Snappy patter: Photog and local mom click!

The background

 To all childless singles complaining about the Charlottesville dating scene, take note: it could be even harder. If you think it's tough when it's just you, imagine the difficulties if you had to juggle a fulltime job with dating– and with kids! Single parents find they have to find someone who's not spooked by the fact that they're parents. Then they have to find holes in their ridiculously full schedules. And then there's the sitter search.

Knowing how hard it can be, Matchmaker is always thrilled to arrange a date for a smart, successful, attractive woman who also happens to be a mom.

Jessica is just such a woman. At 38, Jessica, mom to two, is a mental health practitioner who asked to use a pseudonym for professional reasons.

What makes Jessica even more appealing: her get-out-there attitude. "I have found lots of men, just not the right man," she says. "I may be approaching 40, but I'm not dead, and I still like to have fun! So, please, no fuddy duddies."

Enter a man we'll call Dennis, a 42-year-old never-married photographer from Richmond. Like Jessica, Dennis loves the outdoors– and he has no problem with a woman with children. Despite Charlottesville's liberal leanings, his request for a woman who shares his conservative politics was no roadblock at all.

"I like the sound of him," Jessica said.

Game, set, match?


The date:

 Jessica and Dennis went to La Cucina on Water Street.


Did you do anything out of the ordinary before the date?

Dennis: I got down there early, then I got caught in traffic. I went in the parking garage, and it was a nightmare. I was late, and I had a small accident– I bumped into a bumper or a rack. It left a black mark.

Jessica: I painted my toenails.


Were you first or second to arrive?

 Dennis: Second

Jessica: I arrived right on time. He was 15 minutes late due to a small problem he had in the parking garage that led to a small dent in his vehicle. I'm amazed he didn't arrive later.


Were you nervous?

 Dennis: No. Well, a little bit.

Jessica: At first. But I calmed down completely while I waited.


First impression:

 Dennis: I thought she was really pretty, very friendly. Easygoing.

Jessica: He's nice looking, about 5'10'', brown hair, dressed somewhat conservatively, like a fraternity boy. Right away, I could tell that he's a nice guy. He apologized immediately for being late and told me about the accident.


Would you say this person was your type?

 Dennis: Yes

Jessica: I don't think I have a type. I like to meet people and check them out on an individual basis.


Describe what your date was wearing...

 Dennis: Pants, not jeans. I can't really remember. She looked good, though.

Jessica: He wore a button-down blue-and-white checked shirt with khaki pants. His style is nice, and it suits him.


La Cucina

 What did you order?

 Dennis: I had six shots. Joking. I had vodka; she had wine.

Jessica: We started with calamari. We both had house salads with the sun-dried tomato house dressing, and the grilled salmon entree, which came with vegetables and orzo. Neither of us had dessert, though I had some tea after dinner.


How was it?

 Dennis: The service was good.

Jessica: The food was nice. The house dressing was delicious. The salmon entree had very generous portions and was carefully prepared.


What did you talk about?

 Dennis: Her family, kids, sisters, where she went to college. She was a little sister of the same fraternity I was in. I remembered after the date a bunch of people who had probably been there when she was.

Jessica: Where we grew up, our work, our college experiences, our interests. I remember laughing a good deal; he's a funny guy, and the longer we talked, the more our conversation included laughter. I like this, as I don't last long with someone who is super serious all the time.


Did you have a lot in common?

 Dennis: I think so.

Jessica: Yes: skiing, music, college experiences, healthy eating.


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

Dennis: The whole package was pretty nice. She has a great personality, and she's easy on the eyes.

Jessica: He has an incredibly healthy diet and told me about all the healthy foods he eats. I did not expect this, because he doesn't look at all like the type to shop at Integral Yoga or Rebecca's (more like a Harris-Teeter or Giant kind of guy). But that just goes to show that you can't "type" someone or make assumptions about them based on an initial impression.


Was there anything you really disliked?

 Dennis: No

Jessica: No, nothing. Well, he did start to tell me about one of the gory accidents he saw on the ski slopes when he worked at Wintergreen. I had to stop him because I don't have the stomach for that kind of thing. But when I stopped him, it was in a very friendly, bantering sort of way.


Was there "chemistry" between you?

Dennis: I think so.

Jessica: It was friendly and easy. I felt completely comfortable with him.


Did you decide to go somewhere after dinner?

 Dennis: We went to check on our cars because we thought they might tow.

Jessica: He paid for the drinks and tip– very much the gentleman. We stopped by Gravity Lounge for a few minutes. Then we walked the Mall and ended up at Zocalo. It was so loud in there that we could barely hear each other. We table-hopped a bit and finally found a quietish spot by the fireplace.


What was the very end like?

 Dennis: We went back to the car and sat and talked there some more. Left about 1am. It was a late date.

Jessica: When we finished talking and decided to leave, I asked him to wait for me to back my car out, just to make sure there wasn't another accident. He handled this ribbing well.


A kiss?

 Dennis: No, none of that. I wanted to, but I had to be a gentleman.

Jessica: No. There might have been one lingering in the air.

If anyone sees a stray kiss lingering around Water Street, you know where it came from. Please return it to its rightful owners!–MM


Did you have fun?

 Dennis: Yes.

Jessica: Very much so. We laughed a lot. I felt completely relaxed at the end of the night.


Would you see this person again?

 Dennis: Yes, I've already called her.

Jessica: Yes. It's hard to say at this point if there is more "friends" chemistry or dating chemistry between us. He's a fun guy with a playful sort of attitude about life, and his company is very enjoyable.


Overall date experience?

 Dennis: Great. I lucked out.

Jessica: It was great. I'm glad we went out.


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

 Dennis: 9.5.

Jessica: 8


Mamma Mia! That's a great date. No kidding! For your chance to sign up for the BDC, don't miss the Hook's Blind Date Challenge and personals party on Tuesday, June 28 from 8 to 10pm at Starr Hill. Food, fun and fortunes told. Be there, or die old and alone...