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 Rochelle and Daniel had to say about their date at Scaddabush.
Rochelle is 28, works in advertising, and lives in Bloordale. She says, “My personal style is Annie Hall meets Margot Tenenbaum meets Jessica Day.” She’s “really great at breaking the ice and meeting new people” and is “honest to a fault, and not afraid to share my opinions.” She likes to practise Roller Derby, see bands, and read. Rochelle wants to date a “bearded hipster” and says, “I tend to go for the cuddly type, but I’m in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Adam Scott. A hybrid of those two gents would be a dream and a half… I’m also a sucker for blue eyes, but that’s a bonus.”
Daniel is a 27-year-old actor who lives in Parkdale. He says, “I kind of dress like a hipster with some vintage thrift” and adds that his best qualities are “my eyes, my wit, my facial hair.” His worst qualities are “my cheapness, and my ability to offend.” Daniel likes to “hang out with people, play video games and watch Netflix.” Recently, he was hired to act in a medical simulation, and saysm “it was real interesting to see people crack under pressure.” Daniel’s type is “a curvy hipster-looking girl with a cute face. Nice sweaters. Maybe glasses. A Roller Derby girl.”
Rochelle on Daniel
“I decided to drive to our date because I had to run errands after. I’m new to driving in the city, and managed to make myself late because I came out of the wrong parking-lot exit.
“As I walked up to the restaurant, I realized that I already knew my date. Both of us were bravely on display for The Grid’s [Toronto singles photo spread in the “Dating Diaries Issue”] that came out on Valentine’s Day. Not only that, but Daniel had messaged me on OkCupid a few days [before the date]. I had thought he was cute. [Editor’s note: The Grid was not aware of any prior contact between the daters.]
“So, seeing as Daniel wasn’t a complete stranger to me, I figured I would go off the first-date script. The first thing I noticed about Daniel, after his really blue eyes, is that he looked like he had rolled out of bed five minutes before leaving for the date, making me feel extremely overdressed.
“Dan called me out for being late, and made me feel really bad about it, even though it had been no more than five minutes.
“Our waiter was super-sweet and keen on making suggestions. Daniel kept reiterating that someone else was footing the bill, so I should order whatever. [Editor's note: the restaurant covers the first $100 of a Hook-Up date's bill.] He repeatedly mentioned this throughout our date, and it almost became like a game to him—to see if we could get close to our $100 spending limit.
“The conversation was definitely forced at times. I found myself having to reach deep into my first-date repertoire to keep the date going. At one point, I’m pretty sure he used the phrase ‘curves in all the right places’ when describing me. Daniel kept making odd comments. I definitely broke the rules by mentioning my ex, but he kept pressing me on it.
“Daniel decided to get a glass of wine, and while I’m no wine expert, I wound up ordering his wine for him [instead of Daniel ordering the house wine]. He then made me feel like I did something wrong. He just made me feel like I was taking too much control of the situation, and then grilled me about my wine skills. When I ordered dessert, he turned it on me and asked why I would order dessert when I hadn’t finished my meal. We wound up splitting the tiramisu and the cheesecake.
“Dan is a good-looking dude who obviously knows it. He kept saying that he only teases girls he’s interested in, which was oddly charming. I really wish I could explain it [better] but it was, in essence, negging. He asked me several times if I wanted to go on a second date. I really didn’t know what to say. I offered to give him my number, and he said, ‘Take mine instead,’ so I did.
“In retrospect, this might have been one of the worst dates I’ve ever been on. But, I was [also] so oddly charmed by Daniel, that it’s taken me some time to come to terms with it.”
ROCHELLE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Daniel’s style: 1
Daniel’s manners: 4
Daniel’s hug: 3
Daniel on Rochelle
“I arrived about 10 to 11, wearing brand-new pants, and waited outside. About five after 11, my date Rochelle arrived. She was familiar to me, because she has been a staple of my OkCupid matches for a long time. I even messaged her a few years ago, I’m pretty sure. Then, a couple of weeks ago, we were both at a photo shoot [of Toronto singles] for The Grid. I didn’t see her at the time of the shoot, but when it came out in print, I recognized her picture. Because of that, I messaged her on OkCupid again to say she looked nice. She replied back saying the same to me. This was only a couple days [before the date]. Now, to neither of our knowledge, we were on this blind date [together]. Strangely, I wasn’t all that surprised [to see her]. Deep down, I think I expected it. Call it fate if you want. Make fun of it if you want. She recognized me instantly, too.
“Rochelle was pretty much exactly how I described [the kind of woman] I wanted to be matched up with, and later she would claim that I was the same for her. She had glasses, a cute face, and curves in all the right places. She was also Jewish. I’ve always wanted to go out with a Jewish girl.
“She waved as she walked up, and may or may not have apologized for being slightly late. I didn’t mind. We shook hands and went inside. Rochelle had a big smudge on one of her glasses lenses. I was into it.
“I had a really nice time with her. I like to think I am really good at going on dates, especially when someone else is covering the bill. I kind of do this thing where I make fun of my dates and say stupid things in a really serious, deadpan way. It’s a defence mechanism, and how I flirt. I made fun of her glasses smudge, and how she was a year older than me. Rochelle got it, I think. Hopefully, she was even into it.
“We talked about what we should order to get our money’s worth out of our pre-authorized $100 brunch. I got red wine. It all tastes the same to me, but she knew her wines and [suggested] a good one. A little sommelier, she is.
“Rochelle was very easy to get along with. She had a fine sense of humour. I found her sharp and clever. Though we didn’t get into it, I could sense she had deep beliefs and strong opinions on certain things. She subtly danced with her shoulders to the music that was playing, which I enjoyed looking at. She knew every song. She likes to do karaoke; I said maybe one day we can sing karaoke together.
“We drew different shapes and animals on the paper that covered our table. I liked how we both ripped apart our pencils and made a mess of wood shavings. She beat me at the game of Tic-tac-toe we played. I was a little surprised and impressed.
“I made it clear that I would like to go out again, but she seemed unsure. I said I would give her my number, and if I didn’t hear from her, then I would take it as a ‘no.’ She agreed. We awkwardly hugged—twice—and went our separate ways.”
DANIEL RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Rochelle’s style: 10
Rochelle’s manners: 9
Rochelle’s glasses: 9
Special thanks to Scaddabush, 382 Yonge St., Unit 7, 416-597-8838. Follow @SCADDABUSH and like Facebook.com/Scaddabush.
Want to get hooked up by The Grid? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.