Graphic details: Artsy types hit the town


The background

If anyone can have an easy time dating in insular Charlottesville, it should be 20-somethings. With nearly 20,000 students, most unmarried, UVA is a hotbed of smart young singles. But that doesn't mean those under-25s never need a little jumpstart to their dating lives. That's just what Matchmaker gave 22-year-old Mike and 21-year-old Jen.

Graphic designer Mike is a 2004 Longwood grad who moved to Charlottesville after May graduation to "get into the art scene." He describes himself as "your average happy-go-lucky kinda guy." He plays bass, is learning guitar, and listens to everything from Eric Clapton to John Mayer to Nine Inch Nails.

Since he's "not that into the bar scene," meeting women since moving to town has been a little tough. In addition to a mature girl with a sense of humor, he prefers petite brunettes but is open for anything.

"I'm a sucker for a great smile," he explains in an email.

Mike was in luck. Petite brunette Jen is a 21-year-old fourth year media studies major who's always into something new.

And as a bonus, Jen had already seen the Blind Date Challenge work wonders. Last winter, her friend Kate went on a hot-cocoa-and-ice-skating date with a grad student named Peter. They hit it off and ended up dating for several months, though eventually decided to become "just friends."

Kate thought Jen would enjoy the experience just as much. With Jen's permission, she entered her because "she's real, and because she makes anything fun, and because she gets sh** done, whether it's planning spring break or a ski trip for 20 girls, or repainting/redecorating our sorority's chapter room when nationals didn't give us the money."

On top of all that, Kate wrote, she enjoys snowboarding and outdoorsy activities in general and is "artsy, and very smart."

Do we have a match here? Let's see...


The date

Jen and Mike met at the new University Grille in the former Hardee's location on Ivy Road.


Were you first or second to arrive?

Jen: I was first. I read the menu and text messaged my friend while I waited.

Mike: I was second. My car battery died after I got off work, so I had to wait for a co-worker to jump my car. I tried to call the restaurant to tell Jennifer I was on my way.


And Matchmaker thought it was just the lovelife that needed a jump...–MM

Were you nervous?

Jen: Nope.

Mike: Not really, it was a very rough day at work, so I was more flustered than anything.


First impression, both physical and behavioral:

Jen: Not my type. He was very nice., but I don't really date nice. He was wearing a black shirt with wristband bracelets and jeans. I'm not the most observant.

Mike: Very sweet girl. Great smile and eyes, very attentive and talkative. She wore a black coat with what seemed to be a very nice top underneath and jeans.


At University Grille

Did you order drinks?

Jen: No– there was no alcohol on the menu–AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Mike: Only sodas


No grease for the wheels. Uh-oh! – MM

What did you eat?

Jen: The crabcake sandwich. The menu prices were great for a college student.

Mike: The best cheeseburger I've had in God knows how long. The service was also very good.


What did you talk about?

Jen: Everything– college, family, career... he was very good at keeping the conversation going.

Mike: We shared stories of college, family, about each other.


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

Mike: Pretty much everything I found out about her was interesting.

Jen: His college dorm burned down his freshman year. Ouch.


Was there anything you really liked?

Jen: He was artsy. He bought me a round of drinks (after dinner). And he left the tip at dinner.

Mike: That she had a great sense of humor and knew what she wanted to do with her life. She's got a great "radio voice."


Was there anything you really disliked?

Jen: No, he was very polite, very nice, great conversationalist.

Mike: I can't say there was anything. I was kinda bummed that she might move out to Cali though.


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

Jen: No. But we could definitely be friends. And if I ever saw him out at a bar, I think we'd laugh and buy each other a drink. I'd buy him vodka because I know he hates it, and I think he'd buy me tequila because I hate it.

Mike: I'm not the best at this, but I got her to smile and laugh a couple times, so I dunno.


Did you go out anywhere else?

Jen: We decided we needed a drink so we went to Wild Wing Café and had a couple rounds. There was this crazy guy singing karaoke. That was great.

Mike: We had a few drinks, continued conversation and had a great time.


What was the VERY end like?

Jen: I drove him back to his car.


A hug? A kiss?

Mike: A nice hug


Did you have fun?

Jen: He was a nice guy, and I'd hate for it to come across that he was a horrible date because he is a really funny, interesting person... there might not have been chemistry, but we definitely shared some laughs.

Mike: Without a doubt, yes


Overall date experience?

Jen: No heart-pounding, but not miserable.... he made me laugh.

Mike: Very nice. I got her number and definitely plan on calling again


On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate the date?

Jen: 5

Mike: A very high 9


So it seems that Jen and didn't quite, um, make out like Kate and Peter, but a new friend isn't anything to scoff at. Plus they can always dip back into that 20,000-person pool... could be worse, eh?