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Dinner With Cupid

Higher ed

Can these clever daters find common ground beyond their postgrad studies?

Thomas Chappell and Jennifer “Jen” Haugh.

Thomas Chappell and Jennifer “Jen” Haugh.

JENNIFER “JEN” HAUGH

39 / GRADUATE STUDENT

HER “TYPE”

I prefer dating thinkers, people interested in exploring the questions of the world.

SHE’S HAPPIEST WHEN

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Hosting a small gathering where I get to cook

THOMAS CHAPPELL

42 / COMPUTER ENGINEER

HIS “TYPE”

No one with strong religious beliefs. She doesn’t have to have a grad degree but better be smart.

HE’S HAPPIEST WHEN

Socializing with friends

7:30 P.M. TRATTORIA PULCINELLA, CAMBRIDGE

> FRONT-ROW SEATS

THOMAS First dates . . . no longer faze me, [but] this was the first time I’ve ever had a truly blind date.

JEN My biggest worries were: “What if he has a mullet? Or a ponytail? What if he has BOTH?”

THOMAS Jennifer had beat me by arriving early.

JEN I was a little early, which is a miracle for anyone who knows me.

THOMAS [I saw] no hostess . . . only one person, sitting alone — a pretty woman.

JEN Other patrons were people-watching as I walked through the dining room, so I started to wonder whether any of them were “plants,” [there] to evaluate me secretly.

THOMAS Her smile was welcoming, and we engaged in a few minutes of small talk . . . before getting around to ordering drinks.

> RESEARCH

JEN We gave a rundown of our school, work, and location histories.

THOMAS I especially appreciated her drive and goals as reflected by her choices in life.

JEN He has three advanced degrees, including a PhD, all in various sub-specialties of electrical engineering.

THOMAS We delved into a tasty mixed-plate antipasto dish.

JEN I ordered a glass of pinot grigio after I discovered Thomas eschews alcohol too early in the evening.

THOMAS I realized that we’d shared only basic facts . . . and left out concepts of hobbies and personalities.

JEN He is a self-described extrovert.

THOMAS The conversation never really lulled, and I recognized and enjoyed Jen’s good communication skills. . . . In all the ways in which we disagreed, we did so cordially.

JEN He discussed how specific he was in his application, describing the sorts of people he tends to get along with, and then expressed skepticism that the Globe staff had really taken a look at what he’d written.

THOMAS I felt that we were neither direct opposites nor a great match.

JEN Thomas and I [have in common that we] are both upright carbon-based hominids.

> COMMENCEMENT

JEN I was anxious to go. We shook hands.

THOMAS We were both heading back to Harvard Square on foot. Jen agreed when I asked if I could walk with her.

JEN He asked whether I’d like to exchange more information. I was honest and said no.

> SECOND DATE?

JEN No.

THOMAS I could easily see myself recommending her to a friend whom I thought might be a good match.  — Compiled by Stephanie Hiltz

> POST-MORTEM

JEN B-

THOMAS [DECLINED TO GRADE]

GO ON A BLIND DATE. WE’LL PICK UP THE TAB. Fill out an application at boston.com/cupid.

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