Volume 94, Issue 80

Wednesday, February 14, 2001


Operation: Blind Date

Operation: Blind Date

Randy Quan/Gazette

By Joel Brown, Heather Buchan, Colin Butler, Hilary Cox, Leena Kamat, Kristina Lundblad, Sean Maraj and Randy Quan
Gazette Staff

When Mikey met Courtney

The first ever Operation: Blind Date took place this past Saturday. Mike Gaze, a third-year kinesiology student, and Courtney Chambers, a third-year Administrative & Commercial Studies student, were picked as the lucky couple to go on the big date, sponsored by The Gazette.

Throughout the evening, Mike and Courtney were separated and interviewed by undercover Gazette staff to find out how the date was going and what they thought about each other.

"I'm alright. I'm excited and not too nervous," Mike said, before the date. "I hope to have a good time tonight. I hope nothing disastrous happens."

Courtney said she was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. "I'm nervous because I don't know what he's like. But I think it's going to be really fun. I hope we have a good time."

Courtney said she had planned out what she was going to wear on Tuesday because she's very organized and knew she was going to be working until 6 p.m. that Saturday night. "I wanted to be ready beforehand. My roommates are going to help me with my hair."

The evening started off with Mike being picked up at his home by The Gazette. From there, the date went on to Courtney's residence. He went to her front door and it was answered by one of Courtney's housemates. Mike brought along a stuffed animal and was dressed up in a blue shirt and jeans. Courtney then came to the door and after the two hugged, the car was off to dinner.

When asked about her first impressions of Mike, Courtney said she was too nervous to make a first impression. "My roommates were really excited, but I was so nervous."

Mike, on the other hand, was not very nervous and definitely had a first impression of Courtney. "Wow, wow. She had very pretty eyes. It was kind of funny because she was in the dark when she came down the stairs – wow!"

Courtney seemed very touched by the stuffed dalmatian that Mike brought her, but admitted she initially thought The Gazette had given it to Mike to give to her. "I thought it was really nice," she said. "I think it's really nice that he didn't pick one that said 'I love you'."

Mike had wanted to bring Courtney something on the date but didn't want to seem too forward. "Every Valentine shop had stuff that all said 'I love you.' The dalmatian was the only thing that didn't. I didn't want her to think I was crazy on the first date."

Awkwardness and Entrées

Courtney and Mike arrived for dinner at Scallions Restaurant on Queen's Street for their 8 p.m. reservation.

The evening did not get off on the right foot. As they were approaching the restaurant, Courtney shockingly asked if they were going to Scallions. Unimpressed when she found out they were, she mentioned that the last time she ate there, she had a "bad experience" with a guy. Hmm...

Courtney's previous memories of the restaurant did not affect the atmosphere during dinner. Mike said Courtney even said to him, "You know, considering what happened the last time I was here, you made the night bearable." How sweet!

After their romantic dinner, accompanied by the warmth of an elegant fireplace, the two participants were separated and interviewed by the "undercover" Gazette staff who had been secretly observing their date from a nearby table.

Mike seemed thrilled with the Gazette's choice of Courtney. "It's going pretty well, she's a very attractive girl."

Courtney thought Mike was a really nice guy and said if she had met him through friends, she probably would have gone out with him.

"I was practising jokes before I got picked up because I was scared that we'd have nothing to talk about," she said. However, Mike proved to be quite a talker and they quickly warmed up to each other before the appetizers were served.

"We talked about varsity and sorority and how they usually don't get along," Mike explained. "I've never dated sorority girls before."

"We talked about our families, because family is really important to me. We both live with our mothers, so we had that in common," she said.

"There were some things that were different between us," Mike explained. "One thing was she doesn't workout and that's a big part of my life. But that's cool. She has her life and I have mine.

"There was a thing she was a little hung up on, though. She seemed to have a fixation on hotubs," Mike said. Too bad The Gazette hadn't rented a hotub that would have made it an interesting night.

Courtney added, "We talked about the interview and what types of things we said. Actually we have tons to talk about."

"There was no shortage of conversation. No topic was taboo," Mike agreed. That being said, there was one topic which had not been broached. "Sex," Mike said. "It's kind of been simmering all night, but I'll let her bring it up."

Speaking of sex, what did Mike have in his wallet? "What's in my wallet? That's for me to know and her to find out."

Conversation was so good in fact, Courtney wasn't too happy about having to leave the restaurant to play pool. "To be totally honest, I'd rather keep sitting here and continue talking. Neither of us really enjoys pool anyways."

But off the two went, leaving Scallions Restaurant and driving to a nearby billiard lounge.

Randy Quan/Gazette

The Hustler and the pool table

After leaving Scallions, they drove to the Bacchus Lounge and QII just off Richmond Street at 10:30 p.m.. Courtney was not too sure about going into the lounge/pool hall. "Is this place safe?" she asked, explaining she rarely attempts to go downtown past Garlic's restaurant.

But it wasn't too long before she got into a competitive game of pool with Mike and got over her fears. Actually, they enjoyed playing pool so much they played twice. For those of you keeping score, they tied.

"It was fun and we were really competitive," Mike said. "She cheated because she had a snooker table when she was young and she hustled me!"

By the time they were ready to leave the pool hall, they seemed to know each other a little better, and had more information to reveal during the interviews.

"We're getting to know each other better and we're asking more personal questions," Mike said.

When asked to talk about Mike's personality, Courtney emphasized his open attitude. An example of this was when Mike told her that as a "typical runner" he shaves both his arms and legs. Maybe more??? "Too much information," Courtney replied.

Pointing out his sleek arms, he asked Courtney if she noticed. Slightly offended when she admitted that she did not, Mike replied, "Most girls notice."

Even though Mike didn't know any other sorority girls, compared to the stereotypes, he said she was definitely nicer than he would have thought. "She pleasantly surprised me."

"The typical girl I date is pretty open and Courtney fits into that," Mike said with a smile.

"He's very self-confident," she said, adding that's why she thought he was willing to tell all. Being pretty quick-witted herself, Courtney mentioned that she "liked the challenge" of his cockiness, and even found it a turn-on. "The more time I spend with him, the more attractive he gets. Self-confidence in a guy is good."

Courtney later admitted that while they were playing pool she thought, " I wonder if I would kiss this guy."

Mike and Courtney left the Bacchus Lounge to go to Plantation Coffee and Tea Co. for a night cap. "We're getting more flirty as the night goes on," Courtney said.

So just how far would the night go?

Flirting over milkshakes

The seemingly happy couple arrived at Plantation Coffee and Tea Co. at 12:15 a.m.. The conversation looked serious AND FAST – do these people breathe?

It definitely looked like they warmed up to each other. "She was a really nice girl with a lot of the same qualities I have. We hit it off; you could just kind of tell," Mike said.

Warming up may have been an understatement. Courtney said there was more than just plain talking going on. "We were flirting, but on the lowest end of the scale."

Gum anyone? At this point, Courtney had to tell The Gazette what was bothering her. "At dinner he put his gum on his bread plate," she said. "At Bacchus (pool hall), he was making a shot at pool and bent over to pick something up and put it in the ashtray. I didn't tell him that I noticed, but it was his gum that fell out of his mouth. At Plantation, he put his gum on an empty sugar packet in the middle of the table. I just don't want to see your gum! It drove me nuts," she exclaimed.

Other than that, Courtney seemed really happy with Mike. "He's definitely good looking. He's got a nice bum. I like guys with blonde hair; into being muscular and working out. I don't want muscle for myself, but I like [men] to have it, and chiseled features."

"I noticed his cologne right away. It wasn't a turn-on, just a little added bonus," Courtney continued. Mike seemed to be the perfect gentleman by listening to everything Courtney had to say. "He seemed like he was really listening, but almost like it was to his advantage."

His Machiavellian scheming during conversation aside, Mike admits he isn't the shy type. He does whatever comes naturally. "I don't get embarrassed about much. [I] let people think what they want to think."

He told The Gazette that he and Courtney talked about sex during this time, including their past sexual history. "Sexual innuendoes always come up," he said.

Mike also told Courtney that he would warn his friends not to pick her up at a bar. Sounds like such a sweet guy, a quality which Mike himself confirmed. "I'm a nice enough guy. I'm not one to come across as a jerk."

But Mike is no boyscout, Courtney said. He told her he has a half-naked photo of himself on a Web site. He got a tattoo of Marvin the Martian on his shoulder when he was 14, after telling the tatooist he was 18. "That's definitely not a boyscout," she concluded.

Mike admitted he has a bit of a wild side. "I'll do anything," he said, "I'll go to Jim Bob's and win the Mr. Body contest." When asked if he was nervous during the encounter, Mike said, "If I was worried, I wouldn't have gone on the date."

All good things must come to an end, and it was time to leave. Mike and Courtney left Plantation Coffee and Tea Co. to go their separate ways. But will there be a next installment?

The big good-bye

As the Plantation Coffee and Tea Co. was the end of the date, at least for prying Gazette eyes, Mike and Courtney left Plantation around 2:30 a.m. for the drive home. Now, two questions remain burning in everyone's mind. Would there be a kiss goodnight? And would there be a second date?

The first stop was Courtney's place, where Mike walked her to the door. The two hugged and Courtney went inside. Sadly, no kiss goodnight.

Courtney said she did not want to kiss in front of The Gazette's cameraman. "I told him in the car ride back that if he tried to kiss me, I'd slug him."

Mike was OK with that, and he too admitted things were a little awkward with the camera around. "But it was a nice hug."

And was there a second date planned? Both were not against that idea. "I don't see why not," Courtney offered. "But I wouldn't initiate it."

Courtney said she does not usually give her phone number out, but she did say to Mike, "If you gave me yours, I wouldn't not take it."

So Mike gave her his number, but did not write it down. Courtney said she did not remember the number, but told Mike that she would find him later on at Lucy's (a popular kinesiology student hangout on campus).

Mike said he definitely would like a second date – one without the camera and The Gazette's army of reporters. "I'm sure it'll be in the works."

Overall, Operation: Blind Date went pretty smoothly. Mike thought Courtney and him were very compatible. "It seemed we got along very well. I was paying close attention to everything she did and said."

"We had fun," Courtney agreed. "It might have been more natural without The Gazette, but it did work out for the best."

Coming into the date, Mike said he tried not to think of the type of girl The Gazette would pick for him. "Expectations lead to disappointment."

Courtney agreed and said she did not try to think of the guy with whom she would be paired. "I didn't want to expect [a certain type of guy] because expectations are either too high or too low. It's better not to think beforehand."

Well, it seems Courtney and Mike tend to think alike in many ways. They do seem well-suited for each other. Both thought Operation: Blind Date was a great idea. Maybe The Gazette should get out of the newspaper business and start their own match making service. Or...maybe not.

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