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Seven dates in seven days

Published: Monday, February 14, 2011

Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011 01:02

7dates.02142011

KASEY VAN DYKE, statesman editor, was set up seven blind dates in seven days in honor of Valentine’s Day. Each date had his own style and personality to contribute. CARL R. WILSON photo


    Die-hard readers out there might remember my column last year about how to survive Valentine's Day single. It consisted of three bags of chocolate and a six-hour nap.

    This year, we've gone the opposite direction. Inspired by a blog chronicling one woman's quest for love, which involved 30 blind dates in 30 days, I went on seven blind dates, seven nights in a row.

    The men, provided by The Statesman's editors, were not allowed to interact with me before the date, were not given my number and had to keep the date under a 25 dollar and three-hour limit. They have all been given nicknames to preserve anonymity.

Sunday: The Fire Guy

    Remember a couple years back when some kids lit the side of one of the near-by mountains on fire because they were messing around? Meet one of the accomplices: the Fire Guy.

    As the first date, he was definitely a guinea pig. The night began late, around 9:30. Fire Guy took me back to his apartment where he had lit a small fire – controlled this time – and we roasted marshmallows.

    I was surprised how easy it was to talk to him. The most memorable part? He accompanied my stories with his banjo. The home-made ice cream was delicious and though I was skeptical at first, Fire Guy was great to hang out with and incredibly talented.

    Though he wouldn't want others to know this, Fire Guy is a self-taught musician and now plays shows around the nation, including recently in San Francisco. He said he likes doing it without having to worry about making money. He really is an amazing singer and it's a shame more people haven't heard him. Dear Fire Guy, you can play your banjo for me anytime.

Monday: Mr. Diversity

    No, I did not go on a date with T.J. Pratt. When I first asked Mr. Diversity what our plans for the night were, he nearly gave me a PowerPoint presentation explaining my options. This guy was prepared. Having so many options to choose from was really nice. It made me feel like I had some contribution to the date.

    We ate at Rumbi Island Grill. I'd never been there and was pleasantly surprised. The food was delicious and conversation flowed naturally. After dinner, I chose ice skating as our main activity. He had brought flashcards to rate each other on any tricks we could do, which for me was staying vertical.

    I soon realized all my flashcards had 10s. He was begging for some praise, but that was cute. We got to the skating rink about 8 p.m., not realizing they close at 8:15. The guy was nice enough to let us throw on some skates for 10 minutes. Since neither of us had too many tricks, we started rating the little children who were falling like chubby little snowflakes all around us.

    With about an hour before his time was up, we left the rink and he started listing off possible activities. Then I spoke up.

    "I bet we could get to Idaho and back," I said.

    "You want to go to Idaho?"

    "Yeah. Let's go to Preston."

    It was decided. We headed north, talking the whole way. I'd never been to Preston and honestly, I was not that impressed. But the gas station we stopped at had peach rings (my latest obsession) and I was happy. We returned to Logan, me in a daze of peachy goodness and he in what I can only imagine was a state of shock at how the night had turned out.

    To Mr. Diversity: Options are great. I loved the spontaneity.

Tuesday: The Bad Driver

    At this point, only two dates into the week, I was getting exhausted. I tend to be a homebody and this week was pushing me out of my comfort zone. I think that may be why I enjoyed my time with Bad Driver so much.

    We are both English majors and both rhetoric associates. It gave us more common ground than I had with the first two dates, but I was worried we would crutch on that subject the whole night. I was wrong. We actually got into a pretty deep religious and social discussion while we ate at Costa Vida. My sweet pork salad accented his eyes perfectly. I was digging his dry sense of humor and sarcastic-at-times demeanor.

    As we were leaving he explained our activity: we would both pick two of our favorite spots in Logan and drive there. There were several times I felt my heart rate speed up as we had near-collisions. We joked about his driving.

    The Bad Driver, though not an expert in that medium, had a fantastic personality, but there were times I felt like he just wanted to get rid of me. I thought the conversation was deep and satisfying, but did you feel the same? Bad Driver, were you just shy or did you regret agreeing to the date?

Wednesday: THIS University

    It had been about 15 years since I'd fingerpainted. I hadn't even thought about it in quite some time. That was probably why I was so surprised when THIS University told me that's what we were doing. Buying the supplies at Wal-Mart was fun, actually one of my favorite things about the date, then things kind of plateaued.

    We got back to the TSC, apparently the location of our activity. That was a little odd, but I'd been in the TSC late before. He set up his Magic Bullet and we blended up some smoothies. To THIS University: That was a great idea. I loved my smoothie.

    We covered the tables with some newspaper and set up our paints.

    He was not good at interpreting my modern art painting, but I didn't guess his that easily either. I have to say my portrait of him was much better than his of me, though I always did want green arms like in the picture.

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