Dariya is a 32-year-old television producer who lives in Cabbagetown. She says, “My style is ‘smart professional’ with punches of artsy hippie,” and describes herself as “confident, creative, intelligent, boisterous, and sometimes too silly.” Dariya likes to hang out with her dog, go to the theatre, try new restaurants, and read. She has been single for two years, dating on and off.
I’m looking for a guy who is smart, but not full of himself, flexible enough to mix with my artsy and academic friends, good-natured, and well-read. I had been online for a few weeks when I met Mark on OkCupid. In both his profile and subsequent communication, he seemed to be really smart, sarcastic, and thoughtful. It seemed like he’d be a good match for me. We agreed to meet up, and I suggested a pub loud enough to provide a good exit strategy, if the need arose.
When I walked in, I was surprised that Mark was a lot shorter than his profile indicated, and looked much older than he said he was. Nevertheless, I sat down and we started chatting. He was more acerbic in real life than online, but I sensed that it was coming from nervousness; he was quite fidgety. Our conversation moved beyond the usual small talk right away. As we bounced from books to the Eurozone to our families, he started to loosen up. About three hours later, having had a few drinks, I was starting to find him rather cute and clever. A band started playing in the pub, so we decided to head to another bar where we could continue talking.
That’s when things got weird: As soon as we sat down at the second bar, Mark reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded-up piece of paper and a pencil. We ordered our cocktails, then he ceremoniously unfolded the paper, smoothed it out on the table, and cleared his throat. Mark told me that he had prepared 30 questions for me. The first question asked whether or not I could do any impressions. I said no, and he made fun of me and said that everyone could do an impression. He made some notes on the piece of paper.
After a few more questions, I asked him about the notes that he was making; he said that he was scoring me, and that, so far, I wasn’t doing very well. By question 15 or 16, I was starting to lose my mind. Apparently, my choice of Arthur Russell as “the dead ’70s musician I would most want to have dinner with” was a terrible answer. When the waiter came by to see if we wanted more drinks, I said, “No!” The bill came and I made no move to split the tab as I normally would have. Mark walked me out of the bar and then, unbelievably, asked me if I wanted to go on a second date. I just waved goodbye and walked away, shaking my head.
Dariya rates her date (out of 10): 4
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