For this set of set-ups, I decided to pair Biglaw men with female law students from Columbia and NYU. Apparently, the stereotypical pairing does not play out well in real life, at least in the case of these two couples. I also discovered that brunch as a first date is awkward.
I sent one couple to Balthazar in SoHo on a Sunday. I paired these two because they’re both interested in litigation. His favorite justice is Earl Warren and hers is Antonin Scalia. I thought that might set off some sparks:
Before we start, let it be known that reservations at Balthazar are a difficult sort. After many busy signals, I finally got through only to hear that Balthazar was booked until 3pm. Not good for a noon blind date. So, I did the next best thing, arrive 45 minutes early and hope the wait time was 45 minutes. It was and I lucked out.
After putting my name down at 11:15, I returned to the restaurant at about 10 to noon to alert the maitre d’ that I was there. As I was making my way to maitre d’, I almost cut what turned out to be my date in line! I turned to the young woman and said “Are you waiting, you must be next (motioning her to go ahead).” She turns to the host and says “I am meeting someone here . . .” I turn back, look for the descriptor that Kash had provided and soon realized that, yes, indeed it was my date.
She was very cute and we had a good conversation over eggs and dessert. We talked about our hometowns, travel experiences, and favorite New York brunch spots… After dessert we walked out, took a picture of the Balthazar sign, and ended with a hug. Although I don’t think a love connection was made, I had a pleasant experience and thank ATL for the set up.
So no lasting connection. He was nice about it. She was less nice…
Here’s her take:
We met at Balthazar for brunch. Although I was nervous leading up to the date, I was excited that he had selected Balthazar, because I had been wanting to try it for a while. I also figured he was into food since he had chosen a Keith McNally restaurant. He walked up to the hostess table right after I arrived, so he wasn’t hard to find. After the first introductions and the obligatory small talk, the hostess sat us at our table. He mentioned that he had forgotten to make a reservation so he had come one hour before hand to put our names down. This was very sweet, but maybe he should have thought about calling a few days in advance to make a reservation at such a popular brunch venue.
We like her snark.
While we had plenty to talk about and some things in common (same taste in music, neither of us drink coffee, etc.), there wasn’t too much of a romantic connection on my end. I wasn’t that attracted to him – as he was not my usual physical type. And he wasn’t the suave foodie I had expected either. When I told him I also enjoyed Pastis (one of McNally’s other restaurants), he responded that he didn’t know of it – but did like this brunch place Patsy’s. I thought Patsy’s Pizzeria for brunch?, OK to each his own. But… he said it was Patsy’s on W. 12th Street…. umm… aka Pastis?.
Now, her snark is starting to wear on us…
All in all, he was very nice, but a little too talkative for my liking. The end of the date was a bit awkward. I offered to pay for my part. He politely refused my offer…but then, after I had put up my wallet, insinuated only if there would be another date. Not sure if he thought it went well, but he asked for my contact info after that. I was still trying to figure out if I had been tricked into going on another date. Overall, not a bad time but no fireworks or kissing in the rain either. Maybe I’ll try again next year.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant… for bad first date habits, right?
The other ATL Courtship Connection couple got along better. I set these two up because they both named Ally McBeal as their favorite legal character and both espoused an interest in the second oldest profession. In answer to the what-would-you-be-if-you-weren’t-a-lawyer question in the Courtship survey, she said she’d be a politico and he said he’d be a diplomat.
They met for brunch in the West Village on Sunday. Here’s his take:
I do not think I was primed to impress anyone this morning. Having pulled an all nighter at work on Friday and slept only five hours on Saturday, I am dependent on caffeine and herbal tea. I got to the restaurant before the appointed time. I was underwhelmed to find that the place was smaller than my own dining room. Worse, the staff would not allow me to get a table to wait for my “date” to show up due to the obvious space constraint. They would only admit a party of at least two people. So I was “exiled” to wait on the street. Thankfully (i) it was spring time and (ii) she showed up only a couple minutes late. All in all, I was frazzled and was not in the best of moods. I think because of this my accent (usually not that noticeable) was somewhat pronounced during the meal. I hope she did not mistakenly conclude that I was fresh off the boat (I have lived in the States since middle school).
It is obvious we have a shared interest in elective politics. In a perfect world (a world where money is not an issue) we would both be in politics rather than the law. I got envious when she told me that (i) she was involved with campaigning in three election cycles in a row and (ii) worked for a member of Congress for four years. My own campaign experience was limited to just one election cycle. Another thing we have in common was that at different times we briefly worked in my “old country” on behalf of the United States Government. We swapped anecdotes about the authoritarian practices of that government. I really enjoyed that part of the conversation.
I got a short nice email from her a couple hours after the meal. It was a worthwhile excursion from my law firm bubble and I am very happy to have this latest addition to my address book. I could certainly envision the two of us collaborating in the future on a political cause we hold dear or campaigning for a candidate we support.
The restaurant was her choice. Here’s her take:
We were meeting for Sunday brunch at Westville at 10:30. It is a tiny west village cafe so there would be no trouble finding each other. He was waiting outside when I got there and dressed to go into work after brunch. I was in casual Sunday student attire with a hippy shirt and jeans. We sat down and talked for a little while. He told me about working in bankruptcy law. He seemed a bit surprised (unhappily perhaps?) that I was still in school. He told me how he was spending the entire weekend in the office. I expressed skepticism of the joys of Biglaw though my excitement for my upcoming summer associateship. I told him about my former experience working in politics, and we shared stories of the unsuccessful political campaigns we’d both worked on.
An interesting enough conversation for an hour of brunch, and at the end of the meal, we each wished the other luck, shook hands and went separate ways (for him, back to the office, for me, back to outlining).
Unfortunately, it sounds like they had a meeting of the minds, but not a meeting of the hearts.
Earlier: ATL Courtship Connection