Courtship Connection, Drinking, Romance and Dating

Courtship Connection: If Your Date’s Bringing a Cantaloupe…

I’ve only been on one blind date in my life. Arranged by a journo friend, it was actually more like a sneak-peek date, since the suitor and I Facebook-friended and g-chatted prior to getting drinks for the first time.

My Courtship Connection participants are not so lucky. Their dates are completely blind — they don’t even know one another’s names prior to meeting. All they know is that they’re going to be meeting up with a lawyer or law student. I’m still in mild disbelief that risk-averse legal types are willing to participate, but I suppose the risk of being partner-less in perpetuity is greater than that of a single, potentially-horrific date.

So, how do you best set the tone for such a night? I always ask participants to wear or bring something distinctive so they can find one another. I recently paired a do-gooder attorney with a legal academic; the two seemed like hipster types to me, but I was hesitant about sending them all the way to H St. NE, so instead I chose The Passenger for their rendezvous. Our self-described “cheery, active, irreverent” lady lawyer said she’d be “wearing high heels and carrying a cantaloupe.”

So guess what our “hippie economist” brought? Hint: it’s phallic….

A melon baller. Photo at right.

I thought it was quite clever, but our lady lawyer seemed a bit put off by the gesture (not to mention whatever gestures he may have made with it).

Regardless, they made it through two rounds of drinks together. I thought these two seemed like a whimsical and quirky match. He said that if he hadn’t chosen the law, he’d be a “Professor. Or a baker. Or a dancer.” And she said she’d be a “pilates instructor, farmer, or crappy academic poet.”

Oh good, I thought, both have teaching inclinations. Or food-making inclinations. Or inclinations to pursue careers that will make them no money. Perfect.

As pointed out by Elie, this date continues my run of the men I set up being impressed by the ladies I pimped out to them:

I will start with compliments to you, Kash, for having paired me with someone with whom I would have paired myself. Had you placed her in a line-up of six, and me behind a mirrored glass with profiles of each, she is one whom I would have gladly chosen for a first date. She is plenty smart, plenty cute, plenty funny — with neither whit nor jot about her that says lawyer (a statement which I expect she would take as a compliment). Other than a brief grievance about debt and the folly of the law school endeavour, and of course some brief discussion of this website of yours in whose patronage we both partake, the strongest reason to suspect her to be a lawyer was a good knowledge of peaty scotch.

We did, of course, talk about our various paths to and through the law, and found we both to be, shall we say, recovering hippies, with some similar undergraduate experiences. And we both now use our legal backgrounds to practice our convictions, if not the law per se — though she did say that, had she her druthers, her dream job would be to be a groupie in the 1960s, and, though I didn’t admit this myself, mine would be to be John Cusack in the late 1990s.

Our wannabe flower child was less flowery than her companion in her write-up:

Thanks for the set up! Here’s my blurby blurb. He was a real nice guy. Totally nice. If he started dating a little cousin of mine or something I would approve. But he wasn’t my type. To elaborate on this without being critical, two points: First, he sort of seemed like a vegetarian, and I don’t date vegetarians. At least, dudes that act like vegetarians. It’s not so much a rule, it’s just that I tend to fall for carnivores. Second, he kind of reminded me of Harris from Freaks and Geeks. You know, this guy.

And I would most certainly lust after the other guys in the Freaks and Geeks-iverse. Like Harris, he was endearingly odd and spoke in earnest grandiloquence. I appreciated his nerdiness and hippiedom and total lack of concern with hipsterdom or coolness. That was refreshing.

Uh-oh. A glass of water after a 10-mile run is refreshing. A date should not be — “steamy” or “sizzling” would be vastly preferred.

Both participants sent me law-review-article-length write-ups of their dates. I present here a few excerpts. Of their first meeting, she says:

I showed up early, scoped the place and approved. Any place that is named after an Iggy Pop song and has a good bourbon selection and a copy of Sticky Fingers glued to the men’s bathroom door is pretty much okay by me…. I took a seat at the booth he had chosen; he seemed rather nervous. He took out a melon baller. An actual melon baller. And made a sort of scoopy motion. Like I said – endearingly odd and incredibly earnest. I wondered if he’d purchased said melon baller for the occasion, or if he owned one.

Unclear. He says:

The highlight came, perhaps, even before we met, when you relayed to me how she could be identified: that she would be wearing high heels and carrying a cantaloupe. A cantaloupe! I was worried upon reading this, in an earnest if ironic sense, that you had found someone truly of kindred spirit with me — for such humors are the sort both that I am wont to appreciate (as in her I do!) and to exhibit myself — so I did bring a melon baller along, lest we find ourselves in a situation where such implement would be necessary and ourselves sorry for its lacking. But our meeting, I fear, is not to bear cantaloupine fruit of passion. It seems that I am destined for the time to continue balling melon on my own.

There’s a new euphemism to add to my collection….

She says:

I ordered a Campari and he ordered a Hendricks Gin drink thing – so we were able to start things off with a discussion of liquor and cocktails and suchwhat, so that was good. But then it became apparent that I would have to turn on the Terry Gross and go into conversation steering mode. I had to ask lots of leading questions to get him to talk about where he was from, where he went to college, what he studied, etc. I guess he must have been anxious, or perhaps he’s just not the chatty type.

A refreshing date that reminds her of NPR. This is really not one of my hotter pairings…

He says of their encounter:

The conversation perhaps waxed and waned, though never reached the point of embers — taken either to mean finding some deep-burning passion or a point of faltering breath. I’d describe it, rather, as a conversation I’d happily have with a friend — and she and I have similarities enough that I could easily see her being that, a friend, if not having any expectation of her being or becoming something more.

Apparently, he could have turned her on with a bit less eloquence and a lot more vulgarity:

I noticed a bit into the evening that he had not yet cursed. I have a mouth like a damn sailor, and when I’m around someone that avoids bad words I start swearing more for whatever reason. Maybe I’m a terrible person, or maybe I’m just a troublemaker. But regardless. I remember at one point saying “fuck” about four times in one sentence, and then thinking to myself “Hmmm you should probs cut back a bit.” I don’t want to be mean, but I honestly don’t trust a man who doesn’t cuss. Another sign that things weren’t going to spark up.

Tourette’s types, I’ve found a match for you.

She continues:

I ordered a beer after I finished my drink – some Nantucket canned thing called Whale’s Tail – and it was good. He sipped his gin beverage rather slowly, and then ordered a drink with a long frenchy name and the waitress was kind of like whatthefuckisthat?

He says:

The most tragic part of the evening was that the bar could not produce for me a tremblement de terre (the drink attributed to killing Toulouse Lautrec; half absinthe, half cognac) — though I’m sure that, had I wanted to disrupt the date I could have remedied that fault.

Men, advice: do not order fancy drinks that bartenders may not know how to make on a first date. We ladies are not all that impressed by such things. Keep it simple and manly: a gin-and-tonic or old-fashioned will do. Save the “tremblement de terre” for the bedroom.

By this point in the night it was obvious to both of them that “there was no romance a-brewin.” They exchanged cards, awkwardly hugged, and our lady lawyer went to the bathroom to avoid awkward chit-chat on the walk out.

‘Twas not to be. I’d advise our Melon Baller to consider picking up the ladies that can be found hanging out at Kramer’s book store at 11 p.m. on a Friday evening. And I think Cantaloupe Girl should trek to H St. NE, the most likely place in D.C. to find swearing, tattooed types.

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