Independent Lens

FULL EPISODE

Is Dating Different When You’re Blind | Blind Love ep. 1

Diving into the dating game, single blind millennials are on a mission to be recognized for who they are--they don't want pity, they want a serious relationship. Meet church musician Mario, who doesn't want to reveal his blindness in his online dating profile; Solomon, an easygoing beer connoisseur who didn't lose his sight until recently; and Joni, looking for a guy who loves ballroom dancing.

AIRED: February 14, 2020 | 0:08:58
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TRANSCRIPT

- People say, "It'd be easier to date a blind person,

" 'cause they just care about your inner beauty."

Well, we do... - [Man] I basically just

want someone to spend time with.

- And we don't.

- [Woman] Like, breakups really suck,

and they hurt and whatever, and I am jaded.

- Blind people problems.

(laughing)

- Becoming independent was an act of rebellion.

- I am looking for love.

Is that kind of a weird thing?

"Looking" for love?

(xylophone music)

- 42!

(inaudible)

My name is Mario.

I'm 30 years old,

single, and totally blind.

- Whoop, that was a good one!

- [Mario] I have four foster children

that I'm in the process of adopting.

So, it becomes a quadruple challenge to actually date.

We trying to change that.

Thank you, Jesus.

(laughing)

- What's going on?

- Open the door jerk.

- What's up, man?

- What's goin' on?

- Nothin' much.

Well, I have another date.

- What happened to the last one?

- Too much going on.

The blindness thing was a stretch for her.

Some women shy away from me because of my blindness.

- [Phone] I've turned off the voiceover.

- Now the phone is officially no longer in blind man set.

Yeah, take a look at her picture.

- Oh, this is her?

- [Mario] Yeah.

- Mm-hmm.

- I love mm-hmm. - I like her.

She's a good choice.

- I do not list in my online profiles

that I am totally blind.

(sighing)

- So, you just never talked about it at all?

- No.

- Oh.

I mean, it's a throw of the dice, man,

with anybody 'cause, I mean,

me personally, you know,

you can't just be showing up blind and whatever.

You know what I'm saying?

- You can't show up blind without notification

is what you're saying? - Hell no!

You can't just show up blind, man.

- 'Cause the part about it is,

I go back to it, they are so into me,

they're so into the picture we put up,

compliments galore

and the minute I say I'm blind,

it's like, it's rejection.

Like, everybody - Nobody wants to be rejected.

- Nobody wants to be rejected,

but to be rejected the moment you say,

"I'm blind" is frustrating.

- But it's a whole new world for them.

- So, you think I should tell her ahead of time.

- Uh.

(traffic noises)

- [Jenna] We're setting up Soloman's tinder right now.

- My name is Solomon.

I'm 32 years old.

Looking for a woman that wakes up and goes,

"You know what?

"I really wanna be with a blind person

"for the rest of my life."

- [Jenna] "I am a 32 year old man

"looking for a woman I can bring home to mom."

- [Solomon] Ugh.

Woman want the typical guy

that takes the kids to T-ball practice

and I'm not able to do all that on my own.

- How many dates you been going on?

- Zero.

I've been on one in, like, 2 years.

They just think, "Oh, this is a blind guy."

You know, "Screw this."

But if they, you know, see me in action,

see me in person, personality and all that.

They realize, like,

"Where has this guy been all my life?"

You know? - [Man] Maybe you should

put something in there, you know,

lost my sight two years ago, hasn't slowed me down much.

- Yeah, that's good.

I'm still the great guy I was before.

(somber music)

Except now I'm fresh out.

I was 20 years old, I had perfect vision before that.

Every few years it would get a little worse.

The doc told me that it would probably go in my 40s.

I was like, "Oh, by then I'll be married,

I'll have kids and all that."

Two years ago, when I was 30, it went all the way.

Totally blind.

Cannot see anything.

And I'm like, "Oh crap, how am I gonna find somebody now?"

No hits.

No hits on Tinder.

- It's been days already, no hits.

- No hits.

(jazzy music)

- [Joni] I still have an idea of my dream guy in my head.

- [Dance Instructor] Off to the left a little bit.

- [Joni] Good style, darker hair, thin,

not too tall 'cause I'm short.

And dancing is, like, it's non-negotiable.

(laughing)

- [Dance Instructor] Inside turn and down.

- My name is Joni and I'm 32 years old.

- Do you have anything going on this weekend?

- Uh, yeah!

I'm gonna bring my friend James to a dance social.

- Tomorrow?

- Yeah! - Yeah yeah yeah, fun fun fun!

- He's kind of been asking me out, you know.

The person I date definitely has to be able to dance

or at least be willing to try it.

So like, he decided that he was gonna learn how to dance

to like, you know, impress me.

And so - Showing some interest by

doing a little class here and there?

- Yes, exactly.

So he's trying.

I feel like I'm better at dancing

than I am at relationships.

I've gotta figure out if I like him or not

'cause I don't really know.

(laughing) I'm not sure!

Like, you know, if I say yes then

that's gonna mean more than I'm ready to like...

- Mm, commitment.

- Yeah.

At this point, settling down and

making a commitment is kinda scary.

- [Dance Instructor] All right, bring it in. (laughing)

Good job. - Awesome, thanks Jonas.

- Have a good day. - Thank you.

- You're cool.

- [Jenna] Did you call my girlfriend?

- Actually I'd love to call her now.

I'm kinda nervous. - Wanna call her now?

- Yeah.

Jenna was on a mission to set me up with her friend.

A girl named Angelina.

It's good because I met her the other night

and she wants to hang out again.

- Well it won't be awkward. - No, yeah.

- [Angelina On Phone] Hello?

- Angelina, it's Solomon, Jenna's friend

from the other night.

How you doin'?

- [Angelina] Hi, how are you?

- Doin' good, how you doin'?

- [Angelina] Good.

- Good, hey I was callin', I'm not sure if you have plans

tonight or anything but a few of us were gonna go out

and I want to see if you want to come.

- [Angelina] That sounds like fun.

- All right, I will see you there.

- [Angelina] For sure, I'll see you too.

- All right, have a good day.

- [Angelina] You too.

- All right, bye.

Yeah!

(laughing) Yeah!

Got a date!

- I'm a blind person, but I got beauty secrets.

(laughing)

I'm obsessed with what I look like.

You have such pretty hair!

It's jet black and curly!

Say mh-hm, I got lucky with the genes.

My teeth have to feel a certain way,

my face has to feel a certain way,

an outfit I put on has to feel a certain way.

Being attractive makes it easier

for people to look past my blindness.

- Hey, move over some 'cause your glare from the bathroom

is messing up the color.

- Okay, I'd be glad to move over

once I know which direction.

- Oh I'm sorry, move to the left!

(laughing)

There you go, stop.

Okay button that bottom button.

Yeah that looks nice, what the pants look like?

- [Mario] You don't think the pants are too fitted?

- [Nora] I can't even see the pants

'cause you got the phone down on the floor.

- [Mario] All right, you on your way?

- [Nora] Yeah.

(upbeat music)

- Beauty is something people develop an understanding of

based on what they see in popular culture.

I take pride in my appearance but I'm not as worried

about looking like movie stars

as maybe somebody who sees them every day

because I can't see them.

(car honking)

- Ooh hell.

You honking that horn like a lunatic!

This a nice neighborhood. - Get in the car!

- [Mario] Turn the music down!

- [Nora] Okay, you had me waitin' over here

for a long time again, Mario.

- [Mario] That's all right, you got gas.

- My brother will pretty much just call me

and say, "I'm going on a date

"and I want my sister to take me."

A lot.

Are those glasses clean?

- [Mario] I don't know, you tell me,

you're the one with the vision.

(laughing)

- Oh my God!

- [Mario] Let me get your opinion on her,

I did not tell her that I was blind.

- Why didn't you tell her you was blind?

How you know she wanna deal with a blind man?

- [Mario] If you were in her position--

- I would get mad.

And I would leave.

- Are you serious? - Yes I really would.

But you can't catfish people.

- You have a blind brother and you about to get cussed out.

- Well I'm about to get cussed out,

you tryin' to catfish the girl.

She don't know what's goin' on.

She gonna leave you at the table.

(upbeat music)

- I brought James to our dance social

hoping he won't feel too self-conscious

about dancing in front of people.

- Okay, I've changed my mind.

(laughing)

- It's gonna be okay.

James has been taking dance classes to impress me.

Thank you, sir.

And it's working.

(laughing)

(muffled conversation)

- She's here.

- Look at Solomon's face, he's getting nervous!

- [Mario] In the pursuit of love.

- [Nora] Get it together, we're going in here,

blind date, blind date.

- I've only dated white girls.

I'm sorry, I'm being honest, am I allowed to just say that?

- Ever dated a blind person before?

- No I have not!

- No, I have not.

- No.

- Would you?

I've never held a girl's hand before.

Never kissed a girl before.

- Well then how did you know that you wanted to marry him?

- I have no idea.

Like, breakups really suck and they hurt

and whatever and I am jaded.

- Sorry, I lost ya.

- I feel like I just didn't land that very well.

- She hates the word "relationship."

- It does definitely freak me out.

- Should probably come visit me.

- I should.

- [Solomon] Once they know that I'm blind

- When I met him, no idea.

- I'm instantly in the friend zone.

- She might be on the prowl for a husband,

which, you know, I'm on the prowl for a wife.

(laughing)

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