Independent Lens


First Dates: From Awkward to Promising | Blind Love ep. 2

Getting past that first date can be hard, maybe even harder for people who are blind and have low vision. One thing that's universal: AWKWARD-ness. Mario has a surprise for his date, while Solomon goes on his first date since losing his sight, and it seems to be going well. Joni can’t decide if she wants to take things to the next level with a good friend or keep things casual--and, yes, awkward.

AIRED: February 15, 2020 | 0:09:41

- I do not list in my online profiles

that I am totally blind.

- No hits, no hits on Tinder.

- You try to catfish the girl,

she gonna leave you at the table.

- Don't say that!

- The person I date definitely has to be able to dance,

or at least be willing to try it.

- Okay, I change my mind.

(laughs) - Hello?

- Angelina, it's Solomon, from the other night.

How you doing?

Got a date.

(upbeat music)

- [Mario] My MO for dating is I usually pick the place

and I get there

much earlier than my date

because when I get to the restaurant,

in case I need assistance getting to the table,

I don't want them knowing or seeing

any of that incidentally.

- Well, hi there.

- Hi, how's it going? - How are you?

It's going very well.

- Good, good, good.

It's a pleasure to meet you.

- It's a pleasure to meet you, too.

- I don't know how to say I'm blind,

so this is gonna make it a little bit harder

when they come to the table.

So, there is something about me,

I'm not sure whether you picked up on it yet, have you?

- I think I've noticed.

- Thank you.

- I'm looking at your eyes and they just seem

very unique to me.

- Unique how?

- I'm too afraid to say it.

- The fact that they're blueish-gray.

- Yes, yes.


- Something that I don't normally tell people

before I meet up with them, but, I'm--

Yeah, so, I am totally blind.

- Okay.

- Albeit, people usually do not know it.

And there's silence, and then I gotta move my foot around

under the table to make sure that she hasn't skedaddled

(laughs) in those moments.

I eat here all the time.

Can I make a recommendation for you?

- More than willing to try anything.

- She would like to try the mango habanero wings.

Let's do the bone-in, 'cause they're usually bigger.

- I'm a total wuss when it comes to spicy food,

are the wings that terribly spicy?

- No, it's just a kick.

- It's just a kick.

- Appease me by trying one.

It's amazing, trust me.

- Thank you so much.

- The first thing that a blind person

is going to notice about you

is your voice.

You're full of a lot of gentility,

and I think that is refreshing.

- Aw, thank you.

- An attractive smile

for a blind person sounds attractive.

- Thank you so much.

- Can I get some sweet potato french fries, actually?

- [Waiter] Sweet potato fries?

- Yes.

Let the kick get you.

Let the kick get you, Carly.

Are you okay, is it too spicy?

- It's a got a bit of a zip to it.

- What's the difference

between a kick and a zip?

- You know what, I don't know what the difference is.

(Mario laughs)

(all laugh)

- Just be careful because it's like-

That's cute, I like this. - This?

I'm on a mission.

I wanna find Solomon a nice girl, you know?

You remember Daniella.

This is Michael, you know Jim.

This is Solomon's brother.

He has such a personality that like

once you start talking to the guy,

it's like, you know, rainbows.

And, obviously, Solomon.


- Hi you.

- How you doin'?

- Good. - Good.


Thanks for coming.

- No problem.

Oops, sorry.

- [Jenna] What, makeup on the shirt?

- Yeah.

- [Jenna] It happens to all of us.

- That's why guys get in trouble,

come home that are married

and have makeup on their shirt.

- Yeah, they keep shirts in the car.


- All right, do you have any kids at all?

- I do, four.

- I would have never guessed.

- They're adoptive children.

- Oh!

- I do want a biological Mario Jr. one day, I really do.

- Right, right.

Well, may I tell you one thing?

And I'll be completely honest.

Okay? - Sure.


- A lot of people have asked me whether I want kids

in my future and I've just preferred-

- They be adopted.

- Yeah, to-

Well, actually no, not adopted.

Just to have no kids.

- Mm-hmm.

- I know, that sounds terrible.

But, you know, some kids make me completely uncomfortable.

Like, when I've been to an airport or out in public,

and kids start acting up.

I'm like I gotta get out of here,

I can't take this anymore.

- Okay.

This is when the conversation gets awkward.

The time is pushing me close to one of my appointments,

where I have to go get one of my kids.

- Aw.

- She's speaking to a person

who is passionate about his kids.

And then you're all of a sudden,

you're not responding the same way

you were responding before.

Can we get the check if you don't mind?

(peppy music)

- First time I met Joni, I literally opened a door

and there she was.

- Thank you, sir.

- Yes ma'am.

She's got a really big smile and really big eyes

and a really big personality

and it just kind of filled up, you know, everything.

People just talk to her.

Like, she just attracts people,

like I'm not the only one.

- Would you like to dance, it's a different class.

- Sure!

- It's a two-step, right?

- It is a two-step.

- All right, go easy on me.

- She's full of joy.

I don't know, she just kind of spreads joy, so...

- [Joni] There's such an emotional connection

between you and your dance partner.

You know, it can be very intimate.

It's nonverbal.

It's all about balance and transfer

of each other's energies.

(pop ballad music)

It's like a saucer step.

- [Joni] Blindness makes it so that

I have to rely a lot more

on the physical connection of a dance partner.

Be able to trust

that they're not going to let you fall. (laughs)

Just like, yeah,

I'd say that's a lot like relationships.

- Thank you very much.

- Thank you, sir.


James Delaney,

- Yes?

- How's it going?

- Awesome, how are you?

- Not bad.

Do you wanna dance?

- My hope and to be, you know, her boyfriend.

In these circumstances,

she has always pushed back on that idea

for a variety of reasons.

Like, she hates the word relationship, for example.

- I mean, like, we don't have to stay the whole time, dude.

- Oh, yeah.

- You know, if you wanna leave-

- It's all good.

But I never, never quit.

In a respectful way, of course.


how about

a real date sometime?

Would you like to do that with me?

Would you like to go out with me?


- Sure, yeah.

So, James has feelings for me

and I'm still trying to decide if I have feelings for him.


Wow, yeah, okay.

- Yeah?

- Yeah, it's complicated, I think to me.


All right, you just let me know.

- I'm gonna let you know.

- (singing) Triple step, a-rock step

(jazz trumpet blast)

- We went up on Jenna's roof.

It was like, freaking beautiful up there.

The wind was blowing really hard,

I was like God, it's so nice up here.

I wanna put my bed up there for the week,

so damn nice. - Can you imagine?

- It's usually a pretty awkward situation.

I'll start talking to a girl.

Usually they'll think I'm drunk

because I'm hanging on to a buddy.

And then once they know that I'm blind,

I'm instantly in the friend zone.

Did you meet Jenna in Florida?

- Mm-mm.

- Oh, so it was up here.

- Yeah, like my parents would come to visit.

She taught me how to straighten my hair with an iron.

- Oh, man.

I honestly think if I do find love,

it's gonna be somebody in my personal group,

somebody that I meet through a friend.

- She taught me to put bra straps in my hair,

like as a headband.

I don't know where she got that from.

- Really? Never heard of that one.

- Me either, until I came here.

I came to visit her one summer

and she's like, "Oh look, I have these headbands,

look at all the colors."

I'm like, "Those are bra straps."

(laughs) - Those are bra straps.

- So what do you think?

- He's really nice.

- Yeah.

It's kind of funny, right?

Cause you didn't realize that he was blind.

- He actually has really nice eyes.

But maybe cause I'm so focused, I just see sparkles.

Like I don't-

- Oh.

- He acts so natural about it.

You don't even catch it, you can't even see it.

- So natural.

Like, when I met him, no idea.

Until somebody said something to me,

I was like, "Really?"

- Do you ever go to Florida anymore?

- Not really.

- No? You don't have anybody there anymore?

- I do, I have family there.

Just, I don't know.

I work a lot,

it's a little hard.

- You should probably come visit me.

- I should.

Now I have a reason more to go, right?

- Exactly.

- I like him a lot.

You don't meet many people like that.

He's just very genuine and I don't think that comes often,

with sight or not, you know?

The fact he really can't see me,

he has to go off of how I sound

and how I am as a person,

that says a lot about himself.

You know?

- [Man] Everybody cheers,

good time with good people.

- We love you So-lo!

- [Solomon] Love you.

- Happy vacation!

- Happy vacation!

- Angelina, we hit it off,

we were talking for awhile

and it didn't even bother her that I'm blind

and she just kept talking to me like I was a normal person.

So that was-

- [Automated Voice] Friday, 9:52 AM from Angelina:

Hey Solomon, I had a really nice time last night.

Let's do it again before you go back to Florida.

9:56 AM from Solomon:

I know you're working tonight,

but do you want to go out afterwards?

8:15 PM from Solomon: Hey, just checking in.

8:32 PM from Solomon: You okay?

- And so, I don't know, it was weird.

It kinda like fizzled out.

Somebody got in her ear or something,

I have no idea but-

- [Automated Voice] I'm leaving Monday morning in case

you want to get together.

No new mess-

No new messages.

Conversation deleted.

- She was the breath of fresh air, for sure.

Somebody will be lucky to get her.

Just won't be me. (smirks)

- [Man] Hold up, Simon have you been on a date before?

- I've always wanted to go on one.

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

Never kissed a girl before.

- You literally went on a blind date with a blind man.


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