Cue violins: Bridges of Albemarle County?
This week, readers may want to hire violinists to play while the story of Jacques and Amelie (not their real names) unfolds, as the potential for heartbreak is high.
We begin our story with a handsome 36-year-old physician who finished his residency in the spring and took the summer off to prepare his house and garden for sale before moving to Montana in late October.
So what's Jacques doing looking for love at a time like this– with mere weeks to make it happen?
"I'm a romantic," he replies. "I just might find my cowgirl."
Okay. A smart, funny (ever optimistic) doctor. Good. But what kind of woman is looking for a guy who's on his way out of town? Hmm. Maybe one who likes long, cold winters and majestic mountains?
When 31-year-old wildlife biologist Amelie wrote in, something about her reminded Matchmaker of Jacques. Free-spirited, that's it! Sure enough, when Matchmaker mentioned Jacques– with full disclosure of his departure plans– Amelie was unfazed. She agreed to the date immediately.
"Hey, it's just dinner, right?" she asked.
Right, Amelie, right...
Amelie and Jacques had dinner at Jarman's Gap in Crozet. They drove out together...
How did you get ready?
Amelie: I put on some make-up.
Jacques: Since we were going to ride together, I took my car to the wash and did 75 cents' worth of really vigorous vacuuming. I got out the dashboard cleaner. My neighbor remarked that I was at risk of looking desperate.
Where did you meet?
Amelie: We met at a parking lot near my house. When he got out of his car, I thought he was very handsome.
Jacques: She was leaning against her Jeep talking on the phone. She looked impressively relaxed. She is very pretty and natural.
What was your date wearing?
Jacques: Horsey from the waist down, clothes-wise. (Phew! It's never a good sign when your date has hooves!–MM) She had on brownish jeans, boots, and a black sweater over a sleeveless tank top.
Amelie: He dressed well. He wore two shirts, a gray sweater, and jeans.
Were you nervous?
Amelie: I didn't think so. But, based on some things I said, I must have been. One of the first things I told him was that the last guy I dated probably thought I was a psycho. Not the best first impression.
Jacques: When she made a comment about being a "bit of a psycho" in her last relationship, I thought, "Okay, odd, but charmingly open." I was genuinely excited to meet a girl who can be out at a horse show all day and yet be ready to go in 10 minutes.
At Jarman's Gap
Jacques: When we arrived, the staff was very gracious. There were lots of knowing smiles, which increased the Sweetly Awkward Factor.
Amelie: The ambience was great. Cozy. Dim.
Jacques: She claimed to be wiped out from the show and daylong wine drinking, and ordered coffee. But then out of the blue, she orders a Bloody Mary. Huh? I had White Hall Chardonnay.
Amelie: He had three glasses of Chardonnay. I had coffee and a Bloody Mary.
What did you eat?
Amelie: For an appetizer we had black bean empanadas. As an entrée, I got duck with bleu cheese potatoes. But I substituted Twin Oaks tofu for the duck since I'm vegetarian.
Jacques: I had steak to balance her vegetarianism. They got medium rare just right. Her food came wrapped in inedible paper. She periodically stuck her tongue out and picked off little bits of chewed paper. The empanadas burned the roof of her mouth. After getting all stuffy eating the spicy sauce, she blew her nose loudly– and pretty musically, I thought.
How was the conversation?
Jacques: It flowed pretty well. A little self-conscious at first, but better as the night progressed and drinks flowed. We talked about books, movies, and music– also gardening. We pretty much skipped family and dating history. We exchanged anecdotes on the theme "Awesome moments in life that went absolutely nowhere."
Amelie: We like a lot of the same obscure music and movies. We both like to read, but prefer slightly different genres.
Was there anything you were particularly impressed by?
Jacques: Getting an MA in wildlife biology, she climbed trees in Brazil. At the end of the night she gave me some music for the drive home; that was cool. Oh, she sang for me, which was very brave... and in Portuguese.
Amelie: He taught a course in writing at the University of Chicago. He has an unusual, but wonderful, sense of humor. He knew who Iris Dement was, carries insects out of the house rather than kill them, reads philosophy, cares about helping people, plays guitar, and sings beautifully.
Anything you didn't like?
Jacques: She pronounced "Zocalo" as "Zocalo's." Worse, in high school she was great friends with her English teacher. I was disappointed she wasn't more impressed with my driving and route selection.
Amelie: On our way home, he drove very fast, but he slowed down when I asked. Also, in town, he became annoyed with a driver who honked her horn. He proceeded to honk his horn repeatedly at this person because "people just don't honk their horns in Charlottesville." Although I was extremely embarrassed, I couldn't stop him because I was laughing so hard.
How did dinner end?
Jacques: We decided to go downtown for dessert. We wound up at Zocalo for the chocolate bread pudding.
Amelie: He played some angry screaming women music on the way back to town. We walked on the Mall and went to Zocalo (not Zocalo's, as Jacques was kind enough to point out) and had dessert. I ran into my high school English teacher and hopefully impressed her with my marvelous date.
What was the VERY end like?
Amelie: When we got back to my car, we found a chain across the exit. So Jacques drove me home, met my dog, listened to music. We talked more and danced around a little to Cake.
Jacques: We had a nice time sitting outside at her place. She gave me some water and some homegrown squash.
Jacques: There were lots of stars and crickets. The Steve Earle she gave me was perfect for the drive home.
Amelie: I hugged him, and he kissed me. I never feel like kissing anyone the first time I meet them; however, I was glad he did.
Ahhh, Jacques, you sly boy. Stars and crickets, indeed... MM
Would you see this person again?
Jacques: I was a little surprised when she woke me with a call the next morning and said she'd been doing some checking on me. But I called her for some impromptu ice cream later, and she was up for it. She's very spontaneous.
Amelie: Yes. However, as he's moving in two weeks, it's hard to say what will happen. Too bad, because I very rarely meet anyone with whom I'd like to go out on a second date! Cue violins here... MM
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the date?
Jacques: Hey, she sang, she gave me vegetables... 8
Will a Montana winter chill this budding affair? Or will distance make no difference? If there's a sequel to the Bridges of Albemarle County, Matchmaker will let you know...