Date Lab: Is a cooking class the recipe for a great date?


(Photograph courtesy daters)
July 11, 2013

She’s book-smart, cares about what a man says more than how he looks, and says no one’s ever correctly guessed her mixed heritage. He’s an understated guy who says he’s also seeking a challenging conversation and is drawn to mixed-race women. Will they heat up the kitchen when we send them to a couples cooking class at CulinAerie?

Alison: I’ve never been set up on a blind date before, and I’ve never done cooking classes before, so it was definitely something new and unique. Nobody was coming to sit next to me, and I kept thinking, What if he missed it; what if he’s running late; what if I’m getting stood up?

Yousef: I got there a few minutes before the class started. I thought she was pretty cute. I think I might have been more nervous than she was.

Alison: He seemed cute, he seemed nice, maybe a little flustered because he ...was running late.

(PHOTOGRAPHS OF DOG, VELOCIRAPTOR AND ARISTOTLE SCULPTURE BY BIGSTOCK; MICHAEL C. HALL, LEFT, FROM “DEXTER” BY FRAZIER HAMILTON/GETTY IMAGES; MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS FROM “THE WIRE” BY MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS; BEANIE BABY BY PRNEWSFOTO; LEGOS BY ASSOCIATED PRESS )

Yousef: She was definitely really friendly. I guess when you realize you’re in this thing together, you try to make the best of the situation.

Alison: He seemed quiet and a little introverted at first. It was hard to hear what he was saying, and I kept having to say, “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

Yousef: At first we chatted a bit during the instruction, but then we realized we were missing things, so we kinda stopped and started paying attention.

Alison: When Yousef and I got confused, we’d look around and see what other people were doing. We made the [green papaya salad] and the pad thai, and then we had the break to eat while they changed out our cooking utensils and gave us everything for the duck [curry] and the [coconut bananas] dessert.

Yousef: I’d say there was a lot of teamwork and collaboration going on between both of us, which I thought was a nice touch. We definitely got an opportunity to talk more [when we were eating] and find common interests.

Alison:We played the name game [and] tried to see if we had any mutual friends. I think we had a couple. He asked me what sort of things I like to do outside of work, and I told him what sports I’m into. I’m into yoga, and he’s into rock climbing.

Yousef: She came off as intelligent, fairly well-traveled. Someone that was really easy to approach and talk to.

Alison: We might have a little bit different senses of humor. There were a few times where he said something, and I couldn’t tell if he was serious or joking. Then he would start laughing, and I would know it was a joke.

Yousef:I was able to make her laugh a few times, so that kind of put me at ease a little bit.

Alison: He’s definitely a smart guy, and really nice. I think he might be the type of person where you have to get to know him before his personality really starts to come through.

Yousef: We were probably the slowest couple, so we kept joking it was more a marathon than a sprint.

Alison: We ended up going to Cork Wine Bar. Which I was surprised he suggested, because he mentioned earlier in the night that he wasn’t much of a wine person. But he was trying to be accommodating, which I thought was really nice.

Yousef: We both finished our glasses. At that point it was a little after 11, and she didn’t want to be out too late. So I walked her back to the Metro station. We hugged, exchanged numbers. I told her I wanted to see her again. When I got home I texted her just making sure she got home safe. That’s pretty much it.

RATE THE DATE

Yousef: I’d give it a solid 4 [out of 5.] She was the sort of person I was at ease with; I didn’t have to feel nervous; I could just be myself and not really worry about how things were going.

Alison: I’d give it maybe a 3.5. He was definitely a gentleman. But I think he’s a bit more introverted, a bit more quiet, and I felt like I was driving the conversation a little bit.

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UPDATE: Yousef and Alison later traded several texts. But he’d mentioned during the date that he was moving to California for work, and his pending departure dissuaded her from taking things further. “I eventually told him it was nice to meet him through Date Lab, but I didn’t see it going anywhere and wished him well on his new job,” she tells us.

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