Just two Southern boys, living in a lonely world, taking the 6 p.m. train going to Prime 16. Our first date of the season, despite Mother Nature’s
weepy disposition, seems to have given our two strapping young winners a nice respite from the Midterm Madness. You can read all about their experience here, but our guess is, they are being a little coy. They are Calhoun neighbors, after all, and there is no saying what will happen behind closed doors. Who needs Grindr when you have WEEKEND?
// BY ISAAC PARK
I mean, let’s be frank. I give pretty terrible first date. So last week, when I got that fateful message from matchmaker Jordi — “YOU WON THE BLINDEST DATE,” his email gently informed me — I wasn’t so much excited as I was apprehensive. Still, on Tuesday, after a few minutes of quiet reflection in front of one of my more forgiving mirrors, I put on an unobjectionable oxford shirt and my best cardigan, and then I braved the cold, wet walk to the restaurant.
I got to Prime 16 a little early. Matthew walked in a few minutes later, sporting an easy smile and a comically large umbrella. He said something nebulously charming about the weather. I giggled. The chemistry — and, thus, sexual tension — was unbearably palpable.
The Yale Daily News had promised that a photographer would come take a picture of us at the beginning of the date, but said photographer never materialized. So after a few minutes, we got ourselves a table. I busied myself with the not-so-inconsequential task of somehow spending $40 at Prime 16.
I should note that Matthew, Southern gentleman that he is, ordered an iced tea.
We finally got to talking about our lives. I found out that Matthew lived in Belgium for eight years and that he was taking a trip to Budapest this weekend. (It was quickly established that I knew nothing about Budapest.) I also discovered that he played the double bass; I used to play cello! We jointly reminisced about our respective upright stringed instruments. There was so much goddamn chemistry.
In an unfortunate incident, he asked me what I planned to do after graduation and I reacted pretty violently. A momentary lapse.
We left the restaurant and walked back to Calhoun, our college. I bid him farewell and rushed off to my section. All in all, not disastrous. That’s about as good as it gets for me.
// BY MATTHEW FINLEY
I was going to be pretty early for our date, so I decided to take what any Hounie would call the “long way” to Prime 16: an extra block down College, a leisurely stroll on Crown and then a swift left turn onto Temple. It’s a good thing that I had borrowed my suitemate’s extra-large umbrella for the occasion; on this night New England showered me with rain of a long-forgotten vigor.
Finally, while approaching the restaurant, I sidestepped a massive puddle and brought my gaze back up just in time to see a slender figure appear out of the shadows ahead of me. After the initial awkward introductions (“Hi, so I’m Matthew”), Isaac led us to a table and nabbed the coveted booth seat. He talked about his experience as a transfer student at Yale, his work with the Yale Daily News, and “30 Rock”’s final season.
We talked about our mutual friends, our shared major and what a coincidence it was that we both live in Calhoun (Glory to the Mother Houn!). Armed with many stories from my childhood spent abroad and prepared to talk about an upcoming trip to Budapest, I valiantly waged war on awkward silence. Among several LOLs in our conversation, there were also some lulls. So, I launched into a tedious ramble based on what little I know about Hungary, expressing my anticipation for the great goulash I will eat this weekend.
It was only when our food arrived that I remembered how intimidatingly massive the burgers are at Prime 16. While Isaac neatly polished off his moderately sized beef fare, I struggled with the ginormous slab of chicken sandwich that lay in front of me, first taking a measured approach with the help of my good friends Fork and Knife before diving in elbow-deep for the soppy finale.
Isaac had another engagement at 7 p.m., so after settling the check we grabbed our things from the coatroom and headed out. I clumsily fiddled with my suitemate’s umbrella, trying to hold it steady as we walked home to Calhoun. I thought myself lucky that the wind didn’t take me up and away, Mary Poppins style. Somewhere near the corner of College and Chapel, I awkwardly realized that Isaac would probably appreciate the shelter of my umbrella.
Eight years in Brussels were sufficient to condition me to always “go Dutch,” but Isaac, like a true Southern gentleman, insisted on footing the bill. Isaac was kind, sweet, and funny; I enjoyed getting to know him better. A door from his common room opens into my stairwell, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing him around!