Under 30: BDC returns to its roots
Glancing over the Blind Date Challenges of the past several months, one thing is clear: Matchmaker has had a near obsession with couples well past 40. Their children, their exes, their wrinkles, and experiences– the landscape of the lives of the middle aged is rich with details that have not yet been etched onto the lives (and faces) of the young. (Lucky things!)
But in splashing about in the murky waters of later-life dating, Matchmaker lost sight of what was once the bread and butter of the Blind Date Challenge: 20-something angst.
"Will I ever find my soul mate?" "What should I do with my life?" "And who the heck am I, am I, am I, am I...?" (That's a Dr. Who-esque echo, in case you're wondering.)
It's time to return to the Challenge's roots.
Aimee and Will meet the new/old Challenge criteria: never-married 20-somethings.
At 27, Aimee is a college instructor in communications. A petite sports fanatic who likes reading and Law & Order re-runs, Aimee said she needed someone masculine and laid-back "to balance out my high maintenance side."
Will, 28, seemed as likely a fit as any. A landscape architect who loves outdoor activities and cooking, Will wanted a smart, attractive nonsmoker.
Sounds good so far. But since neither lights up, Matchmaker had to wonder: Where there's no smoke, can there be fire?
Aimee and Will went to (nonsmoking) Bang! at the corner of Second and South streets downtown.
Who arrived first?
Aimee: I did, but not on purpose. I got to the restaurant right at 7pm assuming he would already be there. He was about five minutes late, and I was starting to worry that I was being stood up because I always think it's normal for the woman, not the man, to be late.
Will: I got there just after she did– she was waiting for her drink to arrive when I sat down.
Aimee: "Whew! It won't be hard to look at him during the meal without having more than one drink." I thought he was nice looking.
Will: I butchered her name, but then, it's not pronounced like it's spelled (It's pronounced "Ahmee."– MM) But it was a funny little ice breaker moment.
How was your date's appearance?
Aimee: He was wearing a navy blue button-down shirt and jeans. I thought he was a little underdressed, given the situation.
Will: She was cute, but wasn't really my type. I noticed right away that she was a lot more dressed up than I was. I got the impression that she was into fashion– something I admittedly know nothing about.
When did you relax?
Aimee: After I had finished about half of my drink (it was pretty strong!). By then I realized that he's a really normal guy, and we have some things in common.
Will: I was never really nervous. I tried not to go into the dinner with big expectations– I just wanted to have a nice meal and enjoy the conversation. Anything else would have been a bonus.
What did you order?
Aimee: We had the 60-second sirloin, mushroom dumplings, seared salmon, and a bacon/pineapple/rice dish. The food was soooo amazing! All of the meals come in appetizer size portions and are designed to share. It's a really great place to go for a date.
Will: For dessert we had excellent banana fritters with ice cream, recommended by our waitress. Our waitress, Gretchen, was great. The whole staff knew about the Challenge, and were all very accommodating.
How were your date's table manners?
Aimee: Good– I'm always impressed by a guy who actually uses his napkin. Bang! doesn't put silverware on the table, only chopsticks. I'm terrible with them, but Will was a pro and gave me pointers.
Will: Fine– she wasn't very adept with chopsticks, which were the only utensils on the table, but she made it through the meal okay.
What did you talk about?
Aimee: Normal first date stuff– the food, family, hobbies, school, work, sports.
Will: What didn't we talk about?
Aimee: I think he did most of the talking, but I said my fair share.
Will: I tried to make sure that the conversation was balanced, but I think in hindsight that I ended up talking more about me than listening to her.
Did you have a lot in common?
Aimee: I think so.
Will: Not really. She was really nice, but I didn't feel that certain spark.
Anything particularly interesting?
Aimee: He seems to have a weird fascination with mullets.
Will: I found out that she teaches a class on communication– with some lessons on conversation and flirting– but it also made me feel like she might be scrutinizing my performance.
Was there anything you disliked?
Aimee: No. He was really nice and didn't say anything to completely turn me off.
Will: No. Like I said, perfectly nice person, but I didn't feel much of a connection.
So was there any flirting?
Aimee: I think there was flirting, but nothing cheesy or over the top.
Will: I'm awful at picking up on body language, so if she was flirting with me, I didn't notice. But I don't think so.
What happened at the end?
Aimee: Will paid for our drinks and the tip. I'm not sure how he figured the tip. I offered to chip in, but he insisted on being a good "southern gentleman."
Will: I consider myself a southern gentleman, so there was no way I'd let her think about picking up any part of the tab. I sort of guesstimated the tip based on what we ordered. Our waitress asked twice if I wanted change back, so maybe I gave her too much– but the service was great.
Did you go anywhere afterward?
Aimee: No, he had to go to work. When he first told me he had to go back to work later in the evening, I thought for sure it was his "out" in case he didn't like me, but eventually I believed him after he described his job.
Will: I had to go into work after dinner– I hope Aimee didn't think I was blowing her off! I really did go to work!
Did you walk each other out?
Aimee: Yes, he walked me to my car.
Will: Of course. We exchanged numbers, talked about going to a show here in town sometime.
Aimee: No. We hugged and exchanged contact information.
Will: I generally don't kiss on the first date, but I also didn't feel a strong connection.
Did you have fun?
Will: I had a great time. Aimee was really nice, and I enjoyed getting to know her. And how can you beat a free meal at Bang!?
Would you see this person again?
Will: I don't think I'd want to date her, but I think she'd be a lot of fun to hang out with.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the date?
Aimee: 8. The date itself was probably as good as a blind date could possibly be, but he loses points for showing up late and for taking off early.
Will: I'd give it a 6.5. Above average, but I don't see anything substantial coming out of it.
No smoke, no fire. Simple as that. But since Aimee and Will are still so young, there's plenty of time to find the right kindling...
On another note, Matchmaker has been issued a challenge: A vibrant 78-year-old woman who loves to travel has expressed an interest in the BDC. Is there a man in that age range daring– and healthy– enough to take the Challenge? Yes, yes, Matchmaker knows, what about that 20-something angst? Well, how 'bout 80-something angst! Now that's stretching dating boundaries!