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 Carolina and Ryan had to say about their date at The Artisan Baker.
Carolina is a 30-year-old sales and marketing manager who lives at Queen and Gladstone. She describes herself as having “emotional intelligence and quick wit” and says, “fear never stops me from doing what I want, not even fear of rejection.” She works out every day, doing “Muay Thai with a trainer, boxing bag on my own, running, weights… the gym is ‘me’ time.” She also likes having drinks with friends and going to comedy clubs.
Ryan is a 28-year-old film and TV producer who lives in Little Portugal. Ryan says, “I love to cook to de-stress, and I’m never more at home than when I’m in a restaurant.” He wants to date “someone who brings out the best in me, and makes me bring out the best in her.” Ryan was also featured in the first edition of The Hook-Up.
Carolina on Ryan
“Ryan shook my hand at the beginning of the date, and went in for a small and polite cheek kiss. I would have skipped both and went in for a hug, but I respect his approach. We laughed immediately, probably because it was a little awkward. Ryan struck me as a confident and kind guy.
“Ryan’s attractive. I noticed his tattoos and his confidence first. He’s hot! He has good style and strong facial features. He apologized at one point for being under-dressed because he was in the middle of a workday. There was no need to apologize. He told me he liked my dress, then immediately asked what kind of shoes I was wearing. He looked down and said, ‘Cute.’ Damn. I think I wore the wrong shoes.
“I think it’s hard to be comfortable around someone when you first meet, but I felt comfortable as soon as we sat down, which means I swore a lot and laughed really loudly. He didn’t seem to mind, and even rose to the occasion. I believe a true gentleman should be able to handle a woman with a strong personality. He seems like a good listener, and was thoughtful in what he said and how he said it. He was also polite, but he immediately sat down on the booth side of the table; I wish he’d asked me where I wanted to sit. I hate cold, hard chairs.
“Our conversation began to flow quickly, and all over the place. We talked a lot about our friendships, his job, and different qualities we have in common. For instance: generosity. It was clear we both pride ourselves on being generous and thoughtful friends. At one point Ryan gushed about a bromance of his. His face lit up, his smile got bigger and I think he was actually glowing. It was really sweet. He cares about his friends very much and seems unafraid to be affectionate towards them. I dig that. He is obviously mature in his perspective and is very, very driven.
“Ryan offered to walk me to the subway, and we had a cigarette together. He asked for my number, and I told him not to forget the 48-hour rule. [Editor's note: as part of The Grid's guidelines for The Hook-Up, daters aren't allowed to be in contact for 48 hours.] He said he was going to go ahead and break it, and texted me on the spot.”
CAROLINA RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10)
Ryan’s manners: 7
Ryan’s smile: 10
Ryan’s laugh: 8
Ryan on Carolina
“It was a great date. I walked up to the restaurant and saw this cute, petite girl with curly black hair and glasses. She turned to me to introduce herself, and I noticed she had shaved the side of her head. Ballsy choice. Looking at her from one side gives the impression of someone quiet and put together, but looking at her from the other side says, ‘I have personality for days,’ which is a great way to describe Carolina, and it set the tone for the date.
“I was immediately attracted to her. She has a great smile, and she looks like she’s in great shape. She may be a little on the short side, but that’s nothing a good pair of heels can’t fix. I also appreciate a girl who gets the little black dress out of the closet for a first date. It strikes me as a confident choice, and she wore it well. (The dress gets big points, but the heeled sandals seemed very conservative by contrast.)
“After perusing the menu, we decided to split a bottle of white wine; I offered up lady’s choice, which she bounced back my way. We chose a Pinot Grigio, which is a standard first-date wine if ever there was one. I immediately felt comfortable with Carolina; there is not a pretentious bone in that girl’s body.
“She was talkative, full of energy and infinitely engaging. She owns her own place, which says a lot about someone’s ability to get it together, and is a big plus. She also seems really grounded in her group of long-term friends. We talked about where we grew up and where we are going in life, and then slid into topics that are NSFW. Some people would have been easily offended based on a couple of things we covered over dinner; the look on the waiter’s face said it all.
“All in all, there wasn’t a quiet moment or awkward pause all night, which was great. We never got stuck in the standard first-date questionnaire, either, which is all too common when you meet someone for the first time.
“I actually had to sneak out of work to attend the date, and had to get my ass back before anyone noticed. I walked her to the subway to say goodnight and asked for her number, which she happily provided, and I gave her a quick peck on the cheek. Now, I just need to think about how to follow-up what was a pretty great first date.”
RYAN RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10)
Carolina’s sense of humour: 7—“A little quirky, very outgoing. May take some time to get on the same page here.”
Carolina’s hair: 10
Carolina’s manners: 8
Special thanks to The Artisan Baker, 1423 Yonge St., 416-967-1423. Follow @ArtisanBakerTO.
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