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 Emilia and Stephen had to say about their night out at Milestones and the Scotiabank Theatre.
Emilia is a 28-year-old creative director who lives in the Annex. She says, “I really enjoy hitting up the latest festival or event happening in Toronto; running and training for whatever marathon or mini-marathon I’ve signed up for; and relaxing with a movie on Netflix, reading, writing, and spending decompression time on the days I’m not being super-social.” Emilia describes herself as a good communicator, “extremely motivated and goal-oriented,” and positive. Emilia wants to date “a sociable person who can work a room with ease, and is comfortable in situations that would require conversations with people they’ve never met.”
Stephen is 34, works in sales, and lives in Parkdale. He enjoys “urban adventures—biking in the city, staying out way too late and drinking in dives” and likes having “really intense conversations about movies, music, and fantasy football.” Stephen describes himself as “fucking funny, fucking fashionable, and fucking sincere!” He wants to date someone “not dumb. I know it sounds mean, but let’s have intelligent conversations. Let’s learn from each other!” He’s also looking for someone who “puts a little bit of effort into it. I don’t expect or want an evening gown all the time but, if I put effort into my appearance, you should, too. I’m into fashion.”
Emilia on Stephen
“When I first met Stephen, I thought he looked exactly like a friend of mine. I almost did a double-take. I wasn’t immediately attracted to him, but I enjoyed the initial moments of conversation, and that made me feel comfortable. I noticed his jacket immediately. It didn’t quite match what he was wearing underneath, but then he actually joked about just buying it that day and not knowing how he felt about it. I kind of liked it, but it did stand out.
“We decided to choose a movie before dinner, so we knew how much time we had. We ordered drinks at Milestones and started talking about what we do for work. It made sense to me that Stephen is in sales, because he was really easy to talk to. He seemed genuinely interested in what I do for a living, but we didn’t talk about our work much, which I liked and appreciated.
“Throughout the date, we often joked about how we applied for The Hook-Up, and his friend who is actually dating the person she met through this. We thought that was pretty cool.
“Stephen made a comment about not liking teenagers and being really annoyed with them while on the bus and stuff; I took the opportunity to tell him about the charity I work with that helps teenagers who are in transition homes, and empowering them through art. I don’t really look at teenagers as annoying, or [get] down on them for acting the way they do, because at some point I think we were all like that. It was weird for a moment, because we had opposite viewpoints on that.
“I felt like a lot of his answers [in] our conversation were orchestrated to match what he thought I would want to hear, as opposed to what he actually thought. He said he was transitioning to being a vegetarian. After he said that, he paused like I was supposed to say something, and I felt like I was put on the spot. I said that was great, but still felt like he was waiting for something more. Then he got the pork chop for dinner—not much for transitioning.
“We were talking and eating dessert and all of a sudden it was 8:25, the exact time our movie started. Stephen left $40 on the table for a tip, which really impressed me. I was a server for many years and was impressed he was so generous, and I thanked him for taking care of that while we rushed to make the movie.
“I had mentioned that I didn’t want to miss the previews, and we rushed through the theatre getting our snacks and drinks, but then we were so late that we missed them! I was actually a bit annoyed about that, but it wasn’t his fault.
“He’s a nice person, but I felt like I was on a date with a friend, [like I had] just had a good time with someone I knew for a long time. Stephen didn’t leave a lasting, romantic impression. I would see him again as a friend; I actually thought of a friend of mine that would maybe be interested in meeting him. So who knows!”
EMILIA RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Stephen’s style: 7
Stephen’s manners: 10
Stephen’s sense of humour: 9
Stephen on Emilia
“We shook hands when we met at the restaurant. I knew it was her, because we gave each other the blind date ‘first look’: a healthy dose of well-mannered ‘nice to meet you’ with a sprinkle of ‘phew, you’re not going to murder me.’ Emilia is pretty, friendly, and funny, [but] to use a classic cliché, ‘she’s attractive, but not my type.’ Emilia was at a funeral earlier in the day. She’s pretty rad for still coming out to meet me. She was wearing a comfy-looking sweater, white shirt, and a neat-looking necklace with, I think, a metal feather on it.
“She’s very ambitious in both her personal and professional life, and I really dug that. There were never really any awkward pauses or job interview–style questioning. We talked about a lot of things, ranging from adventures we’ve been on to our families. What particularly stuck out is her involvement with a charity helping teenagers. She’s also pretty goofy. When the topic of Candy Crush Saga came up, the conversation got pretty detailed. Goddamn that level 35!
“We had decided to see Don Jon. I mentioned that we could probably be a little late to the movie because of trailers. She made a face at me that I will never forget; it was extremely cute and extremely genuine. She said, ‘I love the trailers… Even more than the movie.’ She ate her halibut; I ate my pork chop. She drank her white wines; I drank my vodka sodas. We shared an apple crisp for dessert and continued to have good conversation throughout. Needless to say, we were a bit late and unfortunately, we missed the trailers. Le sigh.
“Armed with popcorn, candy, and Coke Zeros, we quietly snuck into the movie that had already began. Because we were late, we sat near the front. I really liked seeing this movie with Emilia, because she laughs. It’s very infectious!
“Whenever I’m in a first-date scenario, there’s always that slight unnerving feeling of ‘how is this going to end?’ Handshake? Hug? Kiss? Rejection if I go in for a kiss?’ You know, standard dude insecurities. The way we conversed and interacted, I knew for sure that this was going to be a hugger. It was a relief to kind of know that we were on the same page. Emilia is dope! Moving forward, we probably won’t go on a date again, but maybe hang out as friends. Fun? Yes. Sparks? No.”
STEPHEN RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Emilia’s style: 9
Emilia’s laugh: 9
Emilia’s hair: 9
Special thanks to Milestones Grill + Bar, “Home of Date Night”; 132 John St., 416-595-1990. Follow @MilestonesCA and Like Facebook.com/MilestonesRestaurants. Special thanks to Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond St. W., 416-368-5600. Follow @CineplexMovies and Like Facebook.com/Cineplex.
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