On Adventures in Dating, we’ve been lucky enough to have a few readers share their last first date. You know, their first dates with their person that they would end up marrying. We had Christa share her story, as well as her husband Brad, who wrote his own account of the very same date. Adventures in Dating has also had Emma write about her first date with her husband. I love reading these posts because they let us in to the start of what would become beautiful marriages. So that is why today I am sharing my first date with my husband Mark and Mark is doing the same. You will get both perspectives of the same date, in one post.
I had gone out on a first date the night before Mark and I were supposed to go on ours. We had actually had a date set up for the week before, but I can come down with a cold and had to reschedule at the last minute. It was 11:00pm the night before our first date. I was riding home on the TTC, a little inebriated (which was a theme for most of my first dates), wondering if I would even hear from Mark to confirm our date for the next night. Just before I decided to give up on him, a message came through on Plenty of Fish confirming our date.
The next day at work I was really not in the mood to go on the date. I spoke to my trusty dating guru Catherine and she was the one who urged me to go on the date (if nothing more, but for the free meal). I agreed since Mark had suggested we meet at Earl’s, a restaurant near both of our offices that was rumoured to have lobster mac and cheese.
I always changed out my business wear after work so I was more comfortable on dates. I changed into some black leggings, a white tunic and beige sweater and off I went. As I approached Earl’s I saw a very tall, blonde guy wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. I knew right away it was Mark. I didn’t want to yell out to him, so I awkwardly walked slowly about three feet behind him until we both got stopped by the traffic at the door of the restaurant.
Initially I could tell Mark was different from the other guys I had previously gone on first dates with. He gave me a hug right upon meeting me, which I thought was really sweet and broke the ice.
Upon entering the busy restaurant, I wasn’t worried because I had assumed Mark had made a reservation. It’s Toronto’s financial district. He would know how busy it is down there and how quickly restaurants fill up. Nope, no reservation. He suggested we walk down King Street until we found somewhere to grab a drink. Somehow he ended up a little bit ahead of me and I secretly (and quickly) texted Catherine telling her how I thought Mark was an amateur for not knowing to make a reservations (In my defense, I was quite jaded from many failed first dates).
As we kept walking, it seemed there was no where to go for a drink that wasn’t packed. Finally we stumbled on a place called Quotes. At that point, I was tired of walking and just wanted to start the date. We walked in to a sea of grey hair. I wanted to laugh since it seemed we found the only senior’s bar in the whole city!
What I learned on this date was that location does not matter. In fact, it was kind of nice because around 7:30pm all the seniors cleared out to go home and we basically had the place to ourselves. We ordered beers and talked for what seemed like hours. There was never a lull in the conversation. We laughed. We bonded over Lost and our love of similar bands. Eventually it started getting late so we parted ways.
I walked home with a smile on my face at how well the date had gone. Granted, I never told anyone aside from Catherine, that the date took place at Quotes, but overall it was great.
Then, radio silence. No text, no call, no nothing from Mark. I started to question myself. Was I on the same date? Was I getting cocky thinking it went well when clearly it didn’t since he never contacted me again?
Assuming I blew the date and that Mark was not interested in me, I had gone ahead and set up a date with someone else for that weekend. However, finally on Friday night I got a call around 5:30 PM from Mark asking if I want to go out with him on Saturday night. I quickly said yes and ended up cancelling the other date right after getting off the phone with Mark.
Our first date wasn’t anything out of the ordinary and I had no way of knowing that the night I sat in that crappy little bar I was sitting across from my future husband. It seemed like Mark was just going to be another guy on my spreadsheet. I mean, our date almost didn’t even happen and then when it did I thought he wasn’t interested in me. Life is full of surprises. Since that first date we fell in love, moved cities, bought a house and a dog and most recently got married. The only thing he still hasn’t done? Take me to Earl’s for that mac and cheese.
It was January 2012, and I vowed that I was going to start the year off by getting back into the dating scene. Having moved from Ottawa to Toronto the previous year, I had taken the majority of the year to focus on my new job, two new rentals and getting to know the big city of Toronto. With a newfound determination, I created my first online dating profile and was optimistic on what dates would emerge. I remember putting enough information on my profile to give the reader an idea of what I was like, but not too much so to leave enough for date conversation. I chose a good photo for my profile picture from a recent trip to Italy, and there you had it… a profile that would result in many future dates.
Perhaps it was a lack of content, or maybe it was the lack of pictures, but I ended up receiving only three messages. I took right away with one of them. Based on her profile description, I gathered that she worked downtown in the legal profession (employment is always good!). She watched LOST (one of my favourite shows!). And she looked very cute from her pictures (hopefully she is real!).
I replied to her message, and we ended up exchanging several messages. Finally, I asked if she wanted to go out on a date after work, seeing as we worked so close to each other in the financial district of Toronto. She said that she wasn’t feeling well, and that we should try for next week.
The next week I tried again. This time she said that she was available, so I proposed that we meet at Earl’s for drinks. Now, granted that I had been to Earl’s several times since living in Toronto, I did not realize that this was THE destination for the working professionals of the financial district on a weekday evening.
Sure enough, we both arrived at the restaurant on time, and I right away introduced myself followed by a hug. Maybe a little forward for the first date, I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful eyes, pretty smile and warm demeanor. After scouring the bar for a space for two without any luck, we decided to try something else on King St. Now thinking that this is the epicenter for the rich and powerful, you would think that there would be an abundance of nice restaurants and bars to share a drink. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We were nearing the entertainment district, still not able to narrow down a decent setting for our first date. And there she was… a wholesome restaurant and bar called Quotes. I asked Tracey, “How about this place?” She accepted the suggestion, and we entered what appeared to be seniors night (it was 5:30pm on a Wednesday evening). We were seated and placed our order. Two Stella Artois.
I recall coming back to my apartment to find my co-worker, who was in between rentals and staying with me temporarily, eating dinner on the couch. He asked how the date went, and I shared the highlights of the evening. He urged me to hold off on replying until at least Friday, in an effort to “play it cool.” I took him up on this helpful piece of dating advice.
You may judge the way the night played out. Maybe it wasn’t the most well planned. Perhaps the setting was a little lackluster. Maybe the follow-up was even a little juvenile. You may be wondering that, if given the chance, whether I could go back and change anything. That first date was followed by many others, some very good ones. She followed me to Ottawa where we started a life together. On May 24th of this year, she officially became my wife. So when asked if I would change that first date, I would confidently answer “No I would not.”
One final comment: If you’re looking to frequent the fine establishment that is Quotes, you would be out of luck. It was closed down during the Summer of 2013. I suppose that the single men of Toronto are better at planning ahead for their dates after all.