Are you tired of the dating rigmarole? Seeing someone for the first time and liking him, agreeing to meet up for some time out together, thinking about what to wear and how to do your make-up, then going to one of the usual restaurants, in a wine bar for a drink, or to the cinema and trying to find interesting things to say in order to try and gain the attention of someone who, like you, has probably been on a lot of other dates like this before.
Have you ever tried to devise something different? A picnic on the beach perhaps, or inviting the other person over to your own place? Still, that’s all been done again and again before too, hasn’t it? Believe me, I’ve tried it all – horse-riding (yes, as a date), clubbing, costume partying, going to the theatre, lunches in romantic locations and still it all began to get boring, after a while.
Some time ago, I came across something which really sparked my interest and which could be perfect for a date, be it the first encounter, or simply a way of experiencing something together during a long-term relationship.
‘Dining in the dark’ is an experience provided by a number of specialised restaurants around the globe, and yes, it is exactly as it sounds – it’s actually about eating in darkness. Throughout our lives, our predominant sense is the sense of sight. We marginalise other senses like smell, touch, or hearing, because since we can see everything around us clearly, we do not need them so much. This is a pity, since when it comes to eating, sight is actually a deterrent and not a sense which can enhance one’s experience.
This is one of the fundamental ideas behind the ‘dining in the dark’ venture. In such restaurants, in fact, clients dine in total darkness, in order to better saviour what they are eating, as well as each other’s company. They are usually met at the reception area by a member of the staff and conducted to their tables in total darkness. They are then asked to choose between a number of ‘mystery’ menus and to try and identify what they are eating! Menus are usually colour coded (ironic isn’t it) and one could, for example, choose the ‘blue’ menu, which is usually the fish menu, the ‘green’ (vegetarian), or the ‘red’, whose main ingredients comprise meat.
So what is so special about eating with the lights out? Any restaurant can flick off their electricity and serve food, can’t it? The twist in ‘dining in the dark’ is that the waiters, the barmen and all the staff (apart from the chefs, of course) are all really blind! The franchise, in fact, has a relevant programme with a number of associations in order to offer stable jobs to non-seeing people, who, in this environment, would be entirely at an advantage compared to the other ‘seeing’ clients.
How about going to dine in the dark for a blind date? You wouldn’t have to feel shy or uncomfortable with your partner, and wouldn’t have to base your judgement on their looks, since you won’t be seeing them! Even if you are in a long-term relationship, dining in the dark would be a fun and different way of transforming something which has perhaps become commonplace, into something funny and new.
Another advantage, is that you wouldn’t have to put on any make-up at all, since no one will be seeing you, anyway. Of course, there would be CCTV cameras in the restaurant, for security purposes, so if you decide to punch someone you don’t like in the face thinking no one would know it was you, you would be disappointed.
Don’t worry about getting messy! The staff is usually fully trained to let you know where your crockery and plates are, and if worse comes to worse, the bathrooms are lighted normally, so you can clean up. Children over seven years of age are also welcome, those who are younger are not encouraged to come, since they might get scared of the dark.
Unfortunately, in Malta we do not yet have ‘dining in the dark’ restaurants, however I look forward to the day they start operating here, too. Although I do not believe the experience would be a cheap one, I think it would be well worth trying.