The Gazette Matchmaking Game

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mike and Allison

Gazette tradition, members of the Western community have the chance to go on a blind date with an often begrudging, and sometimes excited, Gazette editor. This year, we had the privilege of selecting the lucky single Gazetter. We chose seasoned News Editor Mike Hayes since, having known him for a few years, we decided it was about time we took charge of his love life. Thanks to recommendations through a Facebook group, we found spunky fourth-year psychology student Allison Bowen for his date. The pair was treated to Disney on Ice at the John Labatt Centre, followed by dinner at Maggie’s Supper & Jazz Club. Keep reading to see if their night of romance and cartoon character figure skating was a success.
â€" Lauren Pelley & Jaela Bernstien

I have to say it was hard to sit down and attempt to write this column. Tradition at the paper dictates each year one of The Gazette editors will go on a blind date and write about the experience.

However â€" much to the chagrin of my co-editors who sent me on the date â€" I like holding onto the private details of my life as much as possible, so I will not be writing about the experience itself. After all, they sent me to Disney on Ice, so I feel fully entitled to tackle this column in any way I damn well please.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. After all, I don’t normally go on dates, and based on the two years I spent working at a bar, it seems I’m not alone. The prevalence of the hookup culture in the modern world is undeniable, with university-aged students embracing it whole-heartedly.

Now, I wouldn’t want to speak ill of the hookup culture. It certainly serves its purpose and is unapologetic about what it’s about. But I do think there is a case to be made for the resurgence of the traditional date. After all, the hookup is, for all intents and purposes, inherently selfish, while a date is supposed to be about making time for someone else.

But even if someone really does want to date, generally “dinner and a movie” becomes the standard, which tends to get a little boring after a while. Everyone is, to a degree, guilty of this â€" myself included. Getting comfortable with the norm just leads to apathy â€" and who wants that?

Ideally, a date should be a special occasion. Outside of a relationship it should be something fun enough that even if there isn’t much of a spark, both can still have a good time. Inside of a relationship, a date should show how much you know about the other person.

I realize it would be overly pessimistic to say the days of true romance are over. But as the world moves faster and faster we run the risk of losing out on the interpersonal relationships that make us human.

While it’s convenient to pick up a random and forget about them just as quickly, learning what makes someone else tick is often the more rewarding experience and could also teach you something about yourself in the process.

So when you’re planning Valentine’s Day celebrations, try to put something together beyond dinner and watching a forgettable, overpriced movie.

Put something together for your crush that says something about them or at least something you’ll both enjoy. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Gazette Q&A: Mike Hayes

G: How did you prepare for the blind date?
M: Well, you guys told me what to wear. I have a fairly healthy wardrobe of nice clothes, but it wasn’t something I was thinking about. I try not to get worked up about stuff I have limited control over.

G: What was your first impression of Allison?
M: I recognized her from The Wave; she works Rick nights. She was obviously someone polite, intelligent and pretty. I felt she was entering the experience along the same lines as me â€" that it was something new to try, not a chore.

G: So how were your conversations?
M: It’s hard to talk during Disney on Ice. But outside of that, on a first date you have a broad range of things to talk about.

G: Did you enjoy your outings?
M: As entertaining as it is to be surrounded by screaming children for 90 minutes, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maggie’s is quite nice â€" they’ve got a nice wine list.

G: Were there any funny moments during the date?
M: There was a group of three kids behind us at Disney on Ice who were really into the show. One of them screamed “I love you Ariel” at the end and there was one kid whose eyes were the size of dinner plates.

Gazette Q&A: Allison Bowen

G: Why did you agree to go on a blind date?
A: When was I ever going to get the chance to do this again? The girl who approached me about going knew I was the sort of person who would do it.

G: How did you pick out your outfit?
A: It’s always a group decision with girls. My roommate told me what to wear.

G: What was your first impression of Mike?
A: He was dressed really classy. He seemed nice, but a little quiet at first.

G: How did you enjoy the date’s events?
A: [Disney on Ice] was phenomenal ... it was like my dream come true. And I loved the music at Maggie’s.

G: Mike had less favourable words about the Disney show.
A: I kind of felt bad for him because we went to Disney on Ice, but I was in love with the fact that we did. I couldn’t have asked for a better event.

G: What were your feelings about the date as a whole?
A: I thought [the conversation] went really well. There were no awkward silences. I made a really good new friend â€" I think it went well overall.

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