Mathias is a 27-year-old photographer who lives at Yonge and St. Clair. He describes his style as “classic and clean-cut, with explosions of colour,” and himself as “caring, outgoing with close friends, and introverted in big groups.” For fun, Mathias likes to play with his dog, “cook delicious food,” and scour the city for “amazing things to eat and drink.” He met Cherise online.
Cherise and I had been chatting online and emailing for a while, and were ready to get together. I was about to go to New York for two weeks, so there was only a small window of time to meet. At that time, she was staying with her parents in the ‘burbs, so I didn’t want to ask her to come all the way down to Toronto. I Googled a restaurant halfway between my place and where she was. I’d never heard of it before; it was off the highway, in a strip mall. That should have been a major tip-off.
When I arrived, I knew that I’d made a huge mistake. The place was like a really bad, watered-down chain place, coupled with a cheesy Richmond Street club. When I walked in, I realized that it also happened to be a total cougar bar—and it was jumping! I was the youngest person there by at least a decade. I didn’t want Cherise to think that this was my kind of hangout at all. When I asked her out, I had made a very odd joke about a Richard Serra art piece, so I assumed she already thought I was a weirdo. This date spot was not going to help.
I was there early, and sat at the bar with a bunch of guys in their late-50s watching the game. I tried to make some small talk, but my lack of knowledge about sports made it difficult. I was incredibly nervous, and they looked at me suspiciously. This also happened to be my first “first date,” as I’d always just fallen into relationships before. I felt like I was on an old episode of Blind Date.
I liked Cherise right away. She was beautiful, and I thought she liked me, too. She didn’t say anything about the restaurant specifically, and I felt instantly relieved as we smiled at each other and chatted. Just as we were finding our rhythm, though, a band started playing on a stage. It turns out they were an ’80s cover band—they were terrible, and so loud that we couldn’t hear each other at all. I almost put my head down on the table in defeat. For the rest of the date, we mostly smiled across the table at each other. The food was mediocre, but at that point it hardly mattered.
After a while, I paid the bill, and we stood outside the bar for a minute. I should have apologized, but already felt like I had utterly failed. We shared an awkward hug and went to our cars. On the drive home, I realized I had to do something fairly heroic if I wanted to see her again, so the next day, I uninvited a friend to a concert we had tickets for, and asked Cherise to go with me. She agreed, and our second date a few weeks later was amazing. Now we’re married, and we consider every anniversary an opportunity to make up for our first date.
Mathias rates his date (out of 10): 2
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