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 Stephanie and Kyle had to say about their date at Toulà Restaurant & Bar.
Stephanie is a 28-year-old PhD student who lives at Yonge and Eglinton. She says, “I think that I have a very good sense of humour, and I’m able to laugh at myself.” Stephanie is very punctual but also has “a tendency to be a bit impatient… This extends from walking along crowded streets to riding the TTC to chatting with people.” Stephanie likes to try new sports and physical activity; “this ranges from Tai Chi to yoga to Pilates to jogging.” She says that, recently, “I’ve discovered that I like whiskey, so I’ve had a lot of fun trying different things and attending tastings.” Stephanie’s type is “someone who is ambitious and confident.”
Kyle is a 26-year-old software developer who lives in “Little Italy/Little Portugal.” He describes himself as “spontaneous, outgoing, and loyal,” but is also sometimes indecisive and shy. He likes to swim, exercise, and read, and says he wants to date someone who is “spontaneous, ambitious, and outgoing. I think as a society we are really closed off to contact with others… [The Hook-Up] is just one of many ways to break that down in a fun way.” Kyle also appeared in a previous edition of The Hook-Up.
Stephanie on Kyle
“I arrived early to the restaurant. It felt like I had an entire butterfly conservatory in my stomach. To my pleasant surprise, Kyle was actually earlier than I was. We sat at a table that overlooked the Toronto skyline. Kyle was incredibly personable, and because he was so easy to talk to, my nerves melted away.
“Kyle was handsome. He was also tall, had sandy blond hair, and a very friendly and welcoming smile. Kyle was new to Toronto, and being a ‘born-and-bred’ kind of gal, I was curious to hear how he liked his new city, and [where] he liked to hang out. However, it [actually seemed like] Kyle’s frequented more of Toronto than I have, and I made mental notes throughout the night. I was very impressed with his adventurous spirit; it seemed like he had done more and seen more in 10 months than I had in 10 years.
“It took us ages to order anything, because we were either too polite to interrupt one another or were waiting for the other person to suggest looking at the menu. Kyle was quite knowledgeable about mixing drinks, and I was intrigued to learn more. He also expressed his interest in cooking, which made me weak in the knees, since I find any man who can cook very attractive.
“We had similar interests, and the same sense of humour. We discussed the joys of Netflix, past travel destinations, goals for the upcoming year, exploring different bars in Toronto, bad dating experiences, our respective careers, whether I should get a Fitbit, and the annual January madness at the gym. We talked about our respective travel personalities, and I was interested to learn that he adopts a more laissez-faire attitude as his trips progress. We even ventured into nerdy territory and had an in-depth discussion about computer and statistical programming. We began a running list of quirky comments and statements that I promised to use routinely after the date, however, by the end of the evening we had forgotten all but one: ‘bro-science.’
“Kyle and I both shared a taste of our dishes [with each other]. We declined dessert since we both lack a sweet tooth, and we amicably split the remaining cost of the meal. [Editor’s note: the venue covers the first $100 of a Hook-Up date’s cost.]
“Kyle was refreshingly down to earth, and he seemed like a very genuinely nice person. He even held the door for me, which earned him extra brownie points. We thought that we were getting along very well and that we should meet up another time. At the end of the evening we hugged and shared a small kiss.”
STEPHANIE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Kyle’s manners: 9
Kyle’s sense of humour: 9
Kyle’s laugh: 8
Kyle on Stephanie
“I checked the restaurant out online, and it looked like a pretty swanky place, so I wasn’t sure whether to suit up or dress down. I decided on the latter, which turned out to be a good decision as Steph was dressed pretty much the same way. I arrived a touch early, and Steph was right on time. I’m usually a ‘hurry-up-and-late’ kind of guy, so it was nice to arrive with some time to spare.
“I thought Steph was cute, and really warm and easy to talk to. She’s very down to earth. I think we’re both the type to talk when we’re nervous, and the conversation was never in short supply. We probably chatted for over an hour before even opening the menu! We shared some good stories and laughs.
“Steph is in a PhD program to become an epidemiologist; I managed to crack an epidemiology joke, which went over well. We chatted about school and travel. I find it’s rare to meet someone who was actually born and raised in Toronto proper; it seems like everyone is from somewhere else. It was neat hearing about growing up here.
“I hope I didn’t come off as too much of a cocktail snob; I’m a happy camper with beer, but this seemed like the kind of place that knows how to make a cocktail. I ordered an Old Fashioned.
“We agreed on the value of long-time friends. I went back home over Christmas, and definitely felt a lot more grounded coming back to Toronto; she still hangs out with her high-school friends. We also joked about internet dating. I’ve been on some stunningly awful dates, so I sadly had her beat.
“When I commented on her jewelry, she said, ‘I’m a magpie,’ and laughed. [We have] similar quirky styles: with trendy elements, but also pretty down-to-earth, bordering on bookish. I enjoyed that she didn’t take things too seriously, like [how she was] wearing a calculator watch. Being a programmer, fashion expectations [for me] are pretty low, but I think—well, I hope—that’s improving.
“The date ended with us standing outside the subway together. She went in for a slightly unexpected kiss—I’m a terrible judge of these things—and then dashed off. I’d like to see Steph again.”
KYLE RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Steph’s style: 8 (“for the slightly ironic calculator watch”)
Steph’s manners: 10
Steph’s hair: 10
Special thanks to Toulà Restaurant & Bar, 1 Harbour Square, 416-777-2002.
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