Parent trap: Single parents need fun too

The Background

 Med students, law students, psych students, undergrads. Another student date, and the Matchmaker feared that the gray hairs might stage an uprising. So, how about some professors?

Jacob is a 39-year-old religious studies professor who's brand new to town. An "old-school liberal," he was looking for a "malleable ideologue, a smart cookie, spice lover, a good traveling companion, someone who doesn't mind getting lost once in a while and who isn't afraid to admit to being afraid."

Well, that seemed like a tall order until we found Grace, a 39-year-old history professor who is every one of those things and then some.

And the clincher? Both have two children under the age of six. Date not playdate made.


The Date

 We sent Jacob and Grace to Fuel Co.'s bistro for some grown-up entertainment.


Jacob: I was first, intentionally– it just seemed to be the polite thing to do. I sat at the bar, tried to look casual, read the wine list, heard the word "reduction" twice, wondered how a cocktail with red wine could possibly not taste horrible.

Grace: I arrived after Jacob, a minute or two late. He was sitting at the bar. We made eye contact, and I sort of waved and then wondered if he was even the date. Then he walked over and joked about the awkwardness of it all, which was a nice way to start talking.


Jacob: Grace looked great. I was worried that perhaps being an academic, she would dress like one– studied dowd­ but no. She was wearing dark pants, a dark (purple?) top, like a dancer's thing, a simple necklace, lots of earrings (I'm a sucker for multiple piercings, provided they are in the right place). No tongue or cheek or eyebrow, at least not that I noticed.

Grace: From across the room, it was clear that he was cute. He had an impish smile, sparkling eyes. He seemed fit but not in that obsessive-attention-to-the-body way that bores me– he gave off the sense that he was comfortable in his body. He had a cool, understated style, too, black pants, with pleats, which became a kind of running joke, and a black shirt. A kind of casual but not too obsessively cool urban hip look. He also wore an earring– kind of a pirate's hoop.


What did you order?

 Jacob: Grace had a martini, the real, only kind, me a designer thing with several kinds of booze, blood orange (it was good, I admit it). And then a really good bottle of chardonnay recommended by the waiter.

Grace: It was one of the best bottles of wine I have ever had.


Jacob: We shared an oyster (I know, I know) appetizer, flash fried, on a bed of some sort of corn pudding, with little scallion sticks. It really was great. Then we ordered salad and stuffed quail­ poor little guys­ which was good, and trout tournedos (also was really great) stuffed with something, wrapped in bacon. And we ordered two desserts– two– both chocolate bomb-like things, both really good. The food was excellent. We shared everything­ it just seemed totally the thing to do.

Grace: Our waiter had a very nice self-deprecating, easy manner, and the manager (I think) checked in on us too... We were having trouble making the time to read the menu, and the waiter kindly prompted us at one point to get our order in ahead of a very large table.


How was the conversation?

 Jacob: We talked about everything-­ sex, drugs, rock and roll, whatever is between. I was a bit worried, since academics can be deadly boring, but we made a little deal not to talk shop and pretty much stuck to it. We have a lot in common, so conversation was no problem-­ it took us a while to order, though, because we were just jabbering away, not really thinking about the food. I think we could have talked all night, and pretty much did, in the end.

Grace: We are both academics. Talk is a large part of teaching and thinking, of what we do. So we had no problem talking. We talked about our research, about teaching, about our children and exes. We talked about the food– we both have had food businesses in the past, and Jacob described himself as a foodie– and music, and the state of the world, our paths to the academy, the places we have lived, and disastrous dating moments. He has just moved to Charlottesville, and I have lived here a while, so we talked about the town, what he could do with his kids over the weekend, etc.


Anything particularly interesting?

 Jacob: Grace is a really smart cookie and knows that intelligence is sexy, but she doesn't abuse this ­ a great combo, really.

Grace: His research and his travels (he works on South Asia and Hinduism and Buddhism), and the way he narrated the recent twists and turns of his very eventful life.


Did you do anything after dinner?

 Jacob: Hmm... since we'd had a few, we strolled over to my place for a bit, listened to some music, drank some water, talked. Then I walked Grace back to her car at Fuel, and we moved to her place for a while, talked some more, listened to some more music, drank some whiskey. Then I walked home.

Grace: We went to his place since it was right around the corner to listen to music– we had talked a lot about playing (we both play instruments) and listening to music– and we discovered we were both into an obscure singer-songwriter that few people have heard of. [Vic Chesnutt]


Any kissy-kissy?

 Jacob: Just for the record, everyone knows that 39-year-olds don't kiss, geez!

Grace: I neither kiss nor don't kiss and tell.


Would you go out again?

 Jacob: Yes, certainly, I would see Grace again, and I hope I will.

Grace: Sure, as friends. I think he needs a little more time since his last relationship, and I have just met someone else I really like. But Jacob is an amazingly fun and smart and sexy guy.


On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the date?

 Jacob: I'd give this date a 10– why not? It was a great time. I suspect, though, that I should never, ever go on a blind date again– this was my first one, and I imagine that the dating gods would want to even things out, give me a real nightmare the next time. I'm told it does happen....

Grace: 10. I had a great time.


Okay, folks. So there you have it. You don't have to be 25 to go on the Blind Date Challenge in fact, we're ready to break any and all age barriers. So if you (or someone you know) is single and between the ages of 40 and 140, write to, and let us take BDC to new geriatric heights.


This date was sponsored by Fuel Co. at the corner of Ninth and East Market streets.