Blind Date: AJ and Jenna sip their way through a virtual wine tasting

Blind Date: AJ and Jenna sip their way through a virtual wine tasting

Jenna, AJ (top right), and The Bohemian owner Patrick Villafane.

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Our Blind Date series is proudly presented by Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery. Husband and wife team, Drs. 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.


Due to COVID-19, I’m still sending our blind daters “out” using Zoom. But that doesn’t make the dates any less enjoyable. This month, our pair sipped their way through a virtual wine tasting with Patrick Villafane, who owns The Bohemian in Plaza Midwood. Before we get to that, let’s meet our daters.

First, we have AJ. He’s 27 and works for a local nonprofit.

His hobbies include making cocktails, finding new restaurants, reading on his back porch, camping, and attending church.

He describes himself as someone who’s “on a lifetime quest to learn new things, visit new places, meet new people, and leave the world a bit better than I found it.”

This well-traveled guy is looking for someone who’s “thoughtful, quirky, curious, intelligent, and articulate.” Ideally, she’d also have “drive and passion, with a clear vision of how she wants to make an impact on this community.”

Then there’s Jenna. She’s 26 and works in banking.

She enjoys working out, going to church on Sundays, and meeting friends at bars and breweries.

She describes herself as “driven, genuine, loyal, and outgoing.”

She’s looking for someone who’s “confident, goal-oriented, and has his own passions.” Additionally, she’d like to meet someone who will go to church with her and likes to travel.

Based on their shared interests and what they’re looking for in a partner, these two felt like a match to me.

Here’s how it went. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)

Had you been dating prior to the pandemic?

Jenna: (When) the pandemic hit I was like, “Oh, this is a good excuse to not be dating,” as bad as that sounds. But it was just a good break to focus on myself.

AJ: I wasn’t dating super seriously before the pandemic, I was mostly seeing folks that were friends of friends.

Had you ever been on a virtual date before? What about a blind date?

Jenna: Nope!

AJ: I’ve been on a couple of virtual dates since the pandemic started.

Pre-pandemic, how were you typically meeting your dates?

Jenna: I would say through the dating apps or through friends at work.

AJ: I’d say friends of friends was my primary method.

Was the concept of a blind date more, less, or equally as appealing as meeting in person?

Jenna: I would say equally, only because I feel like I wasn’t nervous about trying to find him. Like that initial, “Okay, you said he was wearing a red shirt.” Well, what if there are 100 people wearing red shirts at the bar? So there wasn’t that initial awkwardness. That was nice.

Of course, I would have loved for the date to be in person. But with a virtual date, everything is set up and made easy.

AJ: I would say less appealing than meeting in person, but it also feels much more comfortable knowing that I’m not going to endanger people I love who are older or at risk.

There’s something nice about the virtual environment, too. You get this slice into someone’s house.

Like, Jenna and I talked about, “Oh, I see that record player behind you” or “Tell me about that piece of artwork.” But maybe that’s just my perspective after a year living in Covid. My Stockholm Syndrome. (laughs)

What was the date like? What did you do?

Jenna: I ordered food from Basil Thai and A.J. got Vietnamese food, so that was cool we were in the same general food category. Then we did a virtual wine tasting.

That was such a cool experience. I’d never done an official wine tasting before. It was great, we tasted three different wines and the owner of The Bohemian walked us through the taste test. We smelled the wine and gave our opinions of it.

He and I both ended up liking the same one, a merlot. So that was really cool. It was a great virtual experience to be part of.

AJ: I ordered food from Lang Van. They kill it every time.

We chatted for a couple of minutes and then Patrick from The Bohemian popped in for our wine tasting. It was great. That was a fun little thing to start with.

After he popped out, we hung on for probably 90 more minutes. There wasn’t really a dead spot in the conversation. It felt like we had a lot in common, so we had tons to talk about.

cheese and charcuterie board at the bohemian in charlotte

Cheese and charcuterie board at The Bohemian in Plaza Midwood.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your conversation?

Jenna: I would say an eight or a nine. We have a lot in common and the conversation flowed really easily.

AJ: I’d say an eight. It was an easy conversation. We talked about music, travel, and our faith.

Chemistry is hard to gauge through a computer screen, but how would you rate yours?

Jenna: He seems like a really great guy. I’d say probably like an 8. It’s just so hard to judge chemistry if you’re not in person.

AJ: I’d say probably a seven or an eight. It was definitely good, but I want to learn a little more about her.

Do you see yourselves meeting in person eventually?

Jenna: I think so. He asked for my number at the end of the date and we’ve been texting a bit, so I think so.

AJ: Yeah, I’d think so. We traded numbers and texted a little bit about spots we might want to go. We haven’t made any hard plans, but I think we probably will.

What would you say to someone who’s contemplating going on a virtual date?

Jenna: I definitely was (skeptical) before going on one. But I would say definitely do it. Like, why not? What else are you doing these days?

AJ: Just do it! It’s easy. It was so much lower pressure than a normal date.


The two have a second date planned this week. Send them good vibes!

PARTICIPATE: Want the chance to get matched? Tell us about yourself in quick Blind Date Survey. Then we play matchmaker by sending couples out on virtual blind dates. To see past installments of the series, click here.

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