Date No. 1.
Ben and Ellen both had the same first thought when they saw each other at Penny’s Coffee in downtown Minneapolis: It’s someone they didn’t know. (Actually Ben’s first thought was: “I wonder if that’s Ellen?”, but that’s not the point.)
“It feels like everyone I know is kind of in the dating pool,” said Ben.
Ellen didn’t grow up in the Twin Cities Jewish community – or any other, for that matter – she converted to Judaism four years ago.”That was one big challenge, I guess,” she said. “As an adult it’s harder to get involved in some of the various groups in the Jewish community because it was already established. I’m not good with online dating and I don’t think it works very well. Minnesota is known for being a little cliquey.” (Editor’s note: We agreed in this instance to only use their first names for professional reasons).
As for letting us play matchmaker, both thought it was a good, if slightly out-of-the-box, idea.
Said Ben: “This seemed like a fun and whimsical way to possibly meet someone new.”
Said Ellen: “I figured what the hell. It sounded interesting and fun and outside of the comfort zone.”
Ben is a 32-year-old St. Paul native living in Minneapolis, while Ellen is a 33-year-old western suburbanite who’s back in the Twin Cities after grad school and living in Florida. So here are two people who had never done anything like this before – which is OK, because we hadn’t either – and the results were pretty solid. Both said that the date was fun. Both liked the conversation. Ben called it “an enjoyable experience.” Ellen said “it didn’t feel pressured.”
Both said they look for someone fun in a prospective dating partner. Ben thinks he’s a little too serious and would like someone who can bring out a goofy side. Ellen wants to date someone who is comfortable in their own skin and knows what they want to do with their lives.
The Verdict: An actual first date is in the cards.
“I think we’re going to try and set ourselves up on a real date. Not that this wasn’t a real date,” said Ben, whose theory is that the blind date first date match up doesn’t count. “We should go on one more date to have an opportunity to get to know one another without the anxiety of the blind date. The second date is really the first date.”
Ellen is on board.
“I’m hoping so, just to get together again and to continue to get to know each other,” she said. “I love that you guys are doing it. I think it’s genius.”