Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with a special someone or just celebrating yourself, treat yourself to Love Is Blind. The new reality web series from Dekkoo is a fun, intimate dating show that dispenses with Bachelor-like crowds all vying for one guy. Instead, each episode, hosted by Mike Kelton, puts two guys on a blind date and looks at how chemistry unfolds—what’s that moment when attractive singles hit it off, or miss their shot.
Mike Dreyden was a participant in the show whose date, also named Mike, shared a past in sex work. The two started their date by diving head first into some yoga, a trip to the High Line, and dinner that evening.
We spoke with Dreyden about how he approached his blind date.
OUT: So–going on a blind date and being filmed. Did you feel any pressure?
Mike Dreyden: It was a unique experience. I approached it trying not to acknowledge the camera, you know, trying to ignore the camera in the room. But it was fun; we filmed the episode a couple of years ago, and at the time, reality shows were a dime a dozen. But nothing really gay-oriented.
Well, last year we had Logo’s Finding Prince Charming. What do you think makes Love Is Blind different for a queer audience?
If we make the comparison, I would say this seemed more like a genuine dating show. People can get to know someone, have fun, maybe even make a little fun of each other. Big dating shows like The Bachelor, it’s a competition—who going to one-up someone, who going to get who into bed first. It’s not as authentic an experience.
Were you surprised when the blind date turned into a steamy yoga session?
I walked in with a completely open mind. I think I did know about the yoga; I still have one of the yoga mats from that day. I didn’t expect Mike to show up in his underwear—which I was not complaining about.
Both of you talked openly about your past with sex work. What’s that conversation usually like for you on dates?
I don’t generally bring it up on a first date. It’s not something you can just come out and say “Once upon a time …” [Laughs.] But I’ve never hid from my past. When I do talk about it, the conversation turns to the sex business or these stereotypes, like how the actors are high. The whole date just falls apart because it feels like talking about work.
What was your best takeaway from doing the show?
I just enjoyed the concept of two individuals, going forward together, seeing where our interest aligned. Thinking, “oh, maybe this is the one.” It just felt really authentic.
Love Is Blind is available to stream Tuesday, Feb. 14, on Dekkoo.com.