Zzz rated: Date starts huggish, goes sluggish

The background


Blind dates are always a gamble, but the stakes are even higher this time of year. After all, no one wants to take a chance on love, lose, and then have to confront those rose bouquets, red chocolate boxes, and conversation hearts around every corner.

Nikki and Doug*, however, were willing to take that risk, all for the sake of romance.

Nikki even admitted it.

"Some people think I have a rough exterior– tomboyish– but inside I'm a hopeless romantic," she says.

Though Doug wouldn't openly confess to being a softy, Matchmaker just had a hunch about him. And he did describe himself as a good listener who likes to cook.

Matchmaker prides herself on her instincts, but even she'll cross her fingers for a blind date on Valentine's Day weekend...

*names have been changed


The date


Nikki and Doug chowed down at Northern Exposure on West Main.


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


Nikki: Earlier in the week I tried to Google him, but I couldn't find him. As I was getting ready that night, I realized the shirt I was planning to wear was wrinkled, so I tried to steam it in the shower because I didn't have time to iron. It didn't work, so I wore a different shirt. Some friends had suggested a different hairstyle, which I tried out, but I don't think it worked that well.

Doug: I tried to take a nap; unfortunately, I couldn't fall asleep. I watched The Simpsons right before I left.

Were you first or second to arrive?


Nikki: I was second. As I was walking from my car to the front door, I saw him at a table in the front window. He looked bored.

Doug: I thought I was going to be late because I hit every red light on my drive over. I got there with two minutes to spare, but ended up waiting five minutes for my date to arrive.

What did you do while waiting?


Doug: I sat down at the table, glanced over the specials, and looked out the windows.

Were you nervous?


Nikki: Not really. I had such an exhausting week, I didn't have any energy to be nervous.

Doug: I was anxious to get the date started.

When did you calm down?


Doug: Probably within the first five minutes of the date.

First impression:


Nikki: The first thing he did was give me a hug, which was surprising, but I was glad he took the lead so we didn't have to do an awkward chicken dance instead.

Doug: I gave her a hug when she walked in, but it seemed like that made her uncomfortable.

–Crossed signals within the first five seconds? Is that even possible?–MM

Would you say this person was your type?

Nikki: I don't really have a type, but he was not my un-type.

Doug: No. She is someone I know I wouldn't stop to strike up a conversation.

Describe what your date was wearing.


Nikki: He wore a sweater and cargo pants.

Doug: Black pants and a pastel shirt, which was half-buttoned. There was a black shirt underneath.


At Northern Exposure


Did you order drinks?


Nikki: I had a beer.

Doug: I stuck with water.

What did you have to eat?


Nikki: I had crab cakes, broccoli, and roasted potatoes. No appetizer or dessert. I'd had a late lunch and wasn't very hungry.

Doug: Veal parmesan and pasta

Did you share meals?


Nikki: He doesn't like seafood, but when the crab cakes came, he thought they looked good. I offered him a bite, but he never took me up on it. He did accept some vegetables from me. He didn't offer any of his veal, but I had already said that I don't like veal.

Doug: She did offer a piece of her crab cakes. Now that I'm thinking about it, I never returned the favor.

How was the food?


Doug: I thought my veal was pretty good. The potatoes and broccoli had some sort of sauce that was really good, and I enjoyed the salad.

How was the service in the restaurant?


Nikki: The waitress was super-attentive.

What did you talk about?


Nikki: Our jobs, the upcoming snow. There were a few pauses in the conversation, but nothing horribly awkward. I think we did equal duty keeping up the flow. His voice is low, and the table next to us was loud, so I had to ask him to repeat some things.

Doug: The majority of the conversation was just a Q&A session. I was just trying to get a feel for her, find some common interests. She talked about her job, and then I did.

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


Nikki: He gardens lying down!

Doug: She moved to this country when she was two. Her dad is an oceanographer. One job she had involved catching and measuring fish in the Atlantic Ocean.

Was there anything you really disliked?


Nikki: Nothing serious.

Doug: We didn't have many common interests, and she didn't ask me many questions. I had to lead the conversation.

Did your date do anything that impressed you?


Nikki: It sounds silly, but we both noticed a car going the wrong way out of a one-way driveway, and I was impressed by his awareness.

Doug: Nothing stands out.

Was there "chemistry" between you?


Nikki: No. There were a few times when we slipped from the "I just met you" formal conversation to more familiar conversation, but no sparks were flying. He has a cute, boyish smile, which I enjoyed.

Doug: No chemistry. I could tell from the hug at the beginning of the date. She didn't give me a strong hug back. It was the same vibe when I ended the date with a goodbye hug.

Did anything particularly interesting happen?


Doug: We sat in the front corner surrounded by windows. Occasionally car headlights would shine in her eyes when we were talking.

–Zzzz... Oh sorry, Doug, were you saying something?–MM

How did dinner end?

Nikki: He offered to leave the tip, but didn't leave enough, so I put some down, too.

Doug: She finished off her beer, and the check came. I asked her if she wanted to call it a night. I think we were both tired.

A hug? A kiss?


Doug: I wasn't sure how to officially end it, so I gave her a hug and thanked her for the night. We exchanged numbers.

Would you see this person again?


Nikki: I might.

Doug: If she calls, we could hang out as friends.

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


Nikki: 7

Doug: 6. I would've ranked it higher if there was a second date to follow.