Our Blind Date series is proudly presented by Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery. Husband and wife team, Dr. Bryan and Kara Criswell, know how important it is to find someone who brings out your best features. Here’s to finding the Criswell to your Criswell.
NOTE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all dates are currently virtual-only. If you’d like to be considered for a virtual date, click here to apply.
Responses have been edited lightly for clarity.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to hit pause on sending two complete strangers out to a public place for a first date. It felt unnecessarily unsafe.
But Charlotte still has plenty of singles looking to meet someone new, so I’ve shifted the Agenda’s Blind Dates to virtual meetings instead. Eric and Colleen were the guinea pigs for the first virtual date, which I greatly appreciate. It’s safe to say this was the first time our daters have both admitted to wearing sweatpants with a nice shirt on top for their date.
About Eric: He’s 24 and works for a nonprofit. He enjoys (or enjoyed in the pre-pandemic era) hanging out with friends, hiking, playing ice hockey, and watching live music.
Then there’s Colleen. She’s a 23-year-old pediatric nurse who enjoys(ed) spending time with friends, working out, and hiking.
I asked Chef Sam Diminich, former chef at Upstream and Beat Bobby Flay winner, to deliver our daters his three-course, farm-to-table meals with his new company Your Farms, Your Table. They ate together as they chatted on Zoom. Here’s how the date went:
Had you been dating prior to the pandemic? Any virtual dates?
Eric: I haven’t been doing any virtual dates, strictly because I have no idea how to meet people during a pandemic (laughs). Normally friends set me up or I meet people out and about but, yeah, not a lot of that happening these days.
Colleen: I’d been on a few dates here and there prior to the pandemic, but nothing serious.
How did you feel leading up to the virtual date? Any concerns?
Eric: Even though it wasn’t an in-person blind date, I think the fact that it was still a blind date gave me nervous energy. Then some people told me to just have fun with it, so that was kind of the mindset. With it being virtual, I think I was most nervous about my WiFi going out (laughs).
Colleen: Honestly, not really. You took care of most of it, I just had to get on Zoom, which is not a problem.
Was the concept of a virtual date more, less, or equally as appealing as an in-person date?
Eric: Well, I find that Zoom is very limiting when it comes to expressing my personality. It’s hard to find that back and forth. Body language, the atmosphere, it’s just very muted, I guess you can say. And so for me, I was like, “Okay, I was on a Zoom call a few hours before this for work. And now I’m on a Zoom call on a date. I need to change my mindset. I can’t just sit there with the mute on and just pretend like I’m listening. I actually have to be engaged.”
Colleen: I actually kind of liked the idea of it just because it’s safer. If you’re meeting someone you’ve never met before, you don’t know them. It’s kind of nerve-wracking to go and meet them in person. So I actually felt a lot more relaxed about it than I would on a normal date.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your conversation?
Eric: It was good! It was probably like an eight. I was worried about how it would go with the back and forth, but it seemed fluid and natural. I know you gave us some icebreakers, but I also I tried to think of some topics beforehand by myself and so I had to be like, “I came up with these ideas, I’m not just taking Lauren’s. I want credit! That kind of thing.” (laughs). But yeah, we talked for maybe three hours.
Colleen: I’d say like a nine. I don’t give anything a ten because nothing’s perfect, but yeah. It was good. He was really outgoing, friendly, and very nice. He didn’t say anything with any red flags. It was a good conversation. We talked until 9:30 p.m. or something like that, and the only reason I left was because I gave blood that day so I was feeling kind of crappy and wanted to lay down. But I could have kept talking to him for a while. We never ran out of things to talk about.
Knowing that it’s hard to gauge through a computer screen, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your chemistry?
Eric: Because of the limitations, I’d say a six or a seven. What I do to make myself and then hopefully the other person comfortable is tell corny jokes. So I tried to do that and she gave me some pity laughs at times. I think that was a good sign that she was engaging.
Colleen: I don’t know that I can really judge. I guess I’d say a seven or an eight. I would definitely go on a date with him in person, but you can never really judge if you have chemistry until you’re in person. The conversation flowed, but that’s really all I can say.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the date overall?
Eric: For a virtual date, I’d say an eight. It was fun and it was definitely out of the normal routine of things during quarantine.
Colleen: I’d have to say an eight. We got along really well and we had things to talk about. I had less in common with him than I might with someone else, but not in a bad way. Opposites attract.
Would you be open to pursuing an in-person date with this person when the world resumes?
Eric: Yeah, I definitely think so. If we can talk on Zoom for three hours then I kind of feel like we owe it to each other to meet in person.
Colleen: Oh yeah, definitely. I definitely want to meet him and see how we are in person with each other.
Any tips for those who might be thinking about trying a virtual date?
Eric: I mean I could go cheesy and be like, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself!” But I’d say acknowledge the weirdness of it. Don’t be afraid to make fun of the situation. Try to think of weird questions or topics. The overall date isn’t normal, so don’t be afraid to have a weird conversation.
Colleen: Be open to meeting a new type of person. When you first meet them you might think, “Oh, this isn’t my type” or whatever it is, but I think you have to really talk to someone and get to know them. Go in with an open mind.
Since meeting virtually, Eric and Colleen have gone on two in-person dates. They’ve gotten drinks together on Foxcroft Wine Co.‘s patio, and have cooked a meal together.
PARTICIPATE: Want the chance to get matched? Tell us about yourself in quick Agenda Blind Date Survey. Then the Agenda plays matchmaker by sending couples out on virtual blind dates. To see past installments of the series, click here.