Double date, Duke style

Editor’s Note: Two weeks prior to these stories, The Duke ran an ad entitled “Win a date with a Duke staffer” in honor of Valentine’s Day. The most creative submissions would win a date with Asst. A&E Editor Sam Fatula and Sports Editor Addison Smith.

No responses turns out to be the best option 

By: Sam Fatula | Asst. A&E Editor

Features - Date 1
Submitted Photo – The double date group on their date at TGI Fridays. (Left) Claire, Sam’s date (Left center) Asst. A&E Editor Sam Fatula (Center right) Zach, Addie’s date (Right) Sports Editor Addison Smith.

I was unlucky and did not get a response from The Duke ad. So I was forced to come up with a better solution.

Luckily, Addison set me with one of her friends who I did not know beforehand. I had never been on a blind date before, so I was not exactly sure what to expect. Ultimately, my hopes were to meet someone new, enjoy a nice dinner and pray that I would not make a complete fool of myself.

Mission accomplished, (or at least I thought so).

Upon first meeting my date Claire, I wasn’t exactly sure what to say beyond introducing myself. Perhaps this was in part of me not thinking of conversation starters ahead of time, or due to the fact that I was hungry. Additionally, Addison had pointed out that I had something stuck in my front teeth. Clearly, I was not making a great first impression.

Fortunately, we made our way to TGI Fridays quickly after I had gone silent. The brief walk made for a good time to get all of the basic questions out of the way like, “What is your major? Where are you from, etc.” Before I knew it, we had arrived.

Being the gentleman that I am, I pulled the chair out for my date before we were seated. At least I was doing something right. From there, we began to place an order for an appetizer. After minutes of arguing on what to get, the group came to a consensus to get a small plate of wings, pretzels and pot stickers.

While trying to be polite on how to distribute the food equally between myself and the rest of the party, I got a little caught up with how good the food tasted, particularly the wings. Not only had I eaten well over half the wings that were given to us, but at one point I definitely had buffalo sauce all over my face. I could feel my luck beginning to run out.

By a sheer miracle, the date began to get progressively better. Claire said that she was a huge baseball fan, and consistently attends Cleveland Indians games. Being able to discuss something sports-related eased any tension that there was between us, and made the overall date more relaxed and enjoyable.

Transitioning from sports, we also dug deeper into our future aspirations. Claire, a nursing major, discussed wanting to be a life flight nurse. Saving lives is inspirational alone, but doing it in a helicopter really grabbed my interest.

Nearing the end of the date, I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed my first blind date experience. Though I was reluctant to follow through with my promise to go on a date, I ended up being pleasantly surprised and happy to have made a new friend in the process.

Duke date doesn’t go as planned

By: Addison Smith | Sports Editor

Features - Date 2
Sam Fatula / The Duquesne Duke -Zach (left) and Addison (right) walk on their way to their double date at TGI Fridays.

When Sam Fatula and I put ourselves out there for Valentine’s Day through an advertisement in The Duke, we didn’t actually think we would have people who wanted to go out with us. Then, one fateful day at the water fountain on the first floor of College Hall, a boy named Zach came up to me and told me he was interested in applying.

I had nothing to do on Valentine’s Day, so I encouraged it, which is what led to my Feb. 13 date at TGI Fridays. Zach was going out of town on Valentine’s Day so we had to plan for Thursday.

Before this tale moves on, I have to give context to the date situation. Sam and I were meant to go on a double date, but he had no applicants. So last Tuesday night I asked around to get one of my sorority sisters to volunteer in the sake of journalism (and possibly love?).

Now back to the date. We agreed to meet at 4:30 p.m. in the newsroom and walk down to Fridays together. Zach was coming from class so he was a bit late (never a good first impression to be late), so Sam, Claire and I were discussing possible outcomes. Maybe he was standing me up, maybe he had forgotten, but then he walked in about five minutes late and we just shook it off.

The walk to Fridays was uneventful. I made the rookie mistake of wearing flats so my shoes were absolutely soaked by the time we got in. We were sat at a high-top table and began pouring over the menu, making small talk. Zach was really interested in all aspects of The Duke (at least we have one reader) so he kept on peppering Sam and I with questions about production, writing, etc. Then, when he was told our date was going to be publicized in an article, he had a fan boy moment. Anyone who loves The Duke that much already is an awesome person in my eyes.

Zach is a nice guy who can keep the conversation flowing and didn’t want any awkward moments throughout it.

Mainly, Zach was interested in me because we could talk about sports, so it was nice and convenient that we were at Fridays where the Olympics were plastered on the big screens. We discussed who we thought was going to win the gold medal in men’s hockey (for me it’s a tie between Sweden and the United States, for him Canada and the US).

We discussed sports, our majors and our career aspirations. As Zach is a pharmacy major, we can all assume what he wants to do with his life.

Zach ordered a burger, but it came without a top bun as it had been dropped on the floor. We joked about how long it was taking for a new bun to come over. His concern? That it may not be toasted. Don’t worry people, when it came five minutes later it was.
We ordered our food, ate in comfortable silence, then it was time for Zach to leave because he had class. Before anyone gets mad at me for making my date walk back to campus by himself, just keep in mind that my credit card was being used to pay the check.

So, we shared a hug (I thought we were going in for the handshake, but I was wrong) and Zach was on his way, ending our (day before) Valentine’s Day date.

All in all, it was a date. We talked, we laughed, we were awkward. Typical first date stuff. Will there be a part two? That remains to be seen.