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 Julie and Andy had to say about their date at Paintlounge.
Julie is a 30-year-old marketing-research analyst who lives in Bloorcourt. She describes herself as “genuine, down-to-earth, observant and thoughtful,” and says, “I love to draw, make abstract collages, and lately have gotten pretty into photography. I’ve been known to wander around the city and photograph different neighbourhoods or events that are going on.” She says laughing is “the best medicine ever” and likes live comedy and improv, as well as yoga and competitive sports.
Andy is a 34-year-old human resources consultant who lives at Yonge and Eglinton. He says he is “honest, dependable, and genuine” but also “tough on myself” and “impatient.” Andy is a “big Leafs fan” who likes “hitting the city to discover something new without any set plan” as well as working out, running, and teaching himself to play electric guitar. Andy wants to date “an athletic girl, who is casual and isn’t uptight” and who “appreciates spontaneity, a sense of humour, music, and the outdoors.”
Julie on Andy
“As soon as I came through the door, Andy came right up to me and gave me a big hug. I’m a hugger, so I liked that he just went for it. Meeting a date with a handshake is so awkward to me! I noticed right away that Andy was pretty tall, and that he had nice eyes. There was potential for attraction, but I wasn’t so sure yet.
“[A staff person] took us through the process of what we would be doing. We were going to be painting, so she suggested we paint pictures for each other. We took some time going through inspiration photo books and making small talk. We discovered that we’re both learning to play the guitar, and we both like classic rock. Those were the first of several common interests.
“We each settled on our inspiration photos—I would be painting a guitar for him, and I picked an abstract picture with lots of bright colours for him to make for me. I mentioned that yellow is one of my favourite colours. A few minutes later, I looked over and Andy had a huge amount of yellow paint on his board. I thought that was sweet.
“At one point while we were getting set up, Andy playfully called me ‘baby.’ Although I knew it was a joke, for some reason, it turned me off. Maybe it was too soon for pet names, joking or otherwise, or maybe it’s just that ‘I’m nobody’s baby.’ I also noticed that Andy had tattoos all over his arms. I know I may be in the minority here, but tattoos aren’t really my thing. I asked about them anyway to be nice.
“Andy had really great manners, and offered to carry things for me; he also offered to get various things for me during the course of our date. Call me old-fashioned, but chivalry is important.
“When I told Andy I’m from the Maritimes, he got really excited. He told me that he loves Halifax, and that he would even move there some day, and that he had recently been to Moncton, which I thought was hilarious. We also chatted about music, concerts, travel, and dogs. He mentioned that he’s getting a puppy soon, which is great not only because I’m obsessed with the idea of getting a dog, but [because] I also I took it to mean that he must be fairly responsible.
“Andy was done his painting first. He seemed happy to just sit on a stool and chat some more while I finished up the piece for him. Then we took a walk around Paintlounge and looked at some of the art on the walls. Andy started chatting with the staff about art. He admittedly didn’t know too much, but he seemed like he really wanted to learn more, and I appreciated his openness and curiousity.
“We finished up by blow-drying our paintings to make sure they were dry, and Andy told me he was going to hang what I made in his ‘man cave.’ I was happy and flattered that he said that. He was helpful, again, when we were getting our paintings into the protective wrapping—good manners, I’m telling you! We hugged goodbye, but neither of us offered up our information, which was fine. I had a nice time, but felt like I had just met a new friend more than anything else.”
JULIE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Andy’s style: 7
Andy’s manners: 9
Andy’s hug: 8
Andy on Julie
“I was pretty nervous, to be honest. My first impression was ‘Wow, she’s tall.’ I tried to break the ice right away with a nice big hug—why not, right? Initially, I felt a chill, laid-back vibe from her, and I really dug that. She was dressed really casual, which was awesome. We went to a ‘paint lounge’ where there was a café, and you do some painting with some chill music on in the background. It was the perfect place for a date.
“After about 15 minutes or so, I really felt settled and comfortable around Julie, and started to laugh and get relaxed. She has a great laugh. I could tell she was starting to get comfortable, too. She chose an abstract design for me [to paint], and I chose an electric-guitar design for her [to paint]. By the way, she is an incredible painter. I was blown away by her guitar painting. I’m a horrible painter. Ninety per cent odds my painting is in her garbage. One hundred per cent odds her painting is on my wall.
“Within half an hour, it began to feel like [Julie was] someone I’ve known for much longer than [one date]. I’ve been known to throw a swear word in here and there, and I started doing that. She’s an east-coast girl, and I really appreciate east-coast girls because of their general attitude towards life, and their appreciation of taking things as they come. She had that vibe about her.
“At some points, I felt the conversation was a bit forced. I also noticed that we just couldn’t get past the basics. She noticed I have a bunch of tattoos, so she asked me about them. I told her I’m huge into rock and she responded that she’s big into country. Then we talked about our favourite drinks, and I told her I’m big into beer and she told me she’s not really into beer. We talked about the east coast but, after a couple of minutes, it just kind of died on the vine. We did laugh a lot throughout, which was awesome and really created a good, friendly bond between us.
“Julie is definitely the type of person that I could be friends with, given her personality and her attitude. I didn’t ask for her phone number or anything because to me, even ‘friend’ is a huge word. I dug the experience together, but I don’t think it [all] was enough for us to see each other again. I think she may feel the same way. It takes a lot to have a genuine connection nowadays.”
ANDY RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Julie’s style: 8
Julie’s hug: 8
Julie’s laugh: 8
Special thanks to Paintlounge, 784 College St., 416-900-2644. Follow @Paintlounge and Like Facebook.com/paintlounge.
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