Flashback: Where are they now?
They come in flocks, singles looking for mates, hoping the Blind Date Challenge will help their wistful dreams materialize. Under the watchful gaze of thousands of readers, Matchmaker pairs them up, then sets them free to follow their destinies, calling out, "Fly, my little lovebirds, fly!"
Sometimes romance takes flight, sometimes feathers get ruffled, and sometimes participants can't wait to get home to their nests. But oftentimes the story's not over just because the lights have gone up and the date has ended.
Matchmaker checked in with several couples whose blind dates seemed promising. Are they on the wings of love, or did their hopes of romance plunge to earth like a wounded sparrow?
HELEN AND ERIC at Cucina del Sol
– published March 10, 2005
She's a widow and a single mom of three who manages a bookstore and loves hiking and the outdoors. He's a ski buff and caterer from the other side of the mountain (Afton Mountain.) The pair dined in Crozet at Cucina del Sol and each reported having a lovely evening and plans for another in the near future. Did it happen?
Helen: Eric and I went out a few times after our blind date. We went to a great Thai restaurant in Harrisonburg one night. He was really sweet! I had fun going out with him, but things kind of fizzled. He was a nice and interesting guy. Never did get him to cook me a meal. Darn!
Eric: We went out a few times, but it just didn't work out.
CYRUS AND CATIE at Shebeen
–published April 21, 2005
He's a 21-year-old Hokie who spent the year doing an internship in the 'Ville and loves playing poker in his downtime. She's a self-described "cute, sporty sorority type" finishing her fourth year at UVA and looking for a tall, lean, athletic, smart guy. Did this gamble on love pay off, or did school rivalry trump romance?
Catie: After the date, I had a party at my apartment. Cyrus met up with us there and then headed out to bars with my friends and me. Everyone was in fourth-year mode, relishing the last few nights of revelry before we all graduated, so I'll have to say that I didn't pay that much attention to Cyrus, and he ended up leaving early.
Cyrus: We went out to a bar with her friends once after the blind date. Neither one of us was looking to date each other, though– or at least that was what I thought. I'll go back to Blacksburg for fall semester, but I liked Charlottesville and the people.
DAVID AND THERESA at Keswick's The Bar
–published May 19, 2005
Thirty-two-year-old David was already a Challenge veteran when Matchmaker set him up with Theresa, a 30-year-old dietician. David's jaw dropped when he saw this bootylicious babe, even though he initially believed she had donned a "skort" for the date. (He was mistaken.) In one of the more mystifying episodes of the BDC, David scored her a 9.5, then said there wasn't romantic chemistry. Did he change his tune as the days went by?
David: It was a dark, stormy night... I was all hopped up on nutmeg, and I got to thinking about my blind date with Theresa (the date where we had an unbelievable meal but a slightly standoffish waiter). I kept thinking to myself, in between shots of nutmeg and absinthe, "She's a fantastic girl, but she'd be a better fit for my friend." My friend is a guy who's very successful in the area, good looking and funny (not more than me in those categories, of course, but almost). He's looking for someone, so I decided to pass her information along to him. He was interested and asked me to put him in touch with Theresa, which Matchmaker was nice enough to do.
Theresa: I never spoke to him again. He asked me, through Matchmaker, to meet his friend. I met him and things went okay. Nothing has occurred since. I believe nothing is going to happen because his friend is so busy, and I'm dating someone at this time.
LAURA AND JON at Oxo
–published June 2, 2005
She's a 44-year-old writer, he's a 33-year-old grad student, but neither one considered age an issue. This July-October romance got off to a steamy start with a make-out session in the parking lot, and both Jon and Laura expected to see each other again. Did they finish what they started?
Laura: Although Jon and I didn't find a love connection on our date, we had a blast blabbing the night away. He entered my number in his cell phone midway through the date and insisted on me writing his on a matchbook for my future use. So I thought nothing of calling him the next weekend to see if he wanted to go to a barbecue (very non-date, just as friends). He never phoned back. Later I ran into him a couple times, and he apologized for not calling, first saying it was because he was falling in love with someone (I congratulated him) and then blaming it on habits he formed while in L.A. Hmmm– not so charming, after all.
Jon: Laura and I haven't arranged a follow-up rendezvous.
We do see each other around town occasionally. I think the traditional "date" social model is too respectable for a filthy animal like me. Maybe a blind gathering with several people, like a dinner or something, would be more socially normal for me.
JESSICA AND DENNIS at La Cucina
–published June 30, 2005
A minor car accident before the date didn't dim the spark between Jessica– a 39-year-old single mom who works in the mental health field– and Dennis, a 42-year-old photographer from Richmond. The two strolled the mall following their meal on Water Street, then spent a long time talking by the car before leaving a kiss lingering– but un-acted upon– in the Water Street parking lot. Would they see each other again? "Yes," said Dennis a few days after the date, "I've already called her." Jessica agreed there would be a second date. But how about a third?
Jessica: No reply.
Dennis: We went out on a second date, but I think that's it.
Unfortunately, Matchmaker's little birds are still trapped in their gilded singles cages. But perhaps one day, a special someone will come along and set each of them free, and the air will be filled with beautiful birdsong! Or is this theory for the birds? –MM