Small town: Second time's the charm

The Background

 Has anyone else noticed that Charlottesville's a small town? Forget six degrees of separation– try two, or sometimes even one.

Matchmaker learned that lesson again several months ago when 26-year-old grad student Mark entered the Blind Date Challenge. He sounded smart, funny, and interesting, and Matchmaker had no trouble finding him a date. But that date never happened: two days before, when Matchmaker started offering a few details to Mark and his future date, Laura, they came to a startling realization: They were already good friends who wanted to keep it that way. Back to the waiting list.

Laura went out a few weeks ago with a vegan named Toby, and it wasn't too long before another chance for Mark arose too. This time, Matchmaker gave Mark and his date lots of info up front. Luckily, they'd never met.

His new match? Indiia, a 25-year-old freelance writer who lives and works at Wintergreen Resort. She's intellectually intense but wants to laugh, too.

"I would like a guy who expresses himself creatively and who's aware of what's going on in the world," she wrote, "someone who doesn't think that being well-read means reading last month's Maxim.

"However," she continued, "I don't want someone who's really serious. If they're funny, then I'm happy."

She hasn't had tremendous luck finding such a guy, however.

"I haven't been on a real date since an awkward date in junior high, and it turned out he didn't like girls," she wrote. "And oh, by the way, do you need to know that I'm black? I may find it difficult to hide that fact from my date."

Hide it? No way! Diversity is what makes life interesting, and apparently these two found plenty interesting about each other...


The Date

 Mark and Indiia met at Rococo's Bistro on Commonwealth Drive.


Who got there first?

 Mark: I actually arrived a few minutes before 7pm, since I didn't realize how close to Rococo's I live.

Indiia: I was the second; I got a little lost.


Were you nervous?

 Mark: I didn't get nervous until I was at home, ready to leave, but had to kill time in order not to arrive way too early.

Indiia: No.


First impression?

 Mark: Indiia struck me as outgoing, friendly, cute, well put-together.

Indiia: I thought he was cute, but he seemed like he might be a bit reserved. Very nice eyes and smile.


Would you say this person was your type?

 Mark: I really don't know, mainly because I'm not sure I have a type that I can discern within one date. But she definitely was not outside the bounds of my type.

Indiia: I'm a pretty open-minded person, so I really don't have a type. But certain things about Mark are definitely qualities that I look for in a guy. He's smart, talkative, and funny.


What was your date wearing?

 Mark: A white blouse with a muted pink sweater, a gold-toned scarf, and dark slacks. It seemed right for the situation: nice, but not too formal, balanced; well-coiffured.

Indiia: I think he was wearing a button-down shirt, and I remember a black zip-up jacket. Apparently he wasn't wearing pants because I don't remember them.


At Rococo's:

 Mark: I got the Whitehall Vineyard Chardonnay, which I liked quite a bit; Indiia got an Italian Pinot Grigio.

Indiia: I had the tortellini bellisima, and he had a salmon pasta dish. We had turtle cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert.


Mark: The service was fast and friendly. We had our meals promptly and were not pushed to leave as soon as we had taken the last bite.

Indiia: The food was excellently presented. My tortellini was fantastic. The sauce (tomato basil cream sauce) with the red peppers and proscuitto was just amazing.


How was the conversation?

 Mark: Things started a little haltingly– not shocking when you know nothing about someone. We covered things like siblings, basic background, etc. We then chatted about the lack of real choices in the recent election, my past jobs teaching, her jobs at Wintergreen. The conversation flowed a little faster.

Indiia: We talked about everything from politics and family to what we want to be when we grow up. The conversation was wonderful and pretty much non-stop.


Did you have a lot in common?

 Mark: We both like writing and are interested in things like literature and women's studies. We also both had bad experiences with water sports and being dragged behind boats– I while water skiing once, she while in an inner tube.

Indiia: We have a lot in common. We have both worked with children and are writers.


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

 Mark: She has a lot of control over who gets what passes to Wintergreen, and tries to wield that power for good. I liked that.

Indiia: I found it interesting that he lived and taught in New Orleans. We talked quite a bit about that.


Was there anything you really disliked?

 Mark: No

Indiia: No


Was there "chemistry" between you? Interesting body language?

 Mark: There were flashes of connection. I became more self-conscious of my own body language mostly because I realized I wasn't gesturing as much as she was– not that she was doing too much.

Indiia: We had lots of eye contact, but I don't remember any other telltale body language.


How did dinner end?

 Mark: We lingered for a bit, Indiia bought a bottle of wine to take home, then we left. She needed to trek back over the mountain, and I was still suffering from my week.

Indiia: We carried on conversation as we walked out the door.


What was the VERY end like?

 Mark: We stood outside the restaurant and exchanged phone numbers. She put my number in her cell phone; I had

to write hers on the edge of a newspaper. We had actually parked side by side, since the lot had been mostly full when we arrived. Indiia said she felt bad that her diesel was killing the environment, so I mentioned the possibility of converting to bio-diesel, but the prospect of driving on old French-fries grease didn't seem so exciting in the moment. (Yes, I have lived with several vegan do-it-yourself kind of roommates.)

Indiia: The very end was a little awkward. We hugged.


Did you have fun?

 Mark: Yes.

Indiia: I had a very good time.


Would you see this person again?

 Mark: Yes, I would hang out again some time.

Indiia: Yes.


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

 Mark: 7. I had an engaging, relaxed, pleasant evening. Nothing crazy may have happened, but I was quite content with that.

Indiia: 8


With cold weather on its way, it looks like Mark may just have more than one reason to make the trek to Wintergreen...