Crystal gazing: Having a ball with the Blind Date Challenge

Back by popular demand, it's the Blind Date Challenge, now more extreme than ever! Instead of your basic dinner-and-a-drink date, we'll be adding a twist, sending people out on fun, unusual– sometimes daring– adventures (as if taking the Blind Date Challenge itself isn't enough of a daring adventure).

The background:

 Our first couple: Tim and Shannon. He's a 24-year-old financial analyst who takes monthly trips to the Big Apple; she's a 24-year-old Francophile who moonlights as a hostess at a ritzy downtown restaurant. Both professed an open-minded attitude toward dating and an enthusiasm for new experiences. We decided to put that one to the test by sending them to a psychic.

What happens when you cross A blind date with ESP. A "bang up" good time! If you don't have clairvoyance yourself, you'll just have to read on to find out.

The date:

 Shannon and Tim met at Psychic Readings by Catherine, in that house with the red hand out front on 29N across from the GE/Fanuc headquarters. After having their palms read, they headed a few miles south to the brand spanking new Rivanna Grill.

SHANNON: I got there early because I was afraid I would get lost and be late. Tim showed up at 7 on the dot.

TIM: I was second to arrive, but I think I still arrived on time. Phew.

SHANNON While I was waiting for Tim, I got to talk to Catherine, the palm reader, and find out a little about her. Apparently she comes from a long line of people with psychic powers. I was sooooo nervous. I had to keep wiping my clammy palms on my skirt. My hands were shaking a little bit, too, and I was afraid the palm reader would say something. She was really nice and told me I had nothing to be nervous about.

TIM Surprisingly, I was not nervous. I thought it was going to be fun. Since I didn't have a lot of time to primp because of work, I didn't have time to get nervous!

SHANNON When Tim arrived, I thought, "Oh good– he's cute." He was wearing a red polo tucked into pants and shiny shoes. He wore glasses and looked a little preppy. But that's a good thing. He came in a shiny Beamer, so that got extra points. I was so relieved that he didn't have a third eye or anything that I was happy.

TIM There wasn't really time to get a first impression! We started the evening at a psychic for a palm reading. Once I walked into the room and Shannon was there, we said hello, and the psychic took over. The best readings, apparently, are done individually with a psychic so other spirits do not "interfere" with the reading. First impression, for what it's worth: attractive girl with a nice smile and long blonde hair.

SHANNON I'm really cynical, but she did say some things that I wanted to hear, and it was fun hearing about when I'd meet my soulmate and how many kids I would have. [Any of them named Timmy Jr.?] It's too bad she didn't tell me that I was going to get in an accident as soon as I left her house.

TIM She said I was a kind-hearted soul who does not hurt people. I am also a very private person who does not easily open up to others (only semi-accurate because it's a huge generality). The other parts were hit and miss. She said marriage and children will come to me, but not for a long time because my career will always come first.

SHANNON When I pulled out of the psychic's house to cross 29, I went straight across to turn left and this minivan came across, too, and turned left right into me. Bam! She said she "didn't see me"! I said, "I'm supposed to be somewhere!!!! Give me your info quick!" and sped off. I was shaking, and when I got to the restaurant, Tim was already there. He was oblivious to what had happened. I had to order a glass of wine to calm me down. So, now my driver's side door is crushed and doesn't open, and I have to Dukes of Hazzard it out my window.

TIM I must say Shannon was an extremely good sport about it. Some people would probably want to go home and cry, but she completely forgot about it and decided to have a good time. I was actually really impressed that she didn't freak out about it, because if I were in that position I probably would have! We did have drinks (it's almost necessary if your car gets sideswiped like that!)– white wine for her and a beer for me.

SHANNON: We shared three appetizers– tuna sushi rolls, shrimp quesadilla, and coconut shrimp. Everything was incredible.

TIM: The quality of the food was a pretty good signal dessert would be great. We shared raspberry créme brulee.

SHANNON: We found out we had a lot in common. We both love MTV reality shows like Real World and Road Rules; we've both road-tripped to New Orleans, we both love musicals, we're both left-handed, we both were confused by The Matrix Reloaded.

TIM: I'm a runner, and she's in a running club in town. Her running club goes for a few miles and stops at mandatory checkpoints to chug a beer or take a shot of liquor. How badass is that?

Any rough moments?

 SHANNON: He told me he had a tape of himself singing All for One's "I Swear." I was embarrassed for him.

TIM: Considering that I put my foot in my mouth from time to time, I surprised myself and was pretty smooth (though I guess I'll find out when I read the column). All conversation was pretty darn good.

What next?

SHANNON: We weren't done gabbing after dinner, so we went downtown to Oxo so I could get a chocolate martini. We hung out there for awhile then went to South Street Brewery.

TIM: We left South Street around 1 or so, and I dropped her off at her apartment. I took her number and hope that her car isn't too badly damaged.

So there was no smoochy-smoochy?


SHANNON: No, wasn't a romance vibe going on. Or maybe I wasn't drunk enough.

Would you go out again?

TIM: I sure would. It would be fun to hang out again.


ON a scale of 1-10...

How would you rate the date ("1" being "needs improvement," and 10 being "perfection")?

TIM: I'd call it an 8, I think. The conversation was good and we both took the time to just hang out and have a good time (i.e. nobody bolted right after dinner!). It turned into a pretty long date, which was cool with me.

SHANNON: 7. We had a lot in common and made good conversation. You can never have too many drinking buddies, either.

Quote of the night:

So there was no smoochy-smoochy?

No, wasn't a romance vibe going on. Or maybe I wasn't drunk enough.


The Challenge appears every two weeks in The Hook. Are you up for the Challenge? Call 295-8700 ext. 236 to enter, or email