Our final Blindest Date was a pizza extravaganza! Our musical lovebirds, songstress Emma and guitarist Will, made their way to Kitchen Zinc this week, where they both had their first actual date (ahem, thanks YDN!). We hope you enjoy their stories. And as for our little social experiment: The Blindest Date shall return next year with a new batch of eligible, keen Yalies. Thanks for tagging along for the ride. Now get out. Catch you on the flipside, lovers!
// BY EMMA AKRAWI
Though well-familiar with the walk to one of my top 3 New Haven restaurants, I wound up eight minutes early. I hid in the crook of a building, called my mom for support and at 6:28 p.m. headed inside, slipping through the velvet curtain and waltzing up to the hostess.
“Hi there,” I said. “I’m here for a date.” She looked at me blankly.
“It’s a blind date.”
She kindly asked what I wanted to do. Should she take his name and call me over?
“I don’t know his name,” I blurted. “But he has red hair. They told me he has red hair. I’m here for a contest. I can just get a table and then look for him.”
She nodded and smiled. “Okay.” She led me to a table near the bar.
Kitchen Zinc was made for dates. The intimate space is packed with rows of tables for two, small squares big enough for pizza and two pairs of elbows to lean on.
I downed a pitcher of water before I saw a redhead by the door and waved. Will mentioned he knew me from “Daily Themes.” I probably looked perplexed because I didn’t recall him. My brain was preoccupied with signaling me to sit like a normal person.
Excited to sample the menu, we ordered two pizzas to share: the prosciutto special, a personal favorite, and a new one with broccoli rabe, sausage and hot peppers.
The conversation flowed from classes and activities to how we skied over spring break (he’s a pro, tackling Swiss mountains, while in upstate New York I tried for the first and last time), to television (he joked that he’s “bad at watching it”), to movies (we both saw only one major film last year).
The whole time, I didn’t know where to look. I stared at his face. When I felt that was awkward, I glanced away, only to repeat the cycle.
I felt relieved to learn I wasn’t the only one who had never been on a blind date, or for that matter a real date where you sit across the table from someone and that table isn’t in a dining hall. We agreed that we were doing pretty well. I asked who was his “Daily Themes” tutor and was baffled to learn we had the same one.
Will and I had much in common, including the fact that we both had rehearsals to get to. Suddenly it was almost 8 p.m. — you know the conversation is going well when neither person pulls out a phone for almost two hours. We walked back and parted ways at WLH.
Halfway through rehearsal, when I had finally come down from my jittery high, it struck me. Not only was he in my class and shared a tutor, but we had once been in the same four-person critique group. I had read and discussed five of his pieces, among them a particularly enjoyable “Jabberwocky”-esque theme about the fictitious fishlike groolaï.
I’m so clueless that I failed to see my blind date wasn’t even blind.
// BY WILL ADAMS
What do you call a blind date that isn’t totally blind? A myopic date! Har har! I refrained from making this really terrible joke during my date with Emma, though it crossed my mind when I arrived at Kitchen Zinc and realized that I kinda sorta knew her already: We are both in “Daily Themes,” and we have the same writing tutor (hi, Donald Brown!).
The next few minutes after I sat down were like some great purging of all of the nervous laughter I thought would plague me the whole night. We laughed about: the ridiculousness of the whole blind date situation, the nice YDN photographer who took 100 shots from various angles while we awkwardly posed, and telling our waiter that we needed more time to look at the menu because we had just been paparazzi’d.
After the stifled laughs left us, we settled into a great, relaxed conversation. Over the course of our lovely dinner, we learned that we actually had quite a bit in common. Our dialogue flowed naturally as we traded shared facts about ourselves, like this dinner being our first “real” date ever, our passion for music, our uncertainty about how Credit/D/Fail really works and the hefty commitment of our extracurriculars: She a member of an a cappella group, I a member of an improv group.
Also, we are both 20, and thus were unable to partake in some of the delicious-sounding beer with which the waiter taunted us. Boo. What we did order more than made up for it: one red pizza (sausage + broccoli rabe + spicy peppers = woo!) and one white pizza (prosciutto + pine nuts + balsamic glaze = sweet!), both delicious. We realized we still had some more money in our budget, so we considered a dessert. However, we both had rehearsal for our respective groups at 8 p.m., and time was running out. A nice compromise: We ordered a dessert pizza (thin crust + mascarpone cheese + pears = love!) to go. We left Kitchen Zinc after 8 p.m., already late but not caring. With personal pizza boxes in hand containing our evenly split dessert, we walked together to our shared rehearsal location, WLH, and parted ways with a hug. I did it! My first blind date! I didn’t make awful jokes, but I did make a new friend!