both feel comfortable, perhaps a familiar location. For many people, activities that rely on other senses, such as concerts or musical performances with pleasing sounds are good choices, providing a talking point after the performance.

Victoria writes for Direct Sight, supplier of prescription glasses

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