Bulldog blues: Joking Mad' grads will be friends

As soon as Matchmaker heard about Gary and Lori, she knew they were a match just waiting to happen. These two 30somethings both have an interest in the social sciences: Lori has her BS in psychology, and Gary is currently a graduate student in social work. Will these two JMU alums clash over the social symbolism of their bulldog mascot? Or will they be a study in romance?


The date

 Lori and Gary wined and dined at Rococo's on Commonwealth Drive.


Did you do anything out of the ordinary before the date, to plan for it?

 Lori: I asked my mom to check on my cat since I'd be out late.

Gary: I spent a long time wondering what my date would be like. This was my first blind date ever. All I had to go on were friends' horror stories. One involved a sleepover where my friend was awakened by his date's mother screaming obscenities and calling her "a good-for-nothing tramp." With the sheets pulled up to his chin, he helplessly watched this woman, whom he just had met, get attacked by her mother.

(Matchmaker would like to point out that she had no part in this blind date.)

Were you first or second to arrive?

 Lori: First. Actually, I was 10 minutes early, which anyone who knows me will say is very odd.

Gary: I was the late one, but only by a couple of minutes.

What did you do while waiting?

 Lori: I tasted a couple of wines and talked to one of the servers at Rococo's about the Blind Date Challenge.

Were you nervous?

 Lori: A little bit nervous, a little bit nauseated.

Gary: A little, yes.

When did you calm down?

 Lori: I calmed down after a few sips of wine and after meeting Gary. He was very laid-back, so that helped to ease the tension.

Gary: After an exchange of pleasantries and a few gulps of wine.

First impression:

 Lori: Before meeting him, I knew he was interested in social justice, so I was expecting a longhaired, crunchy dude. It turns out that he was neither longhaired nor crunchy. He seemed casual and relaxed, and he was nice-looking.

Gary: Lori has a warm, attractive smile. Her good looks are complemented by her easy-going character.

Would you say this person was your type?

 Lori: He wasn't my type, but that's not a bad thing.

Gary: Type is difficult to define, so maybe I don't have a type.

How did you like their style?

 Lori: I liked his style, which mostly had to do with his personality and presence, not so much his attire.

Gary: She has great style– classy.

Describe what your date was wearing.

 Lori: A guayabera shirt and jeans.

Gary: She was wearing a nice blouse, and the pants she wore showed off her girlish figure quite nicely.



 Did you order drinks?

Lori: Yes, I ordered a chardonnay.

Gary: Lori was on her first glass when I arrived... so she says. The server removed an empty wine glass from the table after I ordered. Just kidding, it was a taster. I was the one who had two glasses of wine– the recommended daily allowance!

What did you have to eat?

Gary: The appetizer was a salad topped with a pesto cream sauce. We both ordered the same entrĂ©e– salmon with a Mediterranean sauce.

How was it?

Lori: The food was absolutely wonderful. The salmon was perfectly cooked– to the melt-in-your-mouth point.

Gary: The meal was excellent. The salmon was succulent, the green beans were flavorful, and the garlic generously added. I was definitely a fan.

Did you share?

Gary: The appetizer, yes.

How was the service in the restaurant?

Lori: The service was excellent, even when we gave him a hard time.

Gary: The server offered great culinary suggestions. He wasn't over-attentive, but he didn't leave us hanging.

What did you talk about?

Lori: We talked about going to school at JMU, his experiences in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, what he hoped to write his thesis on, my travels, life, being a Solid Gold dancer, etc.

Gary: Well, we both are JMU grads– same year, in fact. Naturally, that provided a good starting point. I didn't feel I needed to search for words, and Lori never hesitated. There were never any expectant pauses or awkward moments– just two people enjoying each other's company and a great meal.

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

Lori: That he lived in Ecuador for eight or nine months. It's especially interesting because he went for one particular reason, which fell through right after he got there. But he stayed and made the best of it, exploring the country and learning some Spanish.

Gary: I was impressed that she spent a couple months trekking across Europe alone. I think making the decision to travel abroad solo is gutsy.

Was there anything you really disliked?

Lori: Yeahhe wouldn't concoct an elaborate story that we could tell about in this article. (Joking, joking.)

Gary: There was nothing that I disliked. Seriously!

Did you have a lot in common?

Lori: Yes. We're both interested in traveling, and we had some of the same professors in college. Also, I used to be a vegetarian, and he's a pescetarian.

Gary: Stepping up to the Blind Date Challenge is enough!

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

Lori: There was chemistry on a friendship level, but not necessarily a romantic chemistry. At the beginning of the date, he was leaning back. Towards the end, he was leaning toward me.

Gary: Sometimes, chemistry's a lot like dancing. At times, you and your partner are in step, and then there are times when you're both just a little behind the beat. That night, the band was not playing our song.

How were your date's table manners?

Lori: I don't think he chewed with his mouth open or anything. And we agreed to tell each other if there were green things stuck in our teeth. Is that good manners?

Gary: She has mad skills!

How did dinner end?

Lori: With a full belly.

Gary: We agreed it was getting late and decided to call it a night.

Did you do anything after dinner?

Lori: I live in Staunton, so I wanted to get on the road.

Gary: Negative.

What was the VERY end like?

Lori: The very end of a first date is always awkward, but Gary made it less so. We walked out together, hugged, and talked about a future JMU alumni happy hour.

Gary: Pleasant and funny.

Did you walk each other to the car?

Gary: I walked her to her slick SUV.

A hug? A kiss?

Lori: We hugged, but no funny stuff.

Did you have fun?

Lori: Yes, I had a lot of fun getting to know him and sharing a meal.

Gary: It was a nice time.

Would you see this person again?

Lori: Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed his company, but I don't think there was any romantic chemistry.

Gary: Sure, as long as I'm not being graded.

Overall date experience?

Lori: The date was an overall great experience. Gary isn't someone I would have met otherwise, and he seems like a fantastic human being. So, thanks to the Hook for introducing us!

Gary: For my first blind date, I'd say I got lucky...well, you know what I mean.

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

Lori: 8

Gary: 8