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0085 The Blind Date

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 85: The Blind Date.

You’re listening to English as a Second Language Podcast episode 85. My name is Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On today’s podcast, we’re going to learn about two people who don’t know each other, going on a blind date. Let’s go!

[start of story]

I broke up with my boyfriend last month. We had gone out for a year and I was ready to settle down but I could tell that he still wanted to play the field before getting married. I don't think Don ever cheated on me, but I finally realized that he wasn't the marrying type.

My friend Sheila was thrilled to hear that we had split up. She never liked Don and she was anxious to set me up with some of her single friends. I told her that I didn't want to go on any blind dates but she kept telling me about this guy, Alan. She thought he was my soul mate and she was sure that he would be my Mr. Right. According to Sheila, he was good-looking, he had a good sense of humor, he was bright and witty, and was kind and considerate. In the end, I told Sheila to give him my number. He called and we agreed to meet for coffee.

I walked into the café and looked around. I saw a nice-looking guy sitting by himself near the window.

Lucy: Hi. Are you Alan?

Alan: Yeah. You must be Lucy.

Lucy: Did you have trouble finding the café?

Alan: No, I've actually been here before. I'm really glad you could make it. Sheila has been telling me all about you.

Lucy: Well, Sheila likes to play matchmaker. But it's nice to meet you, too.

Alan: To tell the truth, I'm not big on blind dates.

Lucy: Yeah, me neither but I'm glad I came.

Alan: Yes, so am I.

[end of story]

Today, we go on a “blind date.” A “date” is what two people who are romantically interested in do, such as going out to dinner or going to see a movie. A “blind date” is when the two people don’t know each other and they’ve never seen each other before. Hence, therefore, we call it a “blind date.” “Blind,” meaning, of course, if you can’t see. The woman in the story says that she “broke up” with her boyfriend last month. “To break up with someone” is that when you end a relationship, a romantic relationship, between a boyfriend and a girlfriend, for example. It can be both a noun and a verb. You can say, “I’m breaking up with you,” meaning, “I’m not going to see you anymore romantically,” or you can say, “He had a very difficult break up,” a “break up” meaning the event of breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Lucy mentions that she and her boyfriend had “gone out” for a year and she was ready to “settle down.” “To go out,” in this case, means to see someone in a romantic way. For example, two people, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, if they’re “going out,” that means that they’re in a relationship. So, you may say to someone, “Are you going out with anyone right now?” You don’t mean that you are leaving your house. You mean, “Are you in a relationship with someone?” Usually, we say this before someone gets married. After that, you can’t go out anymore. Well, you’re not supposed to. Anyway, Lucy said she wants to “settle down.” “To settle down,” here, means “to get married,” so when a woman or a man says, “I want to settle down,” they mean, “I want to get married.” “Settle down,” two words, as a verb also means to be calm, to be relaxed. If you say to a young child, “Settle down,” you mean, “Don’t be so excited.”

Lucy mentioned that her boyfriend, Don, still wanted to “play the field” before getting married. “To play the field” means that you want to date or go out on dates with other people, that you want to see different people before you go on a – before you get married or settle down. “To see other people,” here, means that you are, again, in a romantic relationship. Lucy says she doesn’t think Don ever “cheated on” her but that he wasn’t the “marrying type.” “To cheat on someone” in a romantic relationship means that you see someone else, you go out on a date with someone else while you’re still in the relationship with the other person. So, you have a girlfriend and you meet another girl at a party and you decide to go on a date with her. Or if you’re married and your husband is away on a business trip and you decide to date or see or get romantically involved with the mailman, that would be cheating on our husband. Now, that’s why you shouldn’t go on very long trips.

Lucy said that her friend or her boyfriend, Don, wasn’t the “marrying type.” “The marrying type” just means someone who’s willing or interested in getting married someday. Her friend, Sheila, was “thrilled” to hear that the two of them had “split up.” “To be thrilled” means to be very excited, to be very happy. Someone says, “I’m thrilled you came to dinner,” they mean, “I’m very happy you came to dinner.” “To split up” is the same as to break up. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston “split up.” That means they separated. And that could be true for a boyfriend or girlfriend; it could be true for a husband and wife. Her friend Sheila wants to “set her up” with some of her single friends. “To set someone up with someone else” means that you are going to arrange for those people to meet each other and to go out on a date. This can be very painful sometimes if you don’t like the person they set you up with. This sort of date is called a “blind date” because you don’t get to see or meet the other person before you go out to dinner or see a movie. Sheila tells Lucy that her friend, Alan, is her “soul mate” and that he would be her “Mr. Right.” A “soul mate” (soul) soul, is someone who thinks like you, who has the same opinions, someone who is so close to you that they are like your own soul, your own force that keeps you alive. To say you are going to be someone’s “Mr. Right” is an expression that girls and women use to describe their ideal husband, the perfect husband, or simply, the person that they are going to marry someday. “You are Mr. Right” for that person. We don’t say “Ms. Right” or “Mrs. Right” but we do say “Mr. Right.”

Sheila says this friend of hers, Alan, is “good-looking,” has a “good sense of humor” he’s “bright,” he’s “witty,” he’s “kind” and he’s “considerate.” Now, she’s not talking about me. “Good-looking” is someone who is very attractive, someone that other people will find physically attractive. A “good sense of humor” means they can laugh, they can tell a joke, they like to laugh. “To be bright” here means to be intelligent. We say, “He’s a very bright guy,” we mean he’s a very smart guy. “To be witty” (witty) means that you say clever things, that you can think of a funny or interesting way to say something. That’s to be “witty.” “To be kind,” of course, is to be nice. And “to be considerate” is to be thinking of other people, to consider the feelings and thoughts of other people. Lucy said that “in the end,” she told Sheila to give him her number. “In the end,” here, means at the conclusion, she finally decided after some time, to tell Sheila to give her Alan’s number. “Her number,” here, or rather, “Alan’s number,” means his telephone number. We sometimes just say, “Give me your number.” We mean, “give me your telephone number.”

So, Alan and Lucy decide to meet at a café and she describes him, Alan, as “a nice-looking guy sitting by himself near the window.” “Nice-looking” is the same as good-looking, attractive, physically attractive. Lucy and Alan introduce each other. “Hi, are you Alan?” “Yes, you must be Lucy.” “You must be Lucy” is what you would say to someone that you haven’t met before but you know that that’s the right person. “So, you must be John,” meaning I know you’re John even if I’ve never met you. You wouldn’t say that to someone who you know already. Lucy says that Sheila likes to play “matchmaker.” A “matchmaker,” all one word (matchmaker), is someone who likes to set people up with other people, that is, likes to match people who they know and get them to go on dates and be romantically interested in each other.

Alan says, “To tell the truth, I’m not big on blind dates.” The expression, “to tell the truth,” we use when we’re going to tell someone something that is very honest, that might be a little bit too much. So, we’re saying, “Well, to tell the truth, I don’t like this movie.” It’s often with something that’s negative but not always. Alan says he’s not “big on blind dates.” When you say, “I’m big on something,” you mean you really like that thing. “I’m big on watching football on Sunday. I really like to do it.” The opposite is to be “not big on something.”

Now let’s listen to the dialogue again, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

I broke up with my boyfriend last month. We had gone out for a year and I was ready to settle down but I could tell that he still wanted to play the field before getting married. I don't think Don ever cheated on me, but I finally realized that he wasn't the marrying type.

My friend Sheila was thrilled to hear that we had split up. She never liked Don and she was anxious to set me up with some of her single friends. I told her that I didn't want to go on any blind dates but she kept telling me about this guy, Alan. She thought he was my soul mate and she was sure that he would be my Mr. Right. According to Sheila, he was good-looking, he had a good sense of humor, he was bright and witty, and was kind and considerate. In the end, I told Sheila to give him my number. He called and we agreed to meet for coffee.

I walked into the café and looked around. I saw a nice-looking guy sitting by himself near the window.

Lucy: Hi. Are you Alan?

Alan: Yeah. You must be Lucy.

Lucy: Did you have trouble finding the café?

Alan: No, I've actually been here before. I'm really glad you could make it. Sheila has been telling me all about you.

Lucy: Well, Sheila likes to play matchmaker. But it's nice to meet you, too.

Alan: To tell the truth, I'm not big on blind dates.

Lucy: Yeah, me neither but I'm glad I came.

Alan: Yes, so am I.

[end of story]

Be sure to visit our website at www.eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

ESL Podcast is produced by the Center for Educational Development in Los Angeles, California. This podcast is copyright 2005. No part of this podcast may be sold or redistributed without the expressed written permission of the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to break up – to end a romantic relationship

* After being together for eight months, Raisa realized that the relationship was not giving her what she needed, so she broke up with her boyfriend.


to go out – to date; to be in a romantic relationship with someone

* Damien and Salome liked each other a lot and were very attracted to each other, so they decided to go out.


to settle down – to commit to one romantic relationship, usually with the desire to get married and have children

* Francesco was tired of short-term relationships, and he felt it was time to find a girl he could get serious about and settle down with her.


to play the field – to be in a romantic relationship with more than one person; to date multiple people, instead of staying in a relationship with one person

* There was a nice guy who wanted a serious relationship with Octavia, but Octavia thought she would rather play the field while she was still young.


to cheat on – to commit to a romantic relationship with one person but to be romantically or sexually involved with someone else without the knowledge of one’s romantic partner

* Troy was hurt when he found out that his girlfriend was cheating on him with his best friend.


the marrying type – the sort of person who wants to get married; a person who plans to get married to someone

* Elvira was definitely the marrying type and wanted to find a good guy to marry and have kids with as soon as possible.


thrilled – excited; very happy

* The students were thrilled when Mr. Cassano canceled their test.


to split up – to end a romantic relationship with someone

* Hye and Maggie tried dating, but they split up after a few months.


to set (someone) up with – to plan a date (a romantic meeting) for someone else; to introduce someone to another person, hoping that the two people will form a romantic relationship with each other

* Walter’s sister set him up with her best friend because she thought that the two of them could be happy together.


blind date – a romantic meeting where the two people have not met before

* Lena did not expect the blind date to go well, but she was surprised when she learned that the guy she was meeting was both handsome and kind.


soul mate – the person one is meant to love and live with for the rest of one’s life; the person one is meant to fall in love with

* Dylan loved his girlfriend and was beginning to think that she was his soul mate.


Mr. Right – the perfect or ideal man; the correct or “right” man for someone to be in a romantic relationship with

* After dating so many guys who were completely wrong for her, Viviana was more determined than ever to find her Mr. Right.


good looking – physically attractive; handsome or beautiful

* Andre was a good looking guy who attracted many beautiful women.


good sense of humor – able to laugh and tell jokes; enjoy laughing and not too serious

* Mrs. Borland had a good sense of humor and all the kids in the neighborhood enjoyed visiting her and laughing at her funny stories.


witty – clever when talking or writing; smart and able to show one’s intelligence in an entertaining way

* People liked being around Silas because he was witty and interesting to talk to.


nice looking – attractive; appearing to be kind

* Colin thought Hyon was nice looking, even though Dan disagreed with him.


matchmaker – someone who tries to get other people into romantic relationships

* When Beatrice’s best female friend and best male friend both became single, she decided to act as a matchmaker and try to get the two of them together.


big on – fond of; a supporter or believer of

* Mr. Hull was not usually big on new technology, but his grandchildren eventually convinced him to buy a computer.

Culture Note
New Spins on Internet Dating

Everybody knows about Internet dating. If you are “single” (not married) and want to meet someone for a romantic relationship, you spend hours writing a “profile” (brief information about oneself) and selecting the right picture to “upload” (transfer information using a computer) to the dating company’s website for others to see. Then, you spend even more hours looking at other online profiles and waiting for responses to your own.

But maybe you’re “old-school” (like to do things the old-fashioned way) and try to meet other singles in the traditional way by going out to places where singles might be and trying to talk to and meet people face to face. Both Internet dating and trying to meet singles in person have their “appeals” (attractive points). What if you could bring together “the best of both worlds” (the best parts of each method)?

Recently, “a slew of” (many) new dating companies are trying to do exactly that. One company allows you to have an online profile on its website and to direct people to it if you want to, keeping your contact information private until you want to release it. This company gives you cards with “intriguing” (interesting, with a little mystery) messages like this one: “Look up. You might miss something.” Below this message are the words “find me,” a “code” (set of numbers or letters that give you access to something), and the address of a Website for singles. When you visit the website and put in the code, you’ll see the profile of the person who gave you that card.

Another company with a similar service specializes in “flirty” (behaving in a way to attract other people, usually in an amusing way) with messages such as:

- “I’m looking forward to our first date.”

- “I am “totally” (very much) “cooler” (better, more interesting) than your date.”

With these cards, when you see someone you like, perhaps someone in a crowd, all you need to do is to hand the card to this person and walk away. If that person is interested, he or she will “check you out” (find out more about you) online.