Darien and I, both finely suited up, met at the Pierson College gates at 8:45 p.m. and immediately got engaged into funny and fluid conversation about midterms, art history and photojournalism. We chose Kamal’s as our restaurant of choice because neither of us had gone there before — and what an excellent venue it was! Though there was a small party of about four sitting in the restaurant when we entered, they eventually left Darien and me alone for a rich conversation over dinner that lasted almost two hours. It took a while for us to even order our food because we couldn’t stop exchanging family stories and pride for our home states (which for him was Texas and, me, California). I ordered some spicy chicken saag that was magical, to say the least, and he ordered a sample platter. I didn’t feel that was much to take advantage of since the Yale Daily News was reimbursing us for eating out, so I got an extra order of naan bread in case he became hungrier later.
Though Darien and I had met cursorily in BIOL 103 section last year, we hadn’t gotten to know each other outside the context of classes. In sharing narratives about love for family and the excitement in meeting people different from us to Olympic hockey and responsibilities of an oldest child (which we both are), we humanized each other last night.
Laughter saturated Kamal and I couldn’t stop smiling. I’m thankful for what the Yale Daily News did for us because I truly enjoyed myself on the date and felt like I really got to know Darien without forcing myself to be outwardly flirtatious or socially amicable. In today’s society where technology can both bring people together and distance them further, I don’t particularly like how sometimes people my age meet someone new and start texting but have to invest immense, cold calculation and formulation behind their nascent relationship — to text or not to text today, to wait, to play hard to get, to use Emojis or not, is a winky face too forward right now. Simply do what you feel and feel what you do.
I didn’t have to try on my blind date with Darien. I just did. And quite frankly and I think that’s how most dates — if not most human interactions — should be.
Contact Hung Pham at firstname.lastname@example.org .
After my suitemate checked over the outfit I had chosen — not sloppily casual, yet not stiffly formal, as my dress must say “I effortlessly look suave” — I meandered my way towards the Pierson gate, just a couple minutes early — early enough to seem responsibly punctual but not so early that I look desperate.
First dates are hard.
When Hung came out, there was the briefly awkward moment where I had to figure out if he was going for the hug or the handshake, but the moment passed quickly with a couple firm pats on the back. Confession: Hung and I had bio section together last year, and we’re Facebook-friend-acquaintances, so he’s not a stranger.
Still, there’s a lot that I didn’t know about him, and during our stroll to the restaurant — Kamal’s, which neither of us had been to — he filled me in on his photojournalism class, his seminar with Dean Mary Miller, his passion for art.
Dinner was a delicious affair, and I ache with regret at having eaten at Chemistry Club’s professor dinner night before coming. Our conversation wandered organically, weaving between our families’ immigrant stories, my “Molecules and Radiation” class, his work as an EMT, our suitemates and mutual acquaintances. He’s a great conversationalist, an active listener who asked engaging questions, who colored in our exchange with hues and shades of his pretty incredible life experiences.
Though I wasn’t keeping track of the (too-swift) passage of time, from the corner of my eye I saw and recognized the agitated movements of the wait staff — we were the only patrons left in the restaurant, and reluctantly I suggested that we finish up soon. Hung had been impeccably polite the entire night to the staff, and our departure was no exception; we wrapped up and headed back out into the cold.
Our light discussion about Asian foods and our particular food preferences grinded to a halt when it came time to part ways, us standing on the street between our respective colleges, and because I’m an awkward fool who is absolutely horrendous at goodbyes, all I know is that I ended up babbling something incoherent and indecipherable. We shook hands — in retrospect, I’m wondering how many first dates end with handshakes — and I crossed the street back towards Branford, with a silly little grin on my face.
Contact Darien Lee at email@example.com .