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 Arthur and Michael had to say about their date cooking a meal from Fresh Canteen at The Depanneur.
Arthur is a 24-year-old mental-health consultant and advocate who lives in Burlington and works in downtown Toronto. He’s “witty, and well-versed in current events, politics, and pop culture” and “passionate about what I do, whether it’s my work, or cooking a meal.” Arthur likes “being able to say I’ve done something, even if it means I make an ass of myself. It could be doing EdgeWalk, going on a roller coaster, or trying a new food.” He says, ”I love, love, love to go bowling. My nickname is ‘SpareMaster.’” Arthur wants to date a man who is “driven, and always willing to go farther in life.” He was also featured in a previous edition of The Hook-Up.
Michael is a 30-year-old library technician who lives in Church-Wellesley Village. He says, “I’m a proponent of sensible shoes—I like to walk” and he enjoys reading and watching movies. Michael says he is “organized, loyal, a good listener, and overall just awesome,” and adds, “I like things done well, and have a tendency to take on a lot so that [things are] done right … I’m told I come off as cold when I first meet people; depending on the person, it [can] take me time to acclimate.” Michael describes his type as Benedict-Cumberbatch-as-Sherlock-Holmes, and would like to date someone who is “witty and sarcastic.”
Arthur on Michael
“As somebody who is a little more passive, I didn’t want to be the first person to arrive. I’m a gentleman and all, but I didn’t want to be the one to [initiate] the small talk and lead those awkward first few moments. My passiveness ended up making me about 10 minutes late for the date, which I felt guilty about, but Michael was completely understanding.
“Everybody has a ‘type’ when it comes to who they’re attracted to, but typically I don’t. I’m pretty open-minded about the physical characteristics of the people I meet. However, when I walked into the venue, I immediately noticed Michael, and was awestruck. If I had a type, he would have matched it to a T. From a physical point of view, it was like the man of my dreams was right in front of me.
“I was left speechless after initially meeting Michael, and at times I felt like I was stuttering, which I do when I’m really nervous or really excited. The thing that stood out the most for me was Michael’s stunning blue eyes. He was [also] just so well put-together. As soon as I met him, I told myself, ‘Don’t screw this up, don’t screw this up.’ This just seemed too good to be true.
“Making a meal together was really fun… I really enjoyed the cooking process. I think it provided filler during what’s normally an awkward moment on a first date: waiting for the food to arrive. We were both kind of nervous to be cooking and preparing a meal in front of each other. I felt like Michael and I were on the same level in the kitchen in terms of our habits and comfort. As we started the preparation, he lit the candle on the table and poured us each a glass of wine. I admired his effort.
“We were using some very sharp knives. What could go wrong? The running joke throughout the night was that it would make a memorable date if one of us got [cut] with one of the knives. It was comforting to know we have similar, darker senses of humour. After dinner was prepared, we sat down [to eat].
“Michael is the type of the guy who is hard to read, and he wasn’t as talkative as I am. I asked Michael if he had ever gone on a blind date before, and he said this was his first. I asked him a few times throughout the evening if he was nervous, and he told me he wasn’t. I hate dead air, and I consider myself a conversationalist, [whereas] I found Michael talked in shorter sentences. For most of the date, the conversation hit dead-ends. I’d ask Michael a question, and he’d answer it, and then just stop talking. His love of British novels and TV shows and my love of the monarchy probably provided our best conversation of the evening. [But] there was just some vibe about him that made me want to keep digging. There was so much more I wanted to know about Michael, I was just too afraid to ask it.
“I couldn’t help but feel something about Michael I’ve never felt before. Regardless of what kind of connection exists, at the very minimum I’d like to meet up with him again over coffee. I told him I had a good night and that I was always in the part of town where he lives, and wouldn’t mind grabbing a coffee. I offered to give him my number and he passed me his phone. We both bundled up and he left the venue as we both said goodbye. The ultimate test will be whether or not he texts me.”
ARTHUR RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Michael’s laugh: 8
Michael’s hair: 10
Michael’s cooking skills: 8
Michael on Arthur
“Going into the date, I was at an advantage, in that having arrived first I was able to regain some warmth in my body, and a certain measure of composure. I’d never really considered the perils of dates on winter [nights]: flushed checks, hair askew, the need to quickly and, if possible, delicately blow one’s nose. When my date arrived, he took a moment to bang off snow and salt from his boots, which was a considerate gesture.
“Physically, Arthur and I share many attributes; [we have] similar hair and eye colours. Meeting a potential partner and seeing a mirror of your own physical attributes is a bit disconcerting.
“I may have been a little overeager to begin the activity, [which was] cooking a meal whose ingredients had all been assembled for us. I was a bit ravenous. I really enjoyed the concept behind the date. Cooking a meal together is a great way to get to know someone, and I never would have come up with the idea left to my own devices.
“Arthur admitted that he wasn’t a chef by any means, and readily accepted advice from the experts [on-site]. In the kitchen, I don’t mind being hands-on, and Arthur was the same. Wine decanted, we worked our way through preparing [the meal]; as a cooking partner, Arthur was ideal, sharing in all the opportunities to dice, mince, sauté, sear, and stir. I learned that he is actively involved in mental-health advocacy, and he spoke eloquently about government policy as it relates to mental health.
“While I felt comfortable and at ease with Arthur, there was no discernible spark [for me]. The overall conversation was good, [but] I noticed that Arthur didn’t pick up on my attempts to try and find areas where we have things in common. I found that he was [telling me] a lot of information about himself. I also noticed that Arthur avoided eye contact, really only making it towards the end of the evening.
“With the meal cooked, Arthur and I sat down. I explained that I’ve never been on a blind date of any description. Throughout the meal, I noticed that Arthur became more physically relaxed, which alleviated any concerns I might have had that I was being too proper, and that my properness would put him ill at ease.
“If I were asked to give a character reference of Arthur to a new employer, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. I really only feel congenially towards Arthur; for a good portion of the meal, [I felt like] I was talking to a [colleague] in a formal setting, and not someone on I was on a date with. Date concluded, I made a dash to catch the streetcar.”
MICHAEL RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Arthur’s style: 7
Arthur’s sense of humour: 6
Arthur’s hair: 9
Special thanks to Fresh Canteen, 1-855-416-3737. Follow @FreshCanteen and Like Facebook.com/FreshCanteen. And special thanks to The Depanneur, 1033 College St., 416-828-1990. Follow @TheDepanneur and Like Facebook.com/thedepanneur.
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