Different 'cultures': Mix n' match dating

The Background

 Sometimes making a match is obvious. Say two people are into ancient Mayan ruins. Or maybe they own four Lhasa Apsos. Love is in the air, right? But other times, matchmaking is more experimental– and the outcome a surprise.

Such is the case this week.

Twenty-two-year-old Skyler showed her quirky side early.

A peddler of hand-made puppets, she reported a fondness for the work of John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, and Maurice Sendak. When not sewing her artful creations, Skyler keeps busy blogging (which for all you oldsters means keeping a web journal).

Who to send Skyler out with? Hmmmm. How about Kurt, a 29-year-old microbiologist? No hint of quirky in his email to the Challenge. Au contraire, his CV-esque entry included his educational background (lots), his living situation (one roommate), and his take on tattoos and piercings (none!).

Not an obvious pair perhaps, but when conducting advanced matchmaking, it's best to let experiment run its course before drawing conclusions...


The Date

Jaberwoke on the Corner served as the Petrie dish...


How did you get ready?

 Skyler: My brother and sister discussed what a person named Kurt might look like. I Googled "microbiologist" to find out what they do.

Kurt: I only found out that the date has been definitively established about three and a half hours beforehand, so I really didn't have time to. I got a long-overdue haircut.


Who got there first?

 Skyler: I didn't want to be first, so I showed up five minutes late.

Kurt: I arrived first. I walked up to the hostess, who set me up in a booth. I ordered a beer from their Happy Hour specials, and glanced through the menu.


Were you nervous?

 Skyler: Yes. I'd never been to Jaberwoke (or on a blind date) before. I calmed down 20 minutes or so into dinner... after drinking a soda in five minutes flat and knocking my napkin off the table.

Kurt: Not particularly.


Did you find your date physically attractive at the very beginning?

 Skyler: Not really. He seemed sort of nervous, and I was nervous, so it didn't really help.

Kurt: I did find her attractive.


Would you say this person was your type?

 Skyler: Nope. He's a different sort of dork than I am.

Kurt: Physically, yes. In terms of personality, absolutely.


How did you like their style?

 Skyler: He didn't really have a style. Dark blue pants with some sort of industrial keychain hooked onto them, a short sleeve button-down shirt, brown shoes, and a huge pair of Ray Charles/Jackie O sunglasses with one arm hooked on the outside of his shirt pocket.

Kurt: Skyler was wearing a black dress with white polka dots that looked very nice on her.


What did you order?

 Skyler: I drank lots of Mr. Pibb and had roast beef and brie.

Kurt: Actually, it took me practically the rest of dinner to finish that first beer. I had [a type of turkey sandwich that] Jaberwoke calls a "jub jub bird."


Skyler: We shared a plate of chips with spinach dip. The food was really good. The menu was very theme-oriented. There was even something called a Lewis Carroll somewhere below the pizza section.

Kurt: The food was fine. It's hard to make a particularly good or bad turkey sandwich, but the dip was terrific.


How was the conversation?

 Skyler: We talked about puppets, cereal, siblings (he has none), microbiology, lame jokes, the spellings of things on the menu, what he's going to do with his PhD, living in Charlottesville, spiders, etc. He kept the conversation going, but almost didn't eat because of it.

Kurt: Since I had no information about Skyler before the date except her name and age, we were starting out as blank slates to each other. The conversation ran the gamut from work, school, and family to breakfast cereals.


Did you have a lot in common?

 Skyler: We didn't have much in common. He likes long distance running and recently has gotten into racquetball. I have no coordination when it comes to sports.

Kurt: Not all that much, actually; our interests were a bit further apart than I might have liked.


What did you find out that was interesting about this person?

 Skyler: He works with DNA, trying to cure cancer, which became sort of a running joke (about giving babies cancer instead of curing them).

Kurt: I did find out that Skyler is in a line of work that I had not been previously introduced to: She makes and sells hand puppets.


Was there anything you found out that you really liked?

 Skyler: His sense of humor was similar to mine. It made me laugh pretty hard when I joked that he looked better in the dark, and he deadpanned, "So do you, kiddo."

Kurt: She was really funny. Skyler has a sense of humor that is really exceptional; it might be almost as goofy as mine.


Was there anything you really disliked?

 Skyler: We're both indecisive. He had a nasty habit of prefacing his prefaces with prefaces. He said it was a symptom of his profession.

Kurt: I was a little concerned about our age difference at the beginning, but by the end I certainly didn't feel too ancient.


Did your date do anything that impressed you?

Skyler: He wasn't offended when I gave him a hard time about nearly everything.

Kurt: While we were sitting at dinner, she actually whipped out a partially completed hand puppet to show me. That was terrific.


Was there flirting? Interesting body language?

 Skyler: There was a little bit of flirting.

Kurt: Not so much at the restaurant, but once we left and started strolling around, I felt that there may have been a bit more.


Did you decide to go somewhere afterwards?

Skyler: We walked around UVA grounds, tried to catch fireflies and ended up at that outdoor amphitheater with all those steps.

Kurt: I tend to think and talk better when I'm on my feet, so we strolled around the University for a while and chatted some more.


How was it towards the end?

 Skyler: I had blisters from walking around in platform sandals. I got tired towards the end and was ready to go home. He walked me back to my car. I shook his hand. He hugged me. Then he handed me his number, which he'd written on a scrap of paper earlier.

Kurt: After a polite (but quick) kiss, I walked Skyler back to her car, where we exchanged telephone numbers.

Hmmmmm. There's a slight discrepancy here. Hopefully it won't skew our data...–MM


Did you have fun?

 Skyler: It was the best blind date I've ever been on.

Kurt: Most definitely.


Would you see this person again?

 Skyler: My sister's been talking trash about challenging him to a game of racquetball.

Kurt: I sure would. At this point it's hard to say if Skyler and I have any long-term potential, but I definitely think a couple more future dates are in order to see if it pans out.


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

 Skyler: 8

Kurt: 8


It could take a while to fully analyze this culture, but if anything interesting grows, Matchmaker will prepare a dissertation on the subject.