Each week in The Hook-Up, we set up single readers of The Grid and send them on blind dates around Toronto. Here’s what Albert and Maxie had to say about their date at the Open Roof Festival.
Albert is a 34-year-old medical-device salesperson who lives on the Danforth. He says, “I dress professionally during the week when I’m seeing patients in the clinic. On weekends, I dress more casually… I’m low-maintenance and easy to please. I don’t ask for many things, because I feel that I’m lucky to have the wonderful life I have now.” Albert describes himself as “outgoing—I’m able to talk to anybody, anywhere; trustworthy; resourceful; and frugal—my exes thought it was cheap to go to Goodwill to buy clothes.” He likes to go to the gym a few times a week, and go to new events “to explore this wonderful city I was born and raised in.” Albert wants to date someone who is “cute and sexy. I’m very picky in terms of looks, because I know I’m a good-looking guy. Ideally, they should be established in their career and have an active lifestyle. Confident, honest, self-reliant. I tend not to like smokers.”
Maxie is 26, works in marketing, and lives in the Annex. She says “I would say [my style] is London, UK-esque. A classy blazer paired with something flowy.” Maxie is “driven, honest, and down to earth” as well as “sensitive and serious.” She likes to “write, do yoga, and travel” and recently “made it to round two of a contest to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and speak about the experience in Dublin.” She says, “I like a ‘boy next door’ type with a nice smile and an athletic build, [who] knows what he wants in life, while not sweating the small stuff. Grounded, lighthearted, trustworthy, and dependable are also musts.” Maxie adds, “I’m not typically an online dater, because I like to meet people organically. Although this isn’t organic in a traditional sense, it seems like it would be interesting: The type of person who would be putting themselves out there [in The Hook-Up] in the first place appeals to me.”
Maxie on Albert
“I spent the entire day at the office in anticipation. I was so nervous that I realized I left my purse on the streetcar [when I was on my way to] the venue! I figured if [my date] was awesome, this would be a somewhat humorous story to reminisce about after the fact, but if he was horrible… let’s just say Albert had a lot to live up to on this date, and he didn’t even know it yet.
“When I walked up the front gate, Albert was already waiting for me. The first thing I noticed was his infectious smile—from the get-go, you could tell he was a sincere guy, with a strong handshake and a lot to say. Albert was more suited and suave than the ‘boy next door,’ [but] within two minutes of speaking, I warmed up to him.
“We met at an outdoor festival with live music, food and drinks, and a film screening that would occur later in the evening. The setting was pretty perfect for exploring casually, and it ignited various conversation points. It was in [the conversation] that I realized Albert knows a lot about everything. Seriously, he knew what code ‘99’ meant on the TTC; the many reasons why you should never eat red meat—after telling him I prefer steak over chicken and fish—and, at one point, almost persuaded me to sign up for a car service after listing all the reasons why it was so wonderful. I definitely took note of his outgoing, smiley, and convincing personality—I do tend to be more attracted to the calm, cool, and collected types, but I was super interested in learning more about Albert and all of his random facts.
“When Albert asked me if I was hungry and wanted to grab some food, I said, ‘sure,’ but [I was already] so full! I had committed a classic dating faux pas and eaten a bit before [the date]. Albert deserved an explanation. I knew the venue served a ton of shellfish, and I explained that I have never actually tried seafood before, but that the allergy runs in my family. Albert joked and said that if I were to try it and something [bad] happened, he would save my life! He’s [also] a registered nurse. I was impressed! I give him kudos for the most unique pick-up line ever! All jokes aside, Albert actually took this extremely well: He stayed away from oysters the entire time, which was really nice and thoughtful.
“We ended up ordering beef sliders with Memphis barbecue sauce and caramelized onions, lamb skewers with rosemary and lemon, and rice balls with olive tapenade and marinara sauce. After that, we made our way to the beer cart where we had a choice between a lighter beer and a slightly darker beer with ‘more flavour.’ I made a joke and chose the beer with ‘[less] flavour.’ Everyone seemed to laugh but Albert. The joke itself was likely not too funny, but I like someone who finds my awkward humour endearing.
“Although there was never a silent moment, I did notice that we differed on a lot of things. While he spoke about his love for EDM and scary movies, I’m more into alternative indie-pop and movies with happy endings. Regardless, Albert was really easy to talk to. Throughout the night, we spoke about family, interests, and hobbies.
“It was getting a bit late and the thoughts of my purse roaming the streets of Toronto was all I could think about. I asked Albert if he would mind if I left prior to the film screening to try and track it down. He was completely understanding, which is a very attractive quality in any guy.
“As I was about to leave, Albert let me know he genuinely liked hanging out and would love to do it again soon. He was pretty quick to ask for my number, so I said, ‘okay.’ I gave him a hug and went on my way. I definitely think Albert is an amazing person and could see us being friends.”
MAXIE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Albert’s manners: 7
Albert’s hair: 4
Albert on Maxie
“My first impression of Maxie was that she was beautiful, and had an incredible smile. I could see that she was slim and took care of herself. I was attracted to her, and I think she was attracted to me as well. She came straight from work and was wearing a nice cream button-up shirt, a blue skirt, with a dark blazer. She looked professional, confident, and sexy at the same time.
“The weather was perfect and, being the opening night [of the Open Roof Festival], there was a certain excitement in the air. Neither of us had heard about this event before and were pleasantly surprised because it fit our personalities: We both seemed to be adventurous types willing to try new things. Maxie [also] seemed to be positive and upbeat.
“Maxie mentioned that she thinks she is allergic to shellfish and oysters, but she’s never eaten them before! She had had a bad reaction in the past, but wasn’t sure what caused it. I jokingly said, ‘Tonight you’re going to have an oyster for the first time.’ I think that scared her a bit, but she laughed. What surprised me is that she has never eaten sushi. I love sushi. It could be an issue, ha ha.
“We talked about travel, and a theme that came up was London, England. She said she lived there for two years for work and had an amazing experience. She mentioned how she was there during the Olympics but didn’t get to see any of the events live, which is a shame because the Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She clearly has the travel bug, because she wants to travel twice a year. She mentioned a four-country Europe trip coming up soon. She asked about my travels, but didn’t really ask too many follow-up questions.
“After the first 10 minutes, we really began to relax and got to know each other. We even touched on a deadly topic: exes. We talked about what we did for work a little bit. I told her about my business in medical devices; she didn’t seem to ask too many questions about it. Whenever I tell people about CPAP machines, it always takes 15 minutes to explain what it is and how it helps patients with sleep apnea.
“Maxie unfortunately lost a work bag on the TTC on the way to the event; she jokingly said she was distracted thinking about meeting me, which came off like a really smooth compliment. I immediately offered to help her look for this bag, and was willing to leave the event with her to find it, but we figured we should enjoy the event that was planned for us. If the bag was going to be found, it would get returned to her eventually; if someone had stolen it, leaving the event wouldn’t get the bag [back].
“Maxie amusingly only ate half the bun [of her sliders] because she felt it was ‘too much bun for such a small burger.’ The rice balls were good as well; I noticed she only ate half of her ball. There were beers from Amsterdam brewery, and we ordered one of each. [It was] kind of odd that she didn’t want to try my beer. Seeing as she didn’t want to try mine, I didn’t ask to taste hers. Other goodies included coconut water and popcorn. I ate the soba noodles on my own, which were very tasty. She ate up all the guacamole that came with the nachos; I barely got any! I’ll forgive her for that, though. I heard from one of the organizers that the movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal is about him meeting his doppelganger, and that the food items would be in pairs as well. Maxie seemed really impressed that I had watched the movie trailer in advance.
“I asked for Maxie’s number, and then sent her a text. I didn’t try a kiss; I will make her wait for a future date for that.
“She left first to try and track down her bag on the TTC. I hope she finds it.”
ALBERT RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Maxie’s style: 10
Maxie’s laugh: 7
Maxie’s hair: 9
Special thanks to the Open Roof Festival, 99 Sudbury St. Follow @OpenRoofFest and Like Facebook.com/OpenRoofFestival.