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 Clint and Brian had to say about their date at Nella Cucina’s Spanish-tapas cooking class.
Clint is a 36-year-old recruiter who lives in Pickering and works in Yorkville. “I like to be active,” he says. “I play squash and shoot archery.” He also likes to go on “random road-trips in my vintage car, a 1971 MGB” and says, “I enjoy the company of friends, be it at a club, a barbecue, on a patio, or at a dinner party.” Clint describes himself as “always optimistic and positive; I naively believe that people are genuinely good.” He adds, “I’m adventurous and inquisitive. I like to roam and explore life, cities, and people.”
Brian is 26, works in communications and public relations, and lives in the Annex. Brian loves to cook and barbecue. “Whether it’s planning dinners, cottage weekends, or get-togethers, I’m usually the one to get everyone in one place, and make sure that they’re having a good time.” He also says he “can be rather direct. I don’t like to beat around the bush, and sometimes my straightforwardness can come off as cold. I’m pretty driven. I like to set goals for myself professionally, and I work hard to achieve them. I can be a workaholic.”
Clint on Brian
“I got stuck in traffic on the way to the date. I was yelling and screaming at drivers and pedestrians all the way to Nella Cucina. I finally arrived and, after placing the parking ticket on the dash, I ran inside. I didn’t have time to get nervous.
“Brian, the poor guy, was waiting patiently and a little awkwardly, most likely wondering if I had stood him up. He’s a good-looking guy with bright, friendly eyes, and he was presentable and put-together. I apologized, and he was gracious. We stood there making the obligatory small talk. I told him about my recent camping adventure, when I forgot the chicken I’d marinated and had to improvise barbecue-pizza from scratch using the campfire. We compared stories about potlucks, hosting dinners and parties, entertaining. What seemed like a five-minute conversation was actually more like 25.
“Our banter about food, cooking, and hosting continued as we chopped some chorizo sausage, and crimped pastry with a fork. We had a glass of wine while we made a rub for the pork tenderloin, cutting the pork and chorizo sausage into bite-sized pieces, and skewering the pork and sausage to be grilled. Brian grated fresh garlic, and I mixed the ingredients. We talked about white-water rafting, wild and crazy adventures, hobbies, interests, and work, and had another glass of wine. After all the cooking and grilling, Brian and I sat at our station devouring the tapas-style meal we’d prepared. The conversation flowed easily; I think we were both on the same page.
“Nothing was really awkward or uncomfortable, and we shared some laughs. I think Brian is ‘a good guy.’ He’s polite and grounded, and clearly enjoys his job, friends and life, but I never got the feeling of ‘I’d love to experience “x” together’ about him. I’m not sure I felt a romantic connection. When the date ended, we exchanged numbers. I gave him a quick hug and we went our separate ways.”
CLINT RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Brian’s style: 8—“Comfy casual, I liked it”
Brian’s manners: 9
Brian’s sense of humour: 8
Brian on Clint
“I arrived early and was a bit nervous because Clint was a couple of minutes late, but [when he arrived] he was very friendly and welcoming. I liked that he was clean-cut and well put-together. We had a lot in common when it comes to the social aspects of our lives: We both like to entertain and plan events and parties for our friend groups, and we’re both really into food, so we had a couple of great things to talk about. Before the class began, we were tasked with chopping chorizo sausages for a tapas recipe. We didn’t really follow [the directions] and chopped them the wrong way, which loosened up the mood quite a bit.
“We were having a lot of fun cooking. [You] can really get a genuine impression of someone when you’re having a conversation while marinating several pounds of raw pork. We grabbed a glass of wine and talked more. Clint talked a lot about his business. He also told a lot of really interesting stories, like how he was in South Africa and stumbled onto a pack of lions. He also told me about how he’s getting his pilot’s licence, and how he likes to go white-water rafting.
“I liked that Clint is also a pet owner and seemed to be okay with it when I admitted to being kind of a crazy cat lady. [But] it became clear that I’m less adventurous than Clint. I definitely didn’t have stories like that to tell, and most of my interests and pastimes are geared towards exploring the city. The conversation definitely seemed to be more one-sided, with Clint talking most of the time, and me asking the majority of the questions. For a good portion of our date, I was trying to gauge whether or not Clint was interested in me based on the way our conversation was going. I liked learning a lot about him, but I definitely would have liked him to show more of an interest in me.
“After the class ended, we sampled our creations and drank more wine. We realized that we were the last ones there, and headed out. I have mixed opinions on how the evening went, whether it was more ‘friendship’ than ‘romance’ or not. I liked Clint as a person and had fun with him, so if he was interested, I would see him again.”
BRIAN RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Clint’s style: 8
Clint’s sense of humour: 8
Clint’s cooking skills: 10
Special thanks to Nella Cucina, 876 Bathurst St., 416-922-9055. Follow @nellacucina and Like Facebook.com/nellacucinatoronto.
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