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 Dustin and Arthur had to say about their date at Toronto Star “Fed” columnist Corey Mintz’s dinner party.
Dustin is a 26-year-old human resources manager who lives in the Distillery District. He likes theatre, the beach, cocktails, and reading, and says, “I’m always there for my friends when they need me, and I can be a great listener or advice-giver.” Dustin wants to date a guy “who can calm me down when I get worked up over nothing,” who “can make my friends and family laugh and be a total charmer with them,” and “is able to have interests and activities outside of the relationship.” Dustin was also featured in a previous edition of The Hook-Up.
Arthur is a 23-year-old mental-health consultant and advocate who lives in Burlington but says, “I’m an urban boy, born, and raised in Toronto, and want to move back downtown.” Arthur likes “long drives in the country; they allow me to relax, collect my thoughts, or pretend I’m auditioning for American Idol.” Arthur adds, “I enjoy trying new things in my spare time, and I refuse to limit what those new things are.” Arthur says he is a good conversationalist, funny, and passionate about what he does. “I take whatever I do and own it,” he says. “I make it mine. I want to do whatever I’m tasked with to the best of my ability.”
Dustin on Arthur
“I was surprised to see Arthur waiting on the porch when I arrived at the house. He had some wine and offered me a glass right away, which was kind of him. I knew quickly that, physically, he was not my type. However, he was personable, and conversation started flowing right away.
“I could tell that he was nervous about the date. He was asking quite a few questions, which was great for conversation, but it felt a bit forced. We talked about blind dates, and he mentioned that he had never been on one before, and that it was exciting but nerve-wracking, since he is a planner and likes to have all the details worked out ahead of time.
“We discovered we had a few things in common. Arthur currently lives where I grew up, so we talked about the areas we both know. I was a little thrown off that he didn’t live downtown, but he told me he worked in Toronto. He’s also an only child, like myself, so that sparked a conversation about family and how it is important to both of us, since our families are so small.
“It was good to get some one-on-one time before dinner. We met our dinner host, Corey, who was very welcoming and had a great set-up for dinner. Corey asked us about what we thought an ideal first date was. I gave my answer, and then Arthur started talking about two first dates that he went on that were great. When he seemed to be done, the conversation started to move towards dating versus hooking up, but then Arthur brought it back to talking about his dates again. Arthur seemed to always want to put in his two cents. He did keep trying to bring me into the conversation, as he noticed I was not as vocal as everyone else, which was nice of him.
“At the end of the night, Arthur walked me downstairs, and we said goodbye. I think we both realized that there wasn’t much of a romantic connection.”
DUSTIN RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10)
Arthur’s hair: 6
Arthur’s sense of humour: 7
Arthur’s manners: 9
Arthur on Dustin
“I arrived a couple minutes before Dustin and, while I was nervous, I was excited to see who was going to stroll up the walkway. When Dustin approached me, any tension I felt eased. I first noticed his five-o’clock-shadow, which I thought was uber-sexy. Not only did I find him attractive, I got the vibe that he was down to earth.
“I poured him a glass of wine and we talked on the porch about the usual things to break the ice. After, we went upstairs, where we sat on the couch and talked more and began to interact with some of the guests. I tried to be a gentleman by pulling out Dustin’s chair for him at the dinner table. There was a vase right between us, and I tried to be funny by saying this blind date truly was blind if I couldn’t even see my date. I think Dustin thought I was either nervous or being corny.
“Throughout the evening there were topics that the guests brought up that I typically wouldn’t talk about on a first date, such as hook-ups, strip clubs, marriage, children, past relationships, and politics. While I am a very open and honest person, and have no issue talking about some deep and personal and even embarrassing things, I also recognize that one must be on their best behaviour on a first date, and be a bit more filtered.
“I talked about some projects that I’m working on in my professional life, and I feel as if I didn’t come across as down-to-earth as Dustin did. Talking about all of those things made me [question] the impression that I was making, and how he was going to perceive me. However, he helped to loosen me up, and reminded me to just think of the date as having dinner with somebody new.
“After almost four hours, I walked Dustin to the door where we briefly chatted, said our goodbyes and hugged. We didn’t exchange numbers. While I was interested in him, I also didn’t have the guts to offer him my number.”
ARTHUR RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10)
Dustin’s manners: 10
Dustin’s shoes: 8
Dustin’s sense of humour: 9
Special thanks to Corey Mintz, the author of How to Host a Dinner Party. Follow @coreymintz.
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