Blind Date: Erica, Tim and helmets, harnesses and heights

Blind Date: Erica, Tim and helmets, harnesses and heights
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The Blind Date series is proudly presented by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the official sponsors of date night. 

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 next installment of the multi-part series in which I match single Charlotteans of all ages. You can read about all of the dates here.

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 close to 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: Erica, a 33-year-old nurse anesthetist living in Madison Park, and Tim, a 30-year-old digital media specialist living in SouthPark.

I chose to set them up because they both like the same sort of restaurants and bars, music, Charlotte neighborhoods and look for the same type of traits in a date (smart, athletic, career-driven, etc.).

Because of their athletic and adventurous personalities, I sent them on an afternoon Canopy Tour at Canaan Zipline before dinner at drinks at Rock Hill staple Pump House.

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?

Erica: I am dating a lot. I think the dating scene is really tough, but I don’t think that it’s unique to Charlotte. In theory, I guess we would think that in the age of modern technology, it would be easier than years past, but now, single people are just at your fingertips. Now, you’re just a click or a swipe away from meeting your soulmate and all of the dating apps are ultimately superficial and everyone is just judging a book by its cover. It’s totally impossible to tell from someone’s picture the kind of energy that they have.

I guess when we meet people in more traditional ways, like out at the bar, you’re still swiping left or right in your head in the first few seconds but that feeling could totally change once you have eye-to-eye contact and communicate. And then, I think that if anything goes awry in a relationship these days, people just pick up their phone and start swiping for a new one. It’s like throwing it away instead of fixing it, and it’s almost like people have become addicted to finding the ultimate and unattainable and unrealistic partner.

It’s awful, but with that being said, I do circle on and off of the dating apps because I appreciate that I don’t have to wait for a man to come to me and I can take the reins on my own love life. You really have to put on thick skin and protect your heart a little more during the times when you’re using online apps, but I do it because I have to put forth the effort if I want to see the results.

Meeting people organically is hard. I haven’t had any success being set up by friends or, like, their husbands or friends of theirs. I would think that, ‘Oh, my friends know me best and will set me up with the ideal person,’ but those dates set up by them have been among the most interesting ones and, I don’t know, I think they’re more concerned with my love life than maybe I am. But it’s nice to have such loving friends, I guess. I’d just rather be single than be in a relationship just to be in one.

Tim: No, I’m really not in the dating scene a lot. I don’t do any of the apps, I don’t do any of the websites. I guess that’s kind of why I wanted to do this – get myself out there a little bit more. You know, it’s a chance to meet someone else.

I guess I don’t even try to really do any of those dating sites. Or dating in general, really. I tend to overthink things, so going on dates and thinking about phone calls, text messages and what to do next is just annoying to me. Like, when should you text next? If they don’t text right away, does that mean they’re not interested or are they just busy? Again, I think that’s just me overthinking things, but it gets to me and it’s just annoying, so why even bother? I’ve never downloaded an app or signed up for a website. My friends that have signed up for them, you know, it works for some people, it doesn’t for others. I’ve had friends say the same things about ‘They’ll text, and then they don’t.’

The few dates I have been on since I’ve moved down here were just with friends of friends or just out and about, I ended up talking to someone. So no, I wouldn’t say I really date much or that I’m even in the dating scene currently.

I should say I did have a girlfriend down here for about six months, so I was taken for a while and didn’t have to do any of that kind of stuff, but if I run into someone while I’m out, maybe I’ll move forward with that, but again, I don’t really. I’m content with where I am in my life and don’t need to go out and look for someone, I guess.

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?

Erica: I wasn’t nervous to be set up on a blind date because I figured I’m not picking the right people for myself, so maybe an outside perspective is what I needed.

I love a challenge, and I enjoy putting myself in situations where I’ll be pushed outside of my comfort zone. But when I found out we would be ziplining, that’s what made me have second thoughts – that was like the ultimate step outside of comfortable for me. I’d say I like adventure, but not when it involves 80-foot-tall platforms and hanging by harnesses. But I got through it, and it was fun.

Tim: I never had second thoughts about it. I was a little nervous, but I think that’s normal. I mean, I’m doing something I’ve never done in ziplining, I’m with someone who I don’t know and then thousands of people are going to read about it. So I think being nervous going into the date was kind of normal, but I never thought, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t do this.’ I’ve been in plenty of awkward situations, so I thought, worst case scenario, it’s kind of an awkward date, but I get to do something fun and get a free dinner out of it. Hopefully, I just don’t get embarrassed in front of thousands of people.

What was your first impression?

Erica: I would say that I’m a sucker for kind eyes and a kind smile, and he definitely had both of those, and he had a tall, athletic build, which I usually find myself being attracted to, so I was pleasantly surprised just at first glance.

I think we got along well. It was really hard for me to focus in the beginning of the date though, because I was so apprehensive of the zip line. We had about twenty minutes to chat before the tour started, and that went by really fast. We had small talk, and I think that during that little bit of time, he sensed my unease because when it was time to put on all of the gear, he assisted me. He did a great job of comforting me, and I think he’s genuinely a nice guy, which is refreshing.

Our tour guides were wonderful. They were well aware that we were set up on a blind date and they tried their hardest to make it as awkward as possible for us. Tim and I easily laughed it off and he has a great sense of humor, which I picked up on very early and I also find that attractive.

As far as the ziplining tour, there wasn’t a lot of time to get to know each other during the tour because we were all standing on small platforms high above the ground, there were six other people on the platform with us, and I was pretty much clinging on to the tree for dear life the majority of the time. I was definitely more comfortable once we were back on the ground.

Tim: I was actually more nervous when I got there, and I was the first one there. There were two tour guides and the person who signs you in or whatever, and they knew it was a blind date, and they were just as excited as I was about the date. They were asking me questions about it, like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait for you guys to meet,’ joking around about it, saying, ‘I can make it even more awkward for you.’

So more and more people started showing up to zipline, and by the time Erica got there, there were probably eight or nine people just sitting in a circle. So I was going to have to go up to Erica, and I have to introduce myself to her in front of people I don’t know, and they’re going to be like, ‘Who – what’s he doing? Who are these people?’ That kind of thing. So I was nervous about that, and thought it might be awkward, but it actually wasn’t bad at all. It worked out fine.

My first impression of her? I noticed her smile right away, and I could see why you matched me with her based on my description of, you know, who I’m usually interested in and all of that.

Once we kind of got into the swing of things, she was joking around. I mean, it was 90 degrees, we were wearing red helmets within five minutes of meeting each other, you know, sweating and everything, and she was having a good time with it. So I saw why you matched us and was happy about that. The first impression was definitely a good one, and it helps having a group setting as well.

Did you guys get along? Was there chemistry?

Erica: We definitely got along and I think dinner at the Pump House went well. We got there at 4:30 and started with drinks, and actually didn’t leave until after sunset. I mean, that was, hands down, the longest first date of my entire life, but it was one of the better first dates I’ve been on.

Our conversation just flowed effortlessly. We didn’t talk about anything too serious, which I appreciated, because it kept the date lighthearted and fun, however, hindsight, I don’t know if we share any of the same values and views for our futures because we didn’t talk about anything like that, but I think there was enough chemistry to warrant a second date and find out. Everything was small talk, ‘What do you do? Where are you from?’ but nothing about things like our dating past or relationship past or where we see ourselves in the future or what we want for the future.

We didn’t talk about any of that, which, I mean, I very much appreciated, but then it’s like, well, you want to make sure that you do share the same future goals, so I don’t know that we do. But I’d say there’s enough chemistry to find that out.

Tim: I think we had normal first date conversation throughout the night, but even early on, there were times on the tour where I’d be down at the other end and she’d be on the other platform, so there was downtime, I guess you could say. It wasn’t like we had to hold a conversation because there was other stuff going on, so I think that did help – there wasn’t awkward silence.

If there was silence, she would kind of just laugh. I don’t know if that’s her mechanism, of like, ‘This is awkward, I’m just going to laugh’ and I’d be like, ‘What are you laughing at?’ kind of jokingly and we’d kind of pick things back up.

We talked about friends, what we do in Charlotte, why I moved, why we did the blind date kind of thing, what we thought about it – nothing too deep. Families, we talked about families a little bit, but nothing too deep like past relationships.

We were pretty loose throughout the whole date, I thought, and she even mentioned my lack of going to the bathroom. So we were kind of having a good time the whole time, I thought.

Dinner was fun, we sat there for a while before we got food, had a few drinks. We didn’t rush ourselves or anything. Dinner was a chance to get to know each other a little bit more because, again, at the zipline, we weren’t always together or the guide was talking, so it was hard to keep the conversation going there. But at dinner, obviously, it was just her and I, so we were able to talk about the normal stuff.

After dinner, we went up to the rooftop and had a drink, and just kept talking.

Did you go out afterward, or go ahead and call it a night?

Erica: We called it a night. I mean, we met at 1:30 and it was 8:30 and it was such a long day in the heat and I think we were both very tired. It was appropriate to call it a night, but we stood in the parking lot and chatted a while and had fun taking our selfie – which led us to exchanging phone numbers.

Tim: Even after dinner, we left the restaurant but kind of stayed in the area and talked for another twenty minutes. I never felt like, ‘Oh, I have to get out of here,’ and I felt that she wanted to stick around a little longer, so it was fun.

How did you leave it?

Erica: He has texted me, and wanted me to let him know I got home safely, and then he found a picture of us on Facebook posted by the zipline tour, and he sent that to me on Sunday.

Tim: We did trade numbers. We haven’t talked much since the date – here and there, but no full-blown conversations throughout the day or at night.

I would go out again. The first date, I think, you’re always going to be a little bit nervous and like I said, we didn’t get too deep into anything. We kept it pretty basic, I thought, so I’d go out with her again. I do have some friends coming into town tomorrow, but she’s going to be at the golf tournament, and actually, so am I, so we said maybe we’d run into each other there. So if that works out, that’d be cool to see her there. But I believe she’s going on vacation for a while, so once she gets back, if she wants to go out another time and hang out and get to know each other, I’d be interested in that.

Hopefully Friday, we’ll see each other, and if not, once she gets back from vacation.

What rating would you give the date? Let’s do it on a one to five scale.

Erica: I would probably give it a solid four, and it has nothing to do with the company. I would just say that my ideal first date doesn’t include helmets and harnesses and sweat pouring down my face. Ultimately, I think we had a fun day experiencing something new together, so I’d give it a four.

Tim: I’d give it a four. I got to do something I’ve never done in ziplining, and it was fun. They actually let us do the whole course, even though we were only signed up for the half, but they were excited for the blind date, first date kind of thing. They said, ‘If it’s going well, and you want to keep going, keep going.’ It was very nice of them, and even the people in the group we were with wished us luck. So, I got to do something I’ve never done, and I’ve been to the Pump House before, which is always good food, and I got to know Erica. And she’s cool. I had fun with her, I enjoyed talking to her. Like I said, I don’t put myself out there very often, so it’s good to do that and experience that situation.

And now I can say I’ve been on a blind date and have gone ziplining.

Update: After texting for a few days, Erica and Tim ultimately decided that they weren’t interested in a second date.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Special thanks to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for presenting the Agenda’s Blind Date series and supporting date nights in Charlotte. Want to go on a date? Here’s the Agenda Blind Date survey.

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