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 Natalie and Dimitri had to say about their date at Field Trip.
Dimitri is 36, works in marketing, and lives in Queen West. He says his style is “comfortable, but [I] definitely know the value of good cut and fabric.” Dimitri describes himself as adventurous, very inquisitive, lively, energetic, and kind, and says, “There are times when I’m analytical to a fault, but then, other times, I’m ridiculously laid-back.” He rides his bike a lot, throws Frisbees in Bellwoods, and drinks beer on a patio or in the park. He says he “can usually make friends with strangers walking on the street, or waiting in lines.”
Natalie is a 35-year-old account manager who lives in Humber Bay. Natalie says her style involves “lots of black and white with pops of colour.” She is honest, funny, and spontaneous, but has “trouble saying no…I like to please people.” Natalie likes to pretend she’s reading a book when she’s really “playing on the interweb,” as well as run and binge on TV shows. Last year, she travelled to Helsinki, then to Budapest, then trained to Vienna, Prague, Munich, Cologne, Brussels, Bruges, and London.
Natalie on Dimitri
“I arrived a few minutes before our meeting time, and Dimitri was already there. We shook hands, and then he mentioned that he liked my necklace. He asked if I had an umbrella—it was raining slightly—and told me that he’d brought an extra one for me. [It] was sweet and thoughtful. I love when a man plans ahead. Bonus points for him!
“It took me a few moments before I noticed that he was good-looking, very good-looking. He is a down-to-earth [kind of] handsome, which I prefer, not a ‘fumble my words, can’t look into his eyes’ handsome. [He was] dressed perfectly for a music festival in the rain, [in] long denim shorts. I loved the yellow K-Way jacket!
“Immediately, Dimitri entrusted me with the food and drink vouchers; he mentioned that he might lose them. We decided to hit the bar, then made our way around to the food-truck area to check out the options. Dimitri commented that the quinoa salad looked good, and that he might get it. I was a bit concerned because my food choice was likely going to include fries, cheese curds, and gravy, but I soon learned that he was just as game to indulge in unhealthy fare. I was pleased that he didn’t comment negatively on my ‘fat-kid diet’; I really like my sweets and treats. We ended up getting kale salad, quinoa, and fish tacos—Dimitri sweetly told me that no one had bought him fish tacos before—then we shared bison, pulled pork, yummy buns filled with meat, and finished up with gelato! I do love a partner in crime when it comes to food.
“Dimitri was very easy to talk to. We talked continuously about a number of different things: Work, the World Cup, cookies, and travel, plus a little bit of sports and fitness talk. We spent much of the time taking funny but friendly little jabs at each other.
“We ran into a few people that he knew through work; he was polite and introduced me. Some people just don’t do that. He was also really great at striking up conversations with people we shared tables with.
“Dimitri mentioned that he was old, so I asked him how old, and he said ‘very old.’ Turns out that ‘very old’ is only one year older than me. He did try to backpedal on that a bit. I wasn’t offended, though. I know that I’m old.
“He called me ‘lady’ throughout the evening, as in ‘Okay, lady, let’s get a drink,’ and, ‘Lady, you’re in charge, where are we going to eat now?’ which I didn’t mind. I liked it better than him [theoretically] calling me ‘babe’ or ‘sweetie.’
“I didn’t feel like I was on a blind date. I felt like I was at a music festival with a friend who I’d known for a while. It was nice, [with] no nervousness, and lots of really great banter between us the whole time. I think, with Dimitri, what you see is what you get. He seems sweet, honest, and like he would be a riot with a group of friends. A guy’s guy, but sensitive and respectful, like he was raised in a nice family. To be honest, he gives me a bit more faith about men in general. The last guy I went out with was a bit of a bad apple, and somewhat spoiled my view on the rest of the bunch.
“At the end of the evening, I remembered that I was not hanging out with a friend. Dimitri said, ‘Okay, it’s time for the most awkward goodbye ever.’ We shared a quick hug. I left without even saying thank you [and that] I had a lovely time, which I did. He must have thought that I was raised by wolves! If I could go back to any moment of the evening, I would go back to the end.
“Dimitri was a really good date. I really enjoyed his company, and loved the fact that he seemed to be having a good time, too. I didn’t have butterflies, and I wouldn’t say that the evening had a romantic feel to it, [but] that’s not to say I wouldn’t go out with him again; of course, if he wanted to see me again, he might have asked for my info. [He’s] a very handsome, attentive, funny, and sweet guy. He was a much better [choice] than I’ve [made] for myself in the past!”
NATALIE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Dimitri’s style: 8
Dimitri’s tact: 8
Dimitri on Natalie
“I was a little worried that the weather wasn’t going to hold out, so I packed a couple of umbrellas and hopped on my bike to head to the festival. I got to the gates a few minutes early and was excited to meet the ‘Grid Girl,’ which is how friends referred to her in the week leading up to the date, as well as to see the line-up of bands at the festival.
“Natalie looked great in her festival gear—a pair of gold rubber boots—and had a great smile. She was wearing a tank top that showed off her really great arms and shoulders. Her body was badass, for real. I really liked her style, [but it] was a bit more off-the-rack than I prefer. I’m more into a bit of a bohemian style than what appeared to be her style.
“Although I felt a bit nervous, particularly at the beginning of the date, I wasn’t getting the butterflies that typically accompany a potential love affair. Natalie was pretty rad, but I couldn’t picture picnics in the park, cycling through the city, or camping under the stars with a bottle of wine with [her]. Despite living and working in a similar geographic proximity, I feel that our worlds revolve around slightly different stars.
“Within no time we were looking for something to eat. We ended up grabbing a bit of everything and settled [in at] a table under some trees to eat. It was raining a little so it was nice to get under a tree and eat and talk. I had picked up some macaroons and cookies on the way to the festival, so we shared some of those for dessert. Natalie wowed me with her culinary skills by telling me about her homemade recipe for brownies; it consisted of pretty much everything you’d find in the cookie and sugar aisle of the grocery store. I was impressed! I have a real sweet tooth. It came out that we both have a serious obsession with Nutella.
“Natalie has a really good sense of humour, and we definitely clicked on a communication level. We were both able to read each other’s sarcasm and sometimes-dry senses of humour really well. Everyone around us was in the festival spirit, so as a result, we got to talking with strangers. Natalie was open and friendly, and it was really easy being social with her—I didn’t feel I ever had to censor myself or behave in an unnatural way.
“She seemed really well-travelled, and had some funny stories about staying with family in Europe. She is definitely outgoing, which I admire in people. We didn’t actually spend too much time watching the bands since we were talking for most of the date. Once Broken Social Scene got on the stage, we headed over to the field. I was conscious of not spending too much time watching the band, though, because I felt like I needed to talk with her and keep the conversation going. We ended up grabbing some gelato after a few songs and kept talking. After that, it felt like the date was winding down, so we said goodbye and gave each other a hug goodnight.
“We didn’t exchange contact info at the end of the date; we just said goodbye and gave each other a hug…I didn’t feel natural in the moment to ask for her number. I figured we could get in touch with each other through social media pretty easily anyway. I thought Natalie was a pretty great person. I could see myself reaching out to start a friendship with her, but nothing romantic beyond that.”
DIMITRI RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Natalie’s style: 8
Natalie’s manners: 9
Special thanks to Field Trip, fieldtriplife.com. Follow @FieldTrip on Twitter and like Facebook.com/fieldtriplife.
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