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 Emma and Daniel had to say about their date at The Dock Ellis.
Emma is a 21-year-old dancer, artist, and waitress who lives in Leslieville. Emma describes herself as “warm, bright and bubbly, intelligent, fun, honest” and her style as “hipster/hippie.” Emma likes to “consume—movies, music, books, food” and “create—dance, paint, write.” Last year, she biked from Toronto to Texas by herself. Emma wants to date someone who is “curious, creative, funny, and adventurous.”
Daniel is a 22-year-old student who lives at Yonge and Bloor. He says, “I’m respectful, interested in getting to know people, and smart.” He’s a competitive boxer who also likes “going for drinks with friends, laughing, and enjoying a good film.” Daniel says he wants to date someone “who is driven, wants to succeed in whatever they choose to do, and also has time to snuggle with someone they care about.” He adds, “Really, I’m just looking to meet someone cool.”
Emma on Daniel
“This is definitely one of the oddest things I’ve ever done, and I was delightfully surprised by how easy it was.
“Daniel had a huge grin on his face, and seemed very easy-going and welcoming. I love talking to people who you feel are genuinely curious about you, and that’s what I got with Daniel. I was attracted to him. His smile was infectious.
“He asked me a lot about myself, which I enjoyed because I can have trouble advertising. It took me cutting him off to get my own question in. I consider myself an open book, and I think that might have helped Daniel [to open] up. Our conversation was always lighthearted. Daniel was incredibly inviting.
“Like me, Daniel needs to physically and mentally exert himself. He told me about his boxing and I told him about my dancing. When we talked about travelling, both of us lit up with questions. I kept thinking I knew what he was going to say in the stories he told me, but he kept surprising me. Expecting someone to be a certain way and then finding [they’re not] is exciting; I like that it kept me on my toes. I think on first dates people have a tendency to talk at each other instead of to each other, and I’m happy that we didn’t. I started thinking that our thought processes and the way we expressed ourselves were similar, trying to always play devil’s advocate to our own opinions.
“Daniel didn’t mind me eating off his plate. We had fried beets and tempura and two sandwiches. The music playlist [included] some of my favourite ’70s tunes. It was just a really nice time.
“I realized over and over again during the date how easy it was to talk to one another and how comfortable it seemed. After five hours, we said goodbye; the longer we talked, the more I liked him. We exchanged information, and I imagine we’ll meet up again.”
EMMA RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Daniel’s style: 7
Daniel’s manners: 10
Daniel’s laugh: 9
Daniel on Emma
“When Emma came in, I walked over and said hello. We shook hands and Emma said, ‘Okay, so this is weird.’ It broke the ice immediately.
“I think Emma’s an objectively good-looking girl, but I didn’t find I was pulled toward her physically. On the personal, intellectual level, I felt I connected to her more as I would connect to a friend. It felt like we missed the romantic [aspect], and went straight to friendship. It’s not clear to me why that was. I didn’t feel the ‘warm fuzzies’ of romantic attraction or flirtation. She has the same name as my dad’s wife, and my cousin. Subliminally, that could have been a factor.
“I felt we had a lot to talk about, and was interested in getting to know her. Emma was friendly and open, and willing to share and [be] very personal. There didn’t seem to be a lot of the formalities of a first date, even though we asked each other some typical ‘first-date questions.’ I asked her about the two tattoos she had on her wrists. We assured one another that we’re cool with f-bombs, s-bombs, and speaking frankly in general. It seemed more like we were having a dialogue, and less like we were interviewing each other, as can be the case on dates where people don’t vibe with each other.
“We shared our appetizers pretty comfortably with each other. At one point I had finished my main course and she was only halfway through hers, unable to really dig in since she was talking about her experiences. ‘You’re not letting me ask you any questions!’ she joked. She told me about her solo cycling trip where she spent two months riding down to Texas. I was really impressed.
“She’s really active and into fitness, which I find attractive in a potential partner. We share certain commonalities: having travelled, being children of divorce, having passions that won’t necessarily bring us money.
“All of a sudden, it was 10:30, and we agreed to leave soon after. Then it was 11:45. Emma had arranged to meet up with some friends after our date, and ended up being late. I felt inclined to chat with her for so long because she really is a cool person. We typed each others’ contact information into our phones, and hugged goodbye. It seemed like our time was on fast-forward.”
DANIEL RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Emma’s style: 8
Emma’s manners: 9
Emma’s laugh: 8
Special thanks to The Dock Ellis, 1280 Dundas St. W., 416-531-2300. Follow @TheDockEllis and Like Facebook.com/thedockellis.
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