Jul 27, 2017 - Things to Do

Blind Date: Danielle, Brian and an admittedly successful dinner date at the Whitewater Center



Brian: Dinner wrapped around 9:30, and they were kind of closing up shop, so we ended things there and we decided to – being a first date, you try to cover all your bases, and I’d never been on a blind date, so you cover a lot of ground, and conversation was good throughout the whole thing. We both felt like, ‘Hey let’s continue chatting and getting to know each other’ and went for a couple of drinks at Selwyn. We even lost track of time there, and were there probably a little later than we both wanted to be.

The Blind Date series is proudly presented by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the official sponsors of date night. 

How does it work? Charlotteans fill out this 37-question Agenda Blind Date Survey about their make-or-breaks, their ideal types and their ideal dates. Then the Agenda plays matchmaker by sending couples out on blind dates. Below are the results.

Welcome to the Agenda’s Blind Date series.

This is the next installment of the multi-part series in which I match single Charlotteans of all ages.

[Related: Chem 101: Briana, Joey and an awkwardly funny tour of the city]

Applicants sent me a few details on things like their views on politics, religion and marriage and trusted me to send them on a true blind date.

Those selected don’t know anything about their date except the essentials – name, age and one thing that I thought would make them a good match. They don’t even get to see a picture.

After sifting through close to 1,000 applicants, I set aside several pairs and, based on their survey answers, set up a date I thought they’d enjoy.

Next up: Danielle, a 32-year-old manager of a veterinary clinic living near Selwyn, and Brian, a 38-year-old working in the investment world living in Ashley Park.

I chose to set them up because they both like the same kind of bars, restaurants, music, Charlotte neighborhoods and are both active people that enjoy things like trail running and working out.

Bonus: This wasn’t a deciding factor, but I did like that neither cares much about height. Brian stands about an inch shorter than Danielle, but he’s dated women as much as six inches taller than himself, and as for Danielle, she doesn’t want to miss out on something great just because of an inch or two difference. That’s big, as most people that filled out the survey did cite height as a deal breaker.

Because of their adventurous, outgoing, active and up-for-anything attitudes, I decided to send them to the Whitewater Center for a Paddle to Table experience. The first one got rained out, but once we’d gotten everything sorted out, they were both eager to go on the date – and it went really well.

Here’s how it went.

How do you feel about the dating scene in Charlotte? And if you’re in it, how are you meeting people?

Danielle: I’m like an old-school person. I don’t like to do online. I just like to be out and socialize. I’ve got a good group of friends and I do Crossfit, so I have a working out outlet where I can meet people and go out. We go all types of places, and it’s normally through a friend, honestly, like, ‘Oh, here’s a friend of a friend,’ because Charlotte seems to me, from what I’ve found, very cliquey. People just don’t go outside of their people. And when you’re out, people can be stuck on their phone or just in their inner circle, and I just like to talk to anybody and everybody, you know? I feel like that’s missing in Charlotte in some regards.

It’s not specifically Charlotte, and I don’t want to hate on Charlotte, because it’s very social. We’ve got amazing places to go – breweries, Knights games, Whitewater Center, we’ve got so many things at our fingertips, Charlotte’s an amazing city. I think it’s just dating in general in our timeframe with all the technology and online dating because I think a lot of people just get hooked on that. Not that that’s a bad thing, because I’ve gone to so many weddings where they met online, Tinder even, it’s just… that’s a lot of people’s thing. That’s fine, it’s just not mine. I just like to meet people organically, I want it to happen naturally.

Brian: I don’t really do the online dating thing. I don’t put much stock in that. I’m not saying I haven’t had a profile before, but that’s not really my thing. It’s more – I have a decent sized friend circle, so I’d say more of my dating is a buddy’s wife that’s like, ‘Oh, I have a friend that I think is cute, so I’ll set you up.’ It’s friends of friends, and there’s always some type of connection. It’s a half degree of separation here in Charlotte with people you do end up dating, because they’re gonna know somebody that you know, and it’s not hard to circle back on that.

The day and age we live in, with social media and everything, it’s so easy to be connected and have that half-degree of separation, and I think that Charlotte… I always call it a little big city. It’s growing, and there’s a lot of people here, but it’s still a small city, especially when you are dating and things like that. I think we live in a day and age where people are going to be connected. I don’t think the dating scene is as bad as everybody says, but I don’t mind it. It’s what you’re gonna put into it and what you’re gonna get out of it.

How did you feel leading up to the date? Were you ever nervous or hesitant, or was there ever a moment you had second thoughts about letting a total stranger send you on a date with another total stranger?

Danielle: I’m all about experiencing things and getting outside your comfort zone, so I never felt that. It was just funny when I got with all my friends or I told some coworkers about it, because they were just always – it was always the topic of conversation, basically. If I was ever out with a whole bunch of friends, they were just asking everything about it, and I was like, ‘You guys, I have literally no idea. I know his name, and that’s it.’

So no, I never felt anxious, because I love people and I’m very outgoing, I guess, so I never felt that. Honestly, I didn’t put too much stock into it – not that I don’t trust you, but you guys don’t know me, and I don’t really know you – so I was just like, ‘Well, it’ll be fun, and I like to meet new people!’ So that was kind of what my thought process was about it.

Brian: It’s funny. I wasn’t nervous or anything like that, that’s not my style. I was really just more anxious, I wanted it to go ahead and happen after the initial date getting cancelled. You know, you get excited for it, and then it doesn’t happen, and then I was gone for a couple of weeks. So by the time it happened, I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ So I was just, despite what my physical appearance might have said at the time because it was low 90s, mid-90s at this point and 100% humidity, I was talking to one of the girls that works at the Whitewater Center and I’m thinking like, ‘This girl’s gonna walk up and she’s gonna think I’m super nervous because I’m just sweating profusely here.’ But that really had nothing to do with it – it was the weather.

I tend to have the personality where I’m a talker, and I tend to get along with most people, and I’m thinking you’re going to be setting me up with someone that I have something in common with, so I was thinking I was going to be able to find some type of common ground with this girl and we’d be fine, and that was more than the case. So we definitely had a lot in common.

What was your first impression?

Danielle: I didn’t see him at first because he was inside. He did say he’d been standing outside the kayak center (where they were supposed to meet), but it was so hot that he was sweating so much that he mentioned that, ‘I didn’t want you to think I was like nervous sweating – I’m not nervous at all, it’s just so bloody hot out.’

Right off the bat, I was like, ‘Oh, gorgeous hair, gorgeous smile, this is great!’ He already, to me, looked – if I’m going to judge off of looks – super down to earth, which I love, so yeah.

It wasn’t awkward at all. It was natural, which was really nice. It was like we’d already known each other in a way. I think we’re both the kind of people where – and he mentioned it – we’re both very much outgoing and can talk to anybody, so we both kind of just picked up right there and went and had a great time.

Brian: She’s definitely very cute, and she’s in shape, and she looked and she is athletic, so that’s something that I… for myself, try to stay in shape… and I like to find common ground with people that have similar interests. And I’m always trying to stay active and do things like that, so I definitely picked up on that right away. So my first impression would be that she was definitely a very cute girl and seemed to be my type, I guess. If I was to pick someone out, I’d say that that was the type of girl I’d be interested in.

Did you guys get along? What’d you like about each other, and what was the vibe? Was there chemistry?

Danielle: I would say so for sure. I mean, we were just non-stop talking, and talked about everything. He even mentioned toward the end, ‘You know, we’ve talked about everything you’re supposedly not supposed to talk about on a first date,’ like religion and politics. To me, I don’t know rules, I’m just me, and he said he was the same. It was just a conversation and went from one topic to the next.

Agenda related story: I paid $60 to climb the Deep Water Solo at the Whitewater Center. Here’s how it works and how I did

We got to know each other more quickly than normally, and I don’t know if that’s because we were on a paddle board talking, or because we knew, obviously it was a blind date for Axios Charlotte, but we talked about family. I love that he’s a family guy, you know, he’s got 8 nieces and nephews, and to me that’s very important. We just had a lot of similarities in certain things and ways of thoughts in certain things, as well. We like the same type of music. It was just a lot things, where I was like, ‘Wow, we have a lot in common.’

But he’s just generally a nice person, you could tell, and he’s just himself, which to me, is a little hard to find in Charlotte because in my opinion, there are a lot of factors in that. I think a lot of guys don’t have that confidence in themselves, like they make it out to seem like they do, but in the long run, they just don’t have it, which is huge. He seemed very confident, and that’s attractive in itself. He was just nice to just talk with, and know that he was genuine and he was very polite.

He was a gentleman, too, which is sometimes hard to find. When he was talking to waiters and waitresses, he went out of his way to say please and thank you, which are little things but they’re important and things that us women pick up on that I don’t think guys realize. Those are things you want to pick up on on a date, and you could just tell, he’s a super nice human being, which is refreshing.

I was surprised by the chemistry. I didn’t go into it with any expectations, but there was definitely interest in, I believe, both parties. I don’t want to speak for him, but there was definitely chemistry because to me, like I said, it was a breath of fresh air.

Brian: I think there was definitely chemistry. I mean, we were conversing the entire time. There were no awkward silences or moments or anything like that. Sometimes I worry that I’m filling the void, but I don’t think that was the case at all. We had a really good rapport, back and forth, and we seemed to be cut from the same cloth so to speak. We have similar kind of personalities. There was definitely a connection there.

We have a lot of similar interests, likes and things that we do. I like to be outside, and she practically lives at the Whitewater Center. Again, I always try to involve any type of activity. There’s a connection there, that we both lead an active lifestyle and will have similar interests in regard to similar things like places we go to and things we like to do.

I never felt any awkward silences, and I’ve felt that before. I’ve been out with girls where they’re a little more on the quiet side and I’m talking or telling a story to fill the time or trying to search for, ‘Hey, what can I ask her now?’ but I never felt that at all.

Did you go out afterward, or go ahead and call it a night?

[Agenda related story: Selwyn Avenue Pub is unapologetically old-school, and that’s cool with owner Jim Foster]

Danielle: We ended up being the last people at the Whitewater Center and then went out and got one more drink at Selwyn Pub because I live right off of Selwyn. So yeah, it was really nice, because we both were still engaging in conversation and he was like, ‘Do you wanna just grab one drink’ at the restaurant at the Whitewater Center, but it was 9:30 so we headed to Selwyn Pub because we wanted to be outside. We sat out on the patio and stayed for a good while, until 1. We honestly didn’t realize what time it was because we were just talk-talk-talking, and we were the only ones sitting on the patio and they were putting up chairs around us before I was like, “Oh, what time is it?”

How did you leave it?

Danielle: We didn’t kiss goodnight, but I gave him a hug. If I like someone, I’m old school, and I don’t know if he was going in for a kiss, but he kissed me on the cheek, and I thought that was really sweet. One thing is – and this happens because I’m a tall girl – he’s basically my height, which I don’t mind. I’m not going to not date someone because they’re not taller than me, but you know when it goes into that time where you’re standing and lingering, and I’ve only been on a couple of dates with guys as tall as me or shorter, but I always feel like it’s awkward for them to make a move. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me in my head. But he was a gentleman.

As we were leaving, he was like, ‘Please, please please’ – because we’d been drinking, we’d had maybe, in total, 3 drinks from 6:30 to almost 1 – ‘Will you please text me and let me know you got home safe?’ Which, I mean, that’s so nice, so I did that, and I obviously was tired, but went to bed right away and missed a text from him back. So in the morning, I said, ‘Thanks so much, it was great,’ and he mentioned he’d be here this weekend and asked if I’d want to go out on Saturday night, and obviously I was like, ‘Yeah, definitely!’ We were texting back and forth yesterday about it as well as a case at my vet.

We’re going to the Knights game on Saturday and having dinner at a restaurant before.


Brian: I walked her over to car, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and we set up plans to hang out this weekend. I think we’re gonna go to dinner tomorrow night, and I got tickets to the Knights game. We’d talked about food and she mentioned she was a bit of a foodie, and I’d mentioned Savor was my favorite place and she’d never been, so I think we’re gonna go there for dinner and go to the Knights game afterward.

What rating would you give the date? Let’s do it on a one to five scale.

Danielle: I would totally give it a five. There wouldn’t be a reason I would judge too harshly because we had a great time, obviously. We talked the whole time, stayed out late afterward. The date itself was fun, but if I was going to give it a four, four and a half – I love the Whitewater Center, I’m there all the time – but the paddling was awesome, but the dinner was… sitting down with everybody, you’re on these big picnic table slabs, like if you’re trying to have an intimate date, that’s not intimate. But it was fine, we were in our own little bubble basically. But no, it was a five for sure. Fun, good food, good conversation, good chemistry. But now I’m wondering what he’ll give it?

Brian: I mean, I guess I gotta give it a five. I don’t know if I’m overshooting it, but it was successful, we went out for drinks afterward, and we’re going out to meet again. I think there was a connection there, and we’re obviously going out again, so I think it was a success. If things don’t work out at the Agenda, you might have a future in matchmaking. You did a good job.

Update: Danielle and Brian are still seeing each other.

Since their first date a little over a month ago, Danielle and Brian have continued dating. They recently went to his mountain house, have been to a concert, dinner and back to the Whitewater Center together and Brian even fostered a dog from her veterinary clinic.

Brian: We haven’t had that ‘talk’ yet, really, I guess as to what we are or if we are exclusive, but we have been seeing each other a lot. So yeah, all is still going well with us.

Danielle: Needless to say… we are still dating! He is such a great guy and I’m really enjoying getting to know him. I can only speak for myself and it’s still early in the relationship, but I feel only good things ahead.

Kylie: Ugh, you two. My heart.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Special thanks to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for presenting the Agenda’s Blind Date series and supporting date nights in Charlotte. Want to go on a date? Here’s the Agenda Blind Date survey.


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