Last night my friend Sara did something completely bold.

She went on a first date totally blind.

It’s not that she was set up by two friends or any of the traditional definitions of “blind dating,” it’s that she had dinner with a guy she’d met at a party, and didn’t do a single google search before the date.

It’s not as though she didn’t have time. She met him last Friday night. He called her on Saturday. They decided to grab dinner the following Wednesday. If Sara was anything like me, by the time she was sitting across from him at dinner, she’d know where he went to school, form an opinion on the attractiveness of his ex and perhaps feel a little anguish about that poem he wrote in high school about the death of his family’s parakeet.

“I’m not doing that anymore,” Sara told me. “There was a time in history when people didn’t pre-screen dates based on someone’s Internet profile. Call me retro, but I want those simpler times.”

I was tempted to remind Sara that there was also a time when people didn’t have penicillin, but this didn’t seem like the place to push my luck.

Unlike Sara, I try and find out everything there is to know about someone before being trapped in a bar with them. And, if I say so myself, I’m quite good at it.

But I only use my powers for good! And, like a true stalker, I never reveal the level of detail I know about a person’s life. For example, if a guy opens up to me on a date about Fernando the parakeet and the loss he felt, I’m attentive. I show no signs of the fact that I already know that Fernando was buried at sea during a tribute fit for a Viking.

I realize that if my own tricks are used against me, I don’t fare so well. I mean, does any dude really want to go on a date with a girl who spends a day a week writing a dating column? Probably not (and I know from experience that I don’t want to date a guy who wants to be written about). And yet, the moment I meet someone, I take right to the google. Heck, if my friends meet someone, the first thing I do find out everything there is to know about them (note: why don’t people keep their facebook profiles private? Are they really certain they want anyone with a search engine looking into the antics from their frat brother’s bachelor party?). It is just normal, right?

But it’s not normal for Sara. Sara had an amazing date last night. She called me on her walk home totally smitten with the guy. I retain that she’d feel those same butterflies even with the added help of a google search, she completely disagrees.

So we’re left with this: is it normal to pre-screen potential daters? Or are we better off living in the dark?

To google or not to google. That is the question.


Joy Engel lives and works in Portland, Maine where she tweets far too much and solves the occasional murder-mystery while riding around on a bicycle. Everything she writes is her personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its clients.