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 Lana and Taige had to say about their date at 2nd Floor Events’ Midnight MRKT.
Lana is a 25-year-old journalist and student who lives near Wychwood Barns. She says her style reflects “an ongoing identity crisis between Blondie and a ’50s housewife.” Lana admits that, while she takes most things in stride and is an excellent listener, she gets “impatient with overly emotional people.” She adds, “Sometimes, I’m bad at making eye contact, which makes me seem extra shifty.” Lana likes to “explore the city at night, read architecture blogs, and run.” She likes guys who are “creative, eclectic, driven, funny, and engaged with the world around them.”
Taige is a 28-year-old product manager who lives at Harbourfront. He describes his style as “adventurous” and himself as “funny, worldly, loyal, idealistic, and bored easily” as well as “super-immature for my age.” He likes to “work on making my dreams come true, travel and sail” and adds, “would it be lame to say I [recently] won a chopstick competition? It might not sound like much, but it was pretty amazing.” Taige says the kind of woman he wants to date “understands my jokes, and thinks I am incredibly cool. That’s usually my type. If that fails, I’ll go for gorgeous, warm-hearted and smart.”
Lana on Taige
“When I walked into the courtyard, Taige was kind of leaning against the wall and not facing me, but when he turned around, my first thought was “OMG, he’s cute, yessss.” He’s a good-looking guy with a cute, cocky little half-smile. I was also mad impressed that he was wearing a scarf. Not many guys can pull off a scarf, but he had a great sense of style and it suited him.
“I think we shook hands, or were about to, and then I went in for a hug. It was a mildly awkward, hybrid kind of greeting. We went upstairs into the venue and, as we were checking out the space, I felt like I needed to shut up, because I was chattering out of nerves. In comparison, Taige seemed pretty at ease.
“We got drinks from the bar and settled ourselves by a window overlooking the street so we could chat a little more easily. He told me he had recently moved back to Toronto after stints in London and Germany, and it turned out that we had both grown up on the west coast. That was a good sign.
“We decided to get more drinks and check out some of the market vendors. He put his hand on the small of my back as we were navigating the crowd, so bonus points for being smooth but not creepy. He was very affable and charismatic with all the vendors, even when he was sort of making fun of one of them. He also had a deadpan sense of humour that cracked me up. He really kept me on my toes, which is something I appreciate.
“As we wandered, we played some games, including ‘spot the most hipsterish-looking hipster’ and a kind of bastardized version of ‘marry, fuck, kill.’ We held hands and squeezed every time we walked by someone we wanted the other to evaluate, which was hilarious and definitely something I’ve never done on a first date. The handholding—and the game—was his idea, and it was more friendly [than romantic] because it was necessary for the game, so we wouldn’t obviously be pointing at people, but it was obvi kind of a strategic move.
“Eventually, we got some food and sat down. Taige is definitely a fun guy to talk to, and he had some great stories, like how he once had a job sprinting through a museum as part of an art [project]. I wished I had some comparable anecdotes, but I’m not nearly as well-travelled or as adventurous, which I assume he took note of.
“I definitely got the sense that Taige is a fairly experienced first dater, as he had a way of asking me ‘test’ questions, but in a playful way, so that sometimes I almost didn’t notice. One in particular was ‘What’s the craziest way you’ve ever asked someone out on a date?,’ which I assumed was meant to gauge my sense of adventure and openness. It was a creative alternative to the usual boring question of ‘How adventurous are you?,’ which I sometimes get on first dates. I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing, or a bad thing.
“Taige said he wanted to give me a website to check out, so I gave him my phone for him to make a note in. Then he said, ‘I put my number in there, too,’ and I said, ‘Oh smooooth,’ like it was a hilarious joke, but actually it was actually a pretty good move. I wished I had thought of that.
“The whole date was fun, surprising, and unconventional. At the end we did a cheek-kiss-hug thing—another hybrid!—and then parted ways. I had a good time and would definitely hang out with Taige again.”
LANA RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Taige’s style: 9
Taige on Lana
“Going into the date, I thought there was probably only a one per cent chance this would work out. I like only about 10 per cent of the girls I see, and she probably only likes about 10 per cent of the guys she comes across, so I didn’t get too excited. Expectations were really low, as low as they go. Lower than grass in the food chain. On my way there, I did get a bit nervous because… man, dates. I haven’t been on one all year.
“When I saw Lana, I thought, ‘okay, she’s pretty.’ Once we introduced ourselves, I felt right away [that] there was no interest on her part. Her eyes were darting around. I thought, ‘Okay, she’s not going to like me right away, I guess.’
“[The market] reminded me of Marylebone High Street in London, where I [once] lived. We got some drinks. I told her some of my background, like where I lived before Toronto. It was definitely a lot of work to keep her interest and attention in the beginning. There were tons of hipsters at the venue, so we played a game of picking the most hipster-est hipster. I won.
“I cracked way-lots of jokes and befriended a cool guy from Scarborough slinging t-shirts. Lana seemed to have the hots for a gangsta-looking shop-keep. We did have some interesting conversations, though; she was easy to talk to. I asked [about] her craziest experience in terms of randomly meeting a guy . She told me she met a homeless guy or something on a streetcar, and they dated, so I teased her about that for a bit. I lamented that there’s not a lot of eligible homeless women. She didn’t ask me back, so I didn’t get a chance to tell her some of my own cray-cray stories.
“I asked what a normal first date is for her. She seemed to struggle with the question for a couple seconds, so I picked out a blazing hot dude to help her visualize. Let me tell you, I was up against a ton of competition that night: you might as well have thrown me in a Lithuanian nightclub, there were so many hot guys and girls in there.
“I got her to demonstrate what she’d do to show [a guy] she’s interested in him. She told me she’d do some hair twirls and touching. I asked her what the hell that is, and showed her how to show some real interest. She took notes and [thought that] I was profound. I said, ‘Okay, now it’s the fourth quarter, the date’s going well, what do you do to close out the game?’ She told me she’d use innuendoes. I gave her some good examples, and decided it was time to eat some donuts. On the way there, I got distracted by the bar and asked if I could buy her a drink with my free drink vouchers.
“Like high-class ass, she asked for the most expensive wine. I gulped, but without losing my cool, and wondered if I had enough vouchers to cover that. [Editor’s note: the venue provided vouchers for food and drinks.] Luckily, it only cost one voucher. She was well impressed by my generosity.
“She asked me about my ideal date and I told her the truth: that I would rather go on a trip somewhere exotic with a girl. She said she’d probably go camping, because she values hunting and gathering skills. I told her my nickname was Robin Hood back at Christian summer camp—that’s how good my skills were.
“Ideally, this is the part of the date when a friend or hot girl randomly recognizes me and asks how come I never called them back, and forces me to make a date with them on the spot, and then tells Lana I am so awesome and she’s incredibly lucky to know me. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, to my surprise.
“I typed the details [of a website] in her phone. While I was in there, I typed in my phone number. She said I was smooth for doing it. I said, ‘Shut up baby, I know it.’
“My friend called me three times, so I picked up and he said we had to go to an event [the next] morning. I [told Lana] she had my phone number, and we can go camping or swimming sometime. She said, ‘Or go to Thailand.’ She gave me a couple of slow kisses on the cheek, and we parted ways. All in all, it was a bit awkward but very fun. And that’s the whole point of this, isn’t it? To do something fun and a bit weird?”
TAIGE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Lana’s manners: 9
Lana’s laugh: 9
Lana’s tact: 7
Special thanks to 2nd Floor Events, 461 King St. W., 416-263-0122. Follow @2ndfloorevents and Like Facebook.com/2ndfloorevents. Check out Boozy Bingo! at 2nd Floor Events on Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m.
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