Praise the Lord! Christians hit the town

The background

 What does the nature of the people who apply for its blind dating column tell you about a town? In liberal Charlottesville, people rarely make specific requests about religious practice. Instead, Matchmaker frequently hears the generic refrain, "I'm looking for someone with a spiritual side."

In fact, political leanings make far more regular appearances in Blind Date Challenge applications: "No Bush supporters!" was the only requirement of several entrants at election time.

This week's contenders, however, stood out from the pack for one reason: they both expressed an interest in finding a date who shared their Christian convictions.

In addition to his religious preference, Bill– a 37-year-old entrepreneur who asked that his real name not be used– loves antiquing, gardening, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Lily, also a pseudonym, is a 33-year-old school administrator who's lived all over the country and loves ethnic cuisine and children. (Though not children served as ethnic cuisine.)

Will Bill and Lily get silly? Run willy-nilly? Or will their date turn out to be as excruciating as that attempt at poetry?


The date

 Bill and Lily went for dinner to Bashir's at the east end of the Downtown Mall.


How did you get ready for the date?

 Lily: Since I knew I would have a full day at work on Friday, I picked out what I was going to wear Thursday night. I consulted a couple of girlfriends for their advice.

Bill: I took a shower. [Tip to future Challengers: this is ALWAYS a good idea. –Matchmaker]


Who arrived first?

 Lily: I wanted to arrive first, in an effort to not be late as usual. Unfortunately, finding a parking space was much more of a task than I would have liked, so I was a few minutes late.

Bill: While I was waiting, I investigated the wine/beer menu.


Were you nervous?

 Lily: Not really. I'm a pretty daring individual and was looking forward to meeting someone new.

Bill: No


First impression?

 Lily: He was definitely clean cut, well shaven, and a nice looking guy.

Bill: She was very nice looking. After some brief conversation, she was even better looking.


What did you wear?

 Lily: I decided on a long baby blue and white dress, an off-white cardigan zip-up sweater with a furry front and collar, camel colored boots, and a brown three-quarter length leather jacket.

Bill: Without going into too much detail, I'll tell you that I sported some pretty sweet corduroy pants, a styling long-sleeve shirt, and a sweater.


What was your date wearing?

 Lily: A shirt underneath his sweater, and pants.

Bill: Ummm. Okay, I can answer this... A skirt, blouse, and some frilly thing. Maybe it was a sweater. We [men] really don't pay too much attention to that stuff.

[And isn't that what gets you into trouble? –MM]


How did you like his/her style?

 Lily: He dressed appropriately for the date, but I tend to prefer a more urban style.

Bill: She had great style.


What did you order?

 Lily: We decided to order two platters, a meat and vegetarian, and share, which I really enjoyed.

Bill: We had wine. One glass each.


How was the restaurant?

 Lily: The variety of food was fantastic and delicious. The dessert was also very tasty, especially the chocolate brownie with caramel. I will definitely come back!

Bill: Great!


How was the service?

 Lily: The service was excellent. The owner checked on us a few times, very attentive and friendly. He was a sweetheart.

Bill: Great!


What did you talk about?

 Lily: We talked about living in Charlottesville, traveling, a little about our jobs and religion. I was surprised that we didn't talk more about our families.

Bill: We talked about religion, how it would be cool if there was a singles-only church, where we grew up, what sports we like, how the Hook rules, about roommates, how it's difficult to find others to click with, how yummy the food was, and so much more!


Did you have much in common? Any major differences?

 Lily: We did share some interests, but overall, I didn't think we had much in common. I have lived in big cities, traveled throughout the U.S., and honestly, prefer a much more urban and multi-ethnic scene. If it wasn't for my job, I would probably relocate to San Francisco, San Diego, New York, or L.A.

Also, spirituality is a huge part of who I am, and it didn't seem as if Bill placed similar value on his Christianity. Lastly, it's March Madness, and we didn't talk about the Big Dance. I love college basketball!

Bill: We're both Christian, we talked about how single life can be tough, where we would like to ultimately live, travel and family. Differences: If I had one, I kept it to myself. A first date is not a place to try winning a battle. And the reason I can't recite any is that I probably put it aside, so now I don't remember.


Anything particularly impressive about your date?

 Lily: That he is his own boss and runs his own business. Also, I thought it was very sweet and comforting that he was not put off by my request to bless our food. Lastly, I appreciated his kindness in paying for my drink.

Bill: I was impressed at how she carried herself. She provided nice conversation, had great table manners, was fun to be with, and left a good impression.


Any turn-offs?

 Lily: He wasn't really interested in the musicians playing and seemed indifferent to the live music. I really loved the ambiance of the restaurant and the talents of the musicians. I absolutely love to indulge in cultural performances, but he didn't seem as interested.

Bill: I think she may not have enough of a wild side. I like to cut loose and sin a little, as long as it doesn't hurt others.


Any chemistry? Any flirting?

 Lily: For me, there really wasn't. He was great to dine with, but no love connection.

Bill: Enough chemistry to be good friends, but not for flirting.


How did the date end?

 Lily: We left the restaurant and walked for a few minutes on the Downtown Mall. We stopped, and I told Bill I enjoyed meeting him.

Bill: I asked her, "Do you want to do something, or do you just want to turn in?" She opted for the latter.


Kiss? Hug? Exchange numbers?

 Lily: We hugged, and I would have given Bill my business card but didn't have any with me. He gave me his and invited me to see a show with him if I was interested.

Bill: I gave her my card. She didn't have one, and I didn't think to ask if she had a pen.


Would you see this person again?

 Lily: Maybe.

Bill: Yes. She is very nice. It would be fun to see something at Starr Hill together, as friends.


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

 Lily: 7.5

Bill: It was a 10 on fun, but not a love connection.


Too bad no love match, but even friendship's a blessing, right?