Biker and babe: Revving up Main Street

When you get to a certain age, sometimes the effort of dating can seem more trouble than it's worth. That seemed to be Julia's* assessment. The 34-year-old journalist, single mother, and self-described "reformed wild child" says she'd rather be out with friends or hanging at her house than "wasting time and money" going on dates.

"If I meet someone great, then great," she says. "But if I don't, I'm just not that worried about it right now." Despite her skepticism, she decided to give the Blind Date Challenge a chance to see if Matchmaker could work some magic.

Matchmaker got straight to work, scouring her man list. It wasn't long before she came across Michael*, a 38-year-old engineer who recently moved to town. An avid reader with a passion for motorcycles, Michael seemed like he just might get Julia off her couch and out onto the open road of dating.

Would Julia's inner wild child hop aboard Michael's Harley, or would a night on the town lead to road rash? Read on...

*Names have been changed at participants' request.


 The date

 Julia and Michael met at West Main on West Main St.


How did you get ready for the date?

 Michael: I actually thought about what to wear. For me, that's out of the ordinary.

Julia: I scrambled to get ready– I thought the date had been pushed back by 30 minutes, but then I learned five minutes before I needed to leave that in fact it hadn't.


Who arrived first?

Michael: I was first. She was running late, but I knew that, so it was okay.

Julia: He did. See above.


What did you do while you were waiting?

 Michael: I was responding to an e-mail using my phone. First time I've ever done it, so it took a while. She arrived just as I hit "Send."


Were you nervous?

Michael: Meeting people is always interesting and exciting for me, so it was a nervous excitement.

Julia: Yes, but not terribly. More apprehensive.


First impression?

Michael: My first physical impression was, "Hmm, she's cute."

Julia: He seemed friendly. He stood up, and we shook hands and made awkward "first meeting" small talk for a while.


Was this person your type?

 Michael: Yes, I like women who are smart and can have an intelligent conversation. Besides, she was cute, and that's my type of girl.

Julia: Physically, I don't really have a type, but I prefer a more edgy urban style. His was more conservative, though I could tell he'd taken care to wear something appropriate for the occasion.


What was your date wearing?

 Michael: She had on a light blue/green shirt with a white cover, blue jeans, and really cool tall suede boots.

Julia: He was wearing a cream-colored sweater with olive green rectangles (or were they squares?). He was already at the table, so I couldn't see his pants (though I assumed he was wearing them). His sweater was fine, but it wasn't something I would have picked– it reminded me of something my grandmother would have given my brother.



What did you order?

 Michael: Lamb skewer appetizers. Then I had a steak.

Julia: I ordered half a roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and a blueberry chutney.


How was the food?

 Michael: The lamb skewers were excellent. They were very tender and tasty, especially with the sauce. The steak was done perfectly to my taste and had a lot of flavor.

Julia: There was a lot of it! I couldn't finish, so I took most of it home.


Did you get drinks?

Michael: She did, one glass of wine with dinner. Alcohol makes me sick.

Julia: I ordered a glass of white wine; he drank some kind of soft drink and explained he hasn't had an alcoholic beverage since he was 16.


What did you talk about?

Michael: I think I was a bit rusty, but the conversation flowed pretty well. We talked about a lot of stuff. Topics included our background, work, education, recreation, a bit of home life, and some personal philosophy.

Julia: We talked a lot about his decision not to drink ever again, about AA, about how we arrived in Charlottesville, our career paths, and a little bit about my two boys (human) and his two boys (feline). He's been here about four months, but had been to the Downtown Mall only once. I encouraged him to check out the town a little more.


Did you have a lot in common?

 Michael: I think so.

Julia: Not really. I'm very extroverted and usually laugh about almost anything– he seemed much more shy, and I think I picked up on and adopted that introversion. I kept thinking we'd joke about something– anything– but we never did. Maybe it was just hard for him to relax. I felt much, much stiffer socially than I usually do.


Any turn-offs?

Michael: No, I had a very nice evening.

Julia: I felt a little on the spot when the subject of drinking came up (which it did almost immediately). I don't overdo it, but I felt uncomfortable about my single glass of wine. He seemed defensive about his decision not to drink, and at one point early on seemed angry even though I hadn't said anything about it.


Was there chemistry?

Michael: I'm a terrible judge of that stuff. I couldn't tell.

Julia: No.


Did you do anything after dinner?

Michael: No after-dinner activity; she had to relieve her baby-sitter.

Julia: I needed to get home, so I paid the tab and the tip and we called it a night. (He didn't offer to chip in on the tip, but he did thank me for covering it.)


What was the VERY end like?

 Michael: We said, "Goodnight, take care," and went our separate ways.


A hug? A kiss?

 Michael: No, and nope.

Julia: No. The awkward factor had grown exponentially for me over the course of the date, so physical contact wasn't in the cards.


Did you have fun?

 Michael: Very much so. It's always great to meet nice, real people.

Julia: It was an adventure.


Overall date experience?

Michael: I had a good time.

Julia: I was glad to meet someone new. He made an effort to keep the conversation going, and I respect anyone who's willing to go on a blind date. It's nerve wracking, especially when you know it's going to be written up in the paper.


Would you see this person again?

 Michael: Absolutely.

Julia: No, the connection wasn't there.


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

 Michael: 7 out of 10, with the only downside being that it was too short.

Julia:  5


So much for riding into the sunset together. Oh, well. A matchmaker can dream, can't she?–MM