On air: Tune out, turn off, drop out...

The background

 A blind date is always a little nerve-racking– and that's when it's a private affair. But how about meeting your date for the first time on live radio?

That's just what two Blind Date Challengers did on WNRN 91.9's "Wake Up Call" with Rick Moore on February 13. Adding to the pressure, Matchmaker showed up for the 11am event, as did Scott and Faith, last summer's Challenge alumni who are still going strong.

So who were these brave– or crazy– souls?

Well, they were young– go figure. Mark, a 21-year-old fourth-year pre-med student, loved the idea of a date that began on-air. He described himself as "athletic" and "in a frat."

Jen had done the Challenge once before (in December she went out with John to the University Grille), but she was happy to give it another go. A 22-year-old media studies major, she's a radio DJ for an overnight show on WNRN, so a radio date there was a natural fit.

This marked the first time Matchmaker actually watched a couple meet, and Jen and Mark handled the awkward situation admirably– giving each other gentle encouragement. Jen revealed she'd rated her first date a five, and she thought the second time around she might be more generous. After an entertaining hour on the air, it seemed they'd have plenty to talk about over brunch.

But once the show ended, would they still be on the same wavelength?


The date:

 Jen and Mark went to Southern Culture for Sunday brunch.


What was your first impression of your date at the radio station?

 Mark: I could tell right away that Jen was a nice person, but not the type of girl I would date or ask out on my own. I'm into the more traditional type. That's not to say I didn't have an open mind, though.

Jen: I thought he looked young.


Was meeting on air awkward?

 Mark: Not really. My friend Jason worked there last summer, so I had been to the studio before.

Jen: The only thing that made it weird was that I didn't see Mark or say hi to him or anything before the show. We just sort of jumped into it.


Did you go to Southern Culture together from the WNRN?

 Mark: I didn't know how to get there, so I rode in her car. She quipped on the way, "If it's horrible, you can walk back." That put me at ease...


Did your first impression change once you were one-on-one?

 Mark: Yes. Once we got into her car, Jen apologized for being hung over from the night before, but then when we got to the restaurant, she wanted to start a bar tab. She asked me what I wanted to drink, and I was amused that she would want to order another round. I smiled and gently declined her offer, and I could tell she was disappointed. Oh, well. She seemed very at home on the barstool.

Jen: No, but he was a lot more reserved than I thought he'd be. I had to initiate a lot of the conversation.


Did you order drinks?

 Mark: I was going to order a Pepsi, but I decided to try the Mimosa just to see what it was and to be a sport. I really wasn't feeling it, though– only finished the top third.

Jen: When we first got to Southern Culture there was a slight wait because it was packed, so we went to the bar. When Mark said, "It's 12 on Sunday... isn't that a little early to drink?" I decided not to, but once we sat down, I ordered a mimosa and he got one, too.


How about the food?

 Mark: I got eggs Benedict. The food was great. I didn't know Southern Culture was there, but it's a gem.

Jen: I got the salmon Benedicta very delicious brunch. The service was fantastic, too. Quick and very attentive.


How was the conversation?

 Mark: Our lunch had its high points. We talked about Jen's plans to be a TV producer for VH-1 in LA. We both like reality TV, and when I asked if she would ever want to be on a reality show, she said the classic line, "I wouldn't because there are things I do with my friends that I'd never want my parents to find out about." That makes me think of a wet t-shirt contest in Cancun or something, and continued to build an overall impression.

Jen: We talked about school, plans for next year, where we live currently. Mark wasn't much of a conversationalist– a bit too quiet for me.


Mark: The conversation was congenial, but it only flowed naturally for short bursts. She kept asking me questions in a sort of Larry King way to keep it going, and I could tell she began to believe that I was non-talkative. But the truth is, the problem was with her. I didn't really feel like talking with her after awhile because she was so uninteresting. That's not to say it was awkward or whatever, but I just turned inward and enjoyed the great Southern Culture food.

Jen: It was a kind of bland conversation. Either he was bad at eye contact, or he was bored. He had some interesting plans for spring break, though– he's going to some ball at Wellesley College near Boston.

Maybe these two took to heart Matchmaker's radio advice that bad dates make better reading...


Was there any chemistry?

 Mark: Not really, but the lack of it made me value someone else I've met recently...

Jen: No.


Double ouch!–MM


How did the date end?

 Mark: We stayed long enough to finish our entrees, then we drove back to my car. We parted ways back at the radio station, and she exclaimed, "Maybe I'll see you out at bars sometime."

Jen: We drove back to the studio so he could pick up his car. Mark's interested in doing radio work, so I told him to get involved with WNRN.


Overall date experience?

 Mark: It was an adventure, and I'm going to return to Southern Culture and the radio scene– I'm inspired to host a show with some friends at UVA. So I got a lot out of it.

Jen: Mark seems like a nice enough guy but definitely not my type.


Would you see this person again?

 Mark: Not really. Jen is nice and outgoing, but we didn't have much in common.

Jen: I wish him the best of luck on the MCATS, but I don't foresee us getting together again.


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

 Mark: 5

Jen: Well, I said I wouldn't give him a 5, but honestly I had more fun with the first guy I went out with. At least he was funny. So, a 6.


Well, it seems they were listening to the same wavelength after all– it's just that there seems to be a lot of static and very poor reception...