For many singles, being sent on a blind date is hardly a new idea. But, what if you were actually blind?
Craig Shanahan from The Blind Chef Café & Dessert Bar is combining the concepts for his inaugural Blind Speed Dating event, to be held at the venue at 6pm on Thursday, December 1.
For Mr Shanahan, the concept was inspired not only by his own experiences, but also those of his close friends.
“I’ve got a lot of different friends that I talk to that are vision impaired, and they just talk to me about using apps, and how they find it hard with people knowing they’re vision impaired, they don’t really get a look in,” he said.
“I thought, ‘How can I create a way where people may not know they’re vision impaired initially?
“Also, with myself now becoming vision impaired, I’ll talk to girls and find out if they’re someone I’m interested in based on different senses.
“I thought it would be a cool, unique way of getting people involved in experiencing what it’s like to have to find someone that they may like with no sight.”
The event will see 14 men and 14 women, who can be vision impaired or sighted, engage in rounds of speed dating.
Sighted participants will be blindfolded, encouraging them to utilise other means of getting to know someone.
“You have to use other senses, such as, if they were attracted to their voice or their personality, because obviously you can’t see someone’s figure, so you’re going off other things about them that may attract you,” he said.
Mr Shanahan is hoping that the night will raise some awareness of the experiences of vision impaired individuals on the dating scene.
“The main thing is the experience, it’s definitely a bit of a different one, but I think it will be a cool little experiment,” he said.
But, he’s also excited to see some sparks fly in his popular cafe.
“I’m hoping that some people might take it seriously and actually come here to find a partner or go on a second date,” Mr Shanahan said.
“For me, the ideal situation would be that someone actually does come out of it and say, ‘Hey, I’m really interested in learning more about you, would you like to go on another date?’, and create a friendship or even a further bond from coming to the night.”
Tickets for the event are $35, and include an antipasto plate for individuals and a drink on arrival.
For more information or to book for the Blind Speed Dating event, head to thebccafe.com.au.
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.