“Dating In The Dark” Wonders If Looks Matter

If my estimates are correct, in three weeks “The Bachelorette” concludes its latest run. What are we going to watch on Monday nights?! Oh don’t worry, ABC knows they have a reality TV dating show void to fill and “Dating In The Dark,” premiering on July 20th at 8 pm, is their latest gimmick. According the ABC.com, “Three single men and three single women move into a house together, and get to know each other and form bonds in total darkness.” The ultimate question — do looks really matter? Um, yes. Which is why they cast realistic, but completely attractive people for this little experiment. In the end, whichever “couples” emerge into the light won’t be disappointed by a schlubby bald guy or a mousy twig with bad teeth at the other end of the hand they’re holding. Still…I gotta admit, I’m psyched to see how this all goes down. Dating in the dark is not an entirely new concept. There are actual “dark” restaurants and bars in the U.S. and in Europe, which keep the light so low, you can’t see the lady you’re sharing an appetizer with or the dude who’s buying you a dirty martini. Taking away an entire sense does enhance the others — smell, touch, hearing, and taste — and can make for a pretty erotic, if bizarre, experience.

But what if you had to get to know someone, like, really get to know them, without being able to make eye contract, witness their body language, or, let’s face it, judge how hot they are physically? On one hand, you’d be able to focus on the others thing that contribute to sexual attraction — the sound of their voice, the smell of their skin, the sparks that may or may not fly when they bump into you (as is likely to happen over and over in this particular scenario). Often our initial judgments based on what we see are shallow. Eww, his shoes are hideous. Shouldn’t she get that snaggle-tooth fixed? I’d tower over him in heels. They can also distract from a person’s other, more lovely qualities. The blind never deal with these issues and I’ve often wondered whether they have their own shallow dealbreakers based on things they smell, taste, hear, or touch, but don’t see. The problem with “Dating In The Dark” is that the six people on the show will eventually come face to face once the lights come on and those same dealbreakers will be confronted — will what they’ve learned about the people the haven’t seen up until that point be enough to out weigh them? I guess we’ll find out! [ABC: Dating In The Dark]