Before they ever met, Jackie and Randy Young had a couple of very important things in common: two friends. Thanks to the matchmaking efforts of their mutual buddies, the newlyweds today are, well, newlyweds.
"I was in relationship limbo," Jackie, of Orange, wrote Single Life. "Some good friends, Bruce and Dee Dee, had known Randy for about a year. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and asked Bruce and Dee Dee if they knew of any nice women he could meet.
"They looked at each other and said, 'Jackie!' That's me."
The couple-to-be hit it off from their first telephone conversation. "We talked 44 minutes (as evidenced by his Sprint bill!)," Jackie gushed in her six-page letter, which describes in loving detail--with heaps of exclamation points and underlines--the smitten bride's courtship.
Jackie and Randy rendezvoused at the Balboa Yacht Club. "We went on a bay cruise, drank Korbel, visited some of his friends, ate dinner, went to a couple of places for drinks," Jackie wrote. "I had the most 'wonderful' time.
"I've been on blind dates before and nothing ever happened. This was 'special.' "
So special that 11 months later, on June 18, the perfect couple exchanged wedding vows--much to the delight of their yentas.
"Bruce and Dee Dee were flabbergasted when we told them we were getting married. They couldn't believe it," Jackie said in an interview. "Dee Dee was my matron of honor. She and Bruce were so proud; they were like the parents of the bride."
When the time came, Jackie unapologetically confessed, she was the one to pop the question.
"I kept thinking, 'Why isn't he proposing to me?' Then it struck me--Randy is 38 and had never been married, so he just didn't know how to ask," said Jackie, 32, who had been married before.
Randy, a boat captain, responded with a reply she had predicted. "He said, 'Why would you want me? A boat bum, no money, blah, blah, blah,' " recalled Jackie, who works at a property management firm. "I knew he was going to say that. I said, 'Those aren't reasons, those are excuses.' Eventually, I got a 'yes' out of him."
Not surprisingly, Jackie is an enthusiastic proponent of blind dates. "My advice is: If you have a few bad experiences blind dating, don't write it off," she said. "You should always be open to suggestions, especially from good friends, who know what you're like and have an idea of the kinds of people you might be compatible with."
Newport Beach resident John agreed that singles should give blind dating a chance. "She may not turn out to be the woman of your dreams, but if she's a friend of a friend, you can be relatively certain that she's at least a nice person," he said.
"Until a few years ago, I hadn't been on a blind date since my fraternity days at UCLA," said the 34-year-old accountant. "I'd just ended a long-term relationship, and a female friend who felt sorry for me said, 'Oh, I've got someone you have to meet.' At first I declined, because I felt like: I can get my own dates, thank you. But my friend insisted, so finally I gave in.
"Her girlfriend and I met at a bar. That's always an awkward moment--scanning a bar looking for that stranger who said she'd have on a white dress. You feel like a fool when you walk up to the wrong woman and ask, 'Are you Sally?' and she says, 'So, you're trying to find your blind date, huh?'
"Anyway, it turned out that my friend's friend and I really liked each other. We casually dated for about a year, and we're still friends. If nothing else, you can make new friends through blind dates.
"I was never one for picking up women in bars," John said, then allowed with a laugh, "except for blind dates. But today, it's not altogether safe to go looking for love in singles bars. So if you don't meet people to date at your workplace, and if you'd feel silly going through one of those video dating services, then blind dating is a good option. I've never had a truly rotten experience on a blind date."
Julie, 28, of Huntington Beach said her only complaint about blind dates is that often they don't call back. "That's not a problem I normally have with dating," she said. "But on a number of blind dates I've thought, 'We're really hitting it off'--and then he just never followed up.
"I get the feeling that a lot of times the guy is just doing his friend a favor, and his heart isn't really in it," added Julie, a computer saleswoman. "Someone kept bugging him: 'I've got this great person I want you to meet,' and finally the guy said, 'OK, OK, I'll meet her,' just to shut his friend up."
Annette, 26, said that although she enjoyed blind dating, she has had her fill of it. "There was a certain excitement in not knowing who this person was you were about to meet, and in trusting friends' instincts," said the legal secretary from Corona del Mar. "The first blind date I ever had became my boyfriend for a year and a half, so that turned out well.