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Death by Zeitgeist

Blind Date: Dead On Arrival

By Devdoot Majumdar

staff writer

After my first try at matchmaking for The Tech, I received a steady trickle of e-mails from many types of people -- the brooding, the sketchy, and the flat-out undate-able.

Ten short e-mails came my way from members of Zeta Psi reading, “I know this guy Andrew Greenhut. He’d be a real good blind date candidate.”

Every year, fraternities mess up and let the most irritating of freshmen join by mistake; these people eventually become the butt of that frat’s jokes for the next four years. With the Zeta Psi outpouring on Andrew D. Greenhut ’06, I had the kid sized up as precisely that walking joke. And since I’m occasionally in the business of public mockery, I thought I had found myself a walking target.

However, as it turned out, Andrew was just a normal Zete. Though no Friendster information was available, a reliable source on the soccer team (on which Andrew plays) mentioned that Andrew’s a wily fellow and a good sport, even though he doesn’t get to play all that much. That was endorsement enough.

Kristin D. Hrabak ’05, a very sweet, somewhat shy, and fun-loving junior from Baker House was the girl I found most suitable for Andrew. Her optimism would rescue even the worst of scenarios, I figured. Though she was a tad taller than him, Nicole had four inches on Tom.

To his credit, Andrew showed up on time, dressed nicely, and with a flower, even. His housemates had warned him about the awkward silence phenomenon, and to avoid excessive talk of academics. “I’ve seen the Blind Date show many times, and I know all about awkward silences,” Andrew said.

Their date consisted of Mexican food at Fajitas and Ritas in Boston followed by a bit of comedy at the ImprovAsylum. It’s all standard date stuff for standard west campus people -- dinner and a comedy club. And unfortunately, the evening’s conversation attained the standard depth of, at best, a UPN sitcom.

From the post-date reconstruction, it seems that they discussed common hobbies (she likes hockey, he plays soccer), academics (she studies hard, he’s learned how not to), and Homestar Runner. Andrew commented, “It seemed like she wasn’t too happy working hard. I tried to give her some advice about getting out.”

Homestar Runner -- unknown to me, but apparently a cult favorite (http://www.homestarrunner.com) -- serves as Andrew’s nickname at his house, primarily because of his manner of speaking and its likeness to the cartoon character. Hrabak did consider the conversation as “not really deep,” but didn’t take issue with it. “When there were awkward silences, they were short,” she said. Luckily for the two of them, they didn’t have to talk to one another during their stay at the comedy club, though both enjoyed the ImprovAsylum thoroughly.

And, after four hours of idle chatter, the couple came back to Kristin’s room in Baker House to watch a movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Here’s where it was supposed to get juicy. But of course, this was a bad date, so none of that happened.

However, Kristin epitomized true feminism (and should be applauded) for asking Andrew point blank if he had a good time. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, as in we’re going to do this again or yes as in just friends?” she asked. “Friends,” he said.

And that was that. The date was over, the movie was about to begin, and to top it all off, they invited one of Kristin’s neighbors to watch the movie with them.

So precisely where and why did this date go wrong? Unfortunately, folks, this date was dead on arrival.

Andrew had e-mailed me before the date to give me an idea of his type of woman: “She should be smart, in good physical condition (not necessarily an olympic athlete, but I like someone who can keep up with me), good hygiene, receive humor well and be able to joke herself (for ex[ample]: she would think my parrot is funny, not stupid).” I’m fairly confident that Kristin fulfills this  description -- she is the type of girl who’d be forgiving of bad jokes and the like.

“I didn’t really have that much interest in her,” Andrew said. “It was at the beginning,” when Andrew decided this, he said, based primarily on her looks and the fact that their personalities “didn’t click.”

Now, I’m a believer in catch theory. In almost every relationship, there is a “catch.” By standards of looks and personality, one person is always “the catch” and the other person is simply lucky to be in a relationship with “the catch.” As far as I’m concerned, Kristin was the catch here. Though a tad sullen, the girl has an animated sense of humor, is tolerant of a boy who’s in love with a speech-deficient online cartoon, and is quite endearing both in the character and looks departments.

So, another blind date runs afoul because another guy has overestimated his self-worth. I suppose MIT might be predisposed to insecure girls and overconfident guys. Regardless, there is hope. This weekend, two couples will be going on dates sponsored by The Tech, and we’re hoping to get a dart back on the dartboard this time. If you’re interested in finding yourself or your friend a Tech date, let me know by e-mailing me at devdoot@mit.edu.