Globetrotters: When Jewish upon a star!

The background

"It's hard to meet anybody Jewish in Charlottesville," lamented Josh*, a handsome 26-year-old surgery resident at UVA, when at a recent soirée The Matchmaker asked about his dating life. "I can't go out with someone who doesn't like to travel," added the good doctor, an L.A. native who says adjusting to life in the small city has been a little rough. Running and hiking were high on his interests list.

The very next day an email arrived at BDC headquarters that left no question about who he'd be going out with:

"I want someone who is educated, intellectual, likes to travel, and has a great sense of humor," wrote Sophie*, a 27-year-old PhD candidate at UVA. "I love to go running and enjoy hiking," she continued. "A guy who is also Jewish would be a bonus."

Karmic intervention? Perhaps.

Or perhaps not... Often, people seem like soulmates on paper, yet in person have the chemistry of wet rags. There's only one way to see if sparks fly, and, despite setbacks from Hurricane Isabel, Josh and Sophie put karma to the test.

*Not their real names

The date

Josh and Sophie met for dinner at Southern Culture on West Main, before heading down to the corner for a few games of pool at Orbit.


Getting ready?

Sophie: I had a yoga class, per usual, and then came home to get ready. I did have a glass of wine before I left for the restaurant– I got nervous when I thought about the debrief appearing in print!

Josh: I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Except that this was the first time I was supposed to go out with someone who I had no way of contacting if something were to go wrong.

Sophie: I arrived second. I was no more than a minute or two late. We recognized each other right away because there was no one else waiting awkwardly by the door. He made a good first impression. He was wearing a good outfit– a black Rat-Pack-meets-urban-hipster button-down shirt, fashionable jeans, and black leather slides/loafers. I half-expected him to be dressed very preppy, but thankfully he wasn't.

Josh: I have to say I knew the instant she walked through the door that she was the date. Something about the way she entered the door to the restaurant. She had a glow to her. (How cheesy was that?) First thing I noticed was her hair: long, brown curly. Then her eyes... I thought she had a very attractive face. My eyes eventually made their way down to her shoes, which were nice too. I have to say I was pleased with everything in between as well! :) She seemed really easygoing right off the bat, with only a little bit of uneasiness that I sort of felt also. But the conversation flowed really easily from the very beginning.

Sophie: We each ordered a glass of red wine. He claimed to need it because he was upset about his lost cat.

Josh: We both ordered the same thing– tuna– but with different side dishes. We decided independently, though. (We predicted that would make the story.) Dinner was excellent.


Sophie: We seemed to have some important things in common. We talked about the Jewish thing for a while. I think we both would like to find someone Jewish, but for me it's more a preference than a prerequisite. I grew up in a mixed-faith family, so I'm used to being half-in, half-out of both Jewish and secular culture. I was surprised to learn he'd lived in L.A. all his life but had made the big change to Charlottesville.

Josh: We both talked about our religion. Didn't really talk about how that was important, but I think that may have been a foregone conclusion. We did talk about how we both loved Israel and Jerusalem.

Sophie: We've been to a lot of the same places (Israel, the UK, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic), but also some different ones. We also talked about running, his missing cat (I tried to convince him that she'd come back in a day or two), his field, hurricane Isabel, and books. There were no "red flag" moments for me. He wasn't as good at asking questions as I was, but that's pretty typical of guys (in my dating experience).

Josh: I can't even remember everything we talked about. Books, travels, college, seventh grade dances. Graduate school. Running, and how we suffer doing it but both still love it. I really liked that she was willing to talk about anything and put in her two cents. Definitely open-minded.

Now, to Orbit...

Sophie: I had a great time at Orbit. They were playing great music (a mix of late '80s hits, the White Stripes, David Bowie, Bjork), some of which provided fodder for fond reminiscences of middle school dances. First, I should say that I'm a spectacularly lousy pool player. My idea of a successful round of pool is simply to hit anything, and of course not sink the cue ball. He was much better, and he later admitted he had a pool table in is house as a kid. That said, his special talent was for sinking the cue ball. After five or six such shots, I lost count.

Josh: Pool was fun at first, but it grew old 'cause neither of us was really good. We were both really good at hitting in the white ball, especially me. The game definitely hinged on her ability to break. I tried to give her pointers, but it was like the blind leading the blind.

Sophie: Actually doing something instead of just talking was great, because we both relaxed and had fun. We were cracking jokes and teasing each other about our relative (lack of) skill.

Josh: She knew the words to every song that came up! She was singing and dancing away.

Sophie: We were both tired, and he had to get up early (4am!) the next morning, so around midnight we left.

Josh: We called it a night after pool started getting a little old.

A kiss?

Sophie: He walked me to my car, we hugged, and I gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Josh: No... not yet.

Would you go out again?

Sophie: We talked about going out again. I would like that.

Josh: I wouldn't hesitate to go out with her again.

How would you rate the date?

Sophie: 8. The date far exceeded my expectations, considering how little we knew about each other. We actually had a ton to talk about and a great deal in common. The extra pressure of both being a blind-date and in the newspaper made us more nervous than we would normally be.

Josh: 8. I definitely had a great time. There were moments when things got to slow down, especially after pool started to drag... but it was the situation.

To the karma question, it seems we have our answer. Sophie and Josh are planning a second dateBDC will keep you apprised of any romantic developments.