How does it work? Charlotteans fill out this 37-question Agenda Blind Date Survey about their make-or-breaks, their ideal types and their ideal dates. Then the Agenda plays matchmaker by sending couples out on blind dates. Below are the results.
Welcome to the Agenda’s Blind Date series.
This is the latest in a multi-part series in which I match single Charlotteans of all ages.
Applicants sent me a few details on things like their views on politics, religion and marriage and trusted me to send them on a true blind date.
Those selected don’t know anything about their date except the essentials – name, age and one thing that I thought would make them a good match. They don’t even get to see a picture.
After sifting through over 1,000 applicants, I set aside several pairs and, based on their survey answers, set up a date I thought they’d enjoy.
Next up: Rosita, a 29-year-old recruiter living in South End, and Aaron, a 32-year-old personal chef and banker living in Lower South End.
I matched the two because they both enjoy a lot of the same things in Charlotte – the same neighborhoods, bars and doing things like brewery hopping and trying new food. What really stuck out was their love of food; Rosita’s ideal first date involves a setting in which she can enjoy great conversation over food and drink, and Aaron touched on an appreciation of cocktails, small bites and good conversation.
In fact, they both love food so much that they both attended Johnson & Wales at the same time for both Culinary Arts and Food and Beverage Management, though they never crossed paths.
Because of their love for food and drink (and the pressure to impress a personal chef), I sent them to the Martinelli Wine Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Uptown, which involved four courses paired with four different glasses of wine by a sommelier.
Here’s how it went.
How do you feel about the dating scene in Charlotte? And if you’re in it, how are you meeting people?
Rosita: No, I’m not dating a lot. I do get out quite a bit, but I’m also – everywhere I go, I pretty much know most of the people there. And then, even trying to try new places, I see guys, but they’re with females or something like that. I mean, it’s not that I’m not trying to date, it’s just that I really haven’t met anyone.
I’ve tried both [Tinder and Bumble]. Tinder was a while ago and, um, I got a lot of people that just wanted to hook up, so I deleted the app because that’s not what I’m looking for. And then Bumble, nope. I think I’ve had a real conversation with, like, one person, but were going back and forth on the app for two weeks, and I just deleted it.
I’ve never been in a relationship before, so… of course, I’ve talked to people before, and I’ve had situations where they could – I mean, people ask if that was a relationship and I say no, because he never would have called me his girlfriend and I can’t call him my boyfriend, so it’s not a relationship. But those, I’ve met most of those through mutual friends that have been around. I’ve never really met anyone out.
It’s kind of hard because even with my friends now, the ones that are getting in relationships now, all of their relationships are, like, long distance. Like they didn’t meet them here. Or they met them here, but it was just because they worked here, like a contract employee. My friend met one, and they’re in a relationship now, but he was just here for a 3-month contract.
So, to me, [the dating scene] is pretty awful. It’s not satisfying.
Aaron: I’m not really in the dating scene. Some, but I wouldn’t say a lot. I do both [apps and relying on friends to meet people]. The apps, I’d say, are hit or miss. I have, you know, met people through friends, I’ve met people at bars and breweries.
I do wish it was different. I say that because Charlotte just seems so small. Everyone knows everybody. I think that’s the only downside, being such a small, tight-knit city. But you just take it as it comes. Plus, I’ve been here a while, which doesn’t help. I’ve been here for, like, 15 years, so I feel like I know more people. I think the number of people coming helps dilute the scene and I think it’s good for the city to grow, people-wise, you know? Meeting new people and having people come to the area is always good, whether it’s for dating or for other reason.
How did you feel leading up to the date? Were you ever nervous or hesitant, or was there ever a moment you had second thoughts about letting a total stranger send you on a date with another total stranger?
Rosita: I was excited. I was really excited. Plus, I knew, with a little bit of wine and a little bit of good conversation, it’d be fine. Plus, I’m a people person, so I can steer conversation any way if I had to. So the whole idea was pretty exciting for me. It was fun.
Aaron: I was ready. I’m kind of a roll with the punches, take things as they come type of person, so I was excited and, you know, ready for a new experience and new adventure.
What was your first impression?
Rosita: It was good. When we first started talking, it was natural. I ran a little late, so I came in and apologized, so we sat and started talking.
Conversation flowed naturally. It was the basics, like where are you from, what brought you to Charlotte, how long have you been here. We both went to Johnson and Wales and did the same program, so we talked about that and wound up talking about how we’re not in our field anymore, because he’s actually a banker but does personal chef stuff on the side and while I still do personal chef and catering on the side, it’s on the side and my main job is as a recruiter. So we talked about that, and then we got the dinner, and we were talking about the dinner and the food.
Aaron: She’s really cool. Really cool, really sweet. She looked nice, and she got there – I wouldn’t say late, she was on time, I was early – and, you know, we immediately sat down by the bar and started talking. Conversation was good. It was really natural. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. It wasn’t forced, it wasn’t awkward at all. It was like, you know, we had a mutual friend almost, and they’d set us up.
We talked about random things. We actually found out that we went to the same college around the same time, have the exact same degree. Yeah, we went to the same college, same degree, same major and never crossed paths. Which made conversation even easier.
Did you guys get along? What’d you like about each other, and what was the vibe? Was there chemistry?
Rosita: During the dinner, we did have some conversation. The wine distributor talked a lot, but we were able to have a good bit of side conversation and we talked afterwards as well.
Technically, there were only two other couples other than us, but the owner of Ruth’s Chris, his wife and his daughter were there. The owner of Ruth’s was sitting next to the distributor and asking him questions, which is why I think he talked a little bit more. He wasn’t even really eating his food – he had to kind of stop talking to the guy so he could eat his food [laughs].
I will say, it was really refreshing. I haven’t been on a date in a while, but when you’re talking to guys, the icebreaker is always either food or travel, but my pet peeve is when a guy says they don’t like something but they’ve never tried it. Don’t say you don’t like something, but that you don’t think you’ll like it, because you haven’t had it yet. You can miss so many opportunities by saying you don’t like or you won’t try it. So it’s hard, because I eat and like every cuisine, every type of food. I can’t name many things that I don’t like, so that makes it really hard because if I was trying to date that person, it would make options really limited because I’ll have to hang out with my friends who have the same interest in food as me more because I’ll have to go eat with them instead of the person I’m dating if you don’t have any interest in food like I do. So it was refreshing that – I mean, the steak came out, and he never asked to change anything.
I will say I don’t know if there was chemistry. I do feel like… it was like, I don’t know, a friendship? I don’t know if there was chemistry or anything there, per se, but no, I feel like he’s a really nice guy from what I got to know. He seems like a very nice guy. I think maybe he’s not very attractive to me.
Aaron: I think there was chemistry, yes. The dinner table was ten people in a group setting, so of course we sat by each other and made time to talk to each other and everyone at the table. So dinner went really well, and we both liked it. We had someone that was knowledgeable about food, and it was just another conversation piece for us both.
The wine was really good, and we both ended up purchasing wine, too.
How did you leave it?
Rosita: Well, so, toward the end, we were talking and the couple next to us, the one lady was talking to us – I forgot what she said – but she was like, “You have to treat him!” and we told them we were on a blind date, so everybody was shocked. They even said, “Oh, we thought you were married!” Like, what?
So then she was like, “Is there a second date? There has to be a second date!” and he said, “There will be,” and he looked at me and I was like, “There can be.” [laughs]
So he gave her the phone to take the picture for us, and he handed the phone to me and said, “I know it matters to you more!” and I was like, “Look at you, knowing already!” I was like, oh, it’s a nice picture and he asked for my number. But other than that, we didn’t really talk about [a second date].
We were getting up to leave, but the owner of Ruth’s Chris was talking to him, and he had said it, too, that we were on a blind date. The owner brought his wife over, and she was like, “Oh my God!” She took a picture with us and knew we were with Chem 101 and she and her daughter so excited, talking about how awesome it was and how much they love the Agenda. We all talked about it for a minute, and then they actually planned a second date for us, telling us where to go and everything. The daughter said we should go to Dot Dot Dot, and it’s on my list of things anyway.
I would go on a second date. I mean, it’s just like, I’ve talked to people I wasn’t necessarily attracted to at first. It’s not a deal breaker, because there’s more to the person than that. He’s not ugly or anything like, I’m just not attracted to him. So I would, definitely, because like I said, the conversation flowed naturally, we had a lot in common, stuff like that. And we didn’t get to, honestly, talk as much as I would have liked, so I’ll definitely give it another try.
Aaron: We called it a night. It was a four-course dinner, so it kind of took a while for all the courses and all the wine, and to talk about the wine, so afterward, we called it a night, but we did exchange numbers and are going to make plans to meet up again.
What rating would you give the date? Let’s do it on a one to five scale.
Rosita: I would say what you planned was a 5. That was amazing. Everything was amazing – the food, the wine. I actually bought every wine that we tried. The date was definitely a 5.
I would say that with everything else, it was a four. And I’m going to give it a four just because, I mean, like I said, it was natural, we had good conversation, we have a lot in common, but we definitely didn’t get to talk as much as we probably would have liked. So, yeah, I’d give it a four.
Aaron: I’d say a four. The only thing I would have changed would have been the group setting. The group setting wasn’t bad, but with there being 8 other people around, we got to talk a little bit less than, I think, normal. But everyone was really friendly, and at the end we kind of informed everybody what brought us there, and no one would have guessed it. They thought we’d known each other for a while, and one of the couples thought that we were married. They were also surprised at how young we were. You know, being our age, but being into wine and food. We were the youngest by far, by, I’d say, at least 25 years.
If you ever get the chance, the dinner is well worth it. I saw the price was $110, but you know, you go to a steakhouse, have a few bottles of wine, you’re gonna spend that per person, easy.
But, overall, I thought it was a great first date.
Update: Despite talking about a second date, both parties told me recently that they “never really heard” from each other again.
Single and want to participate in Blind Date? Here’s the Agenda Blind Date dating survey. Fill it out for a chance to be selected.