BRENDAN McGUIRK: 34 / copywriter / journalist
First thing people notice in his home: Thor and Kanye West paraphernalia
What makes him a catch: He’s a solid conversationalist and an irredeemable romantic
CAROLINE TANSKI: 30 / library assistant
When she is happiest: At the top of a mountain with a book
What makes her a catch: Her dry wit, intelligence, and unwavering loyalty
7 P.M. CENTRAL KITCHEN, CAMBRIDGE
AT FIRST GLANCE
Brendan I leaned into my usual pre-date grooming habits. A blind date is such a classic rom-com setup that I was hopeful we’d start writing a cute love story together.
Caroline I brushed my hair and threw on mascara.
Brendan I thought, pretty face and nice build, but her style and energy seemed distant from my own.
Caroline Cute. He had dark hair and glasses, which gave him a Clark Kent air.
THINKING OUT LOUD
Brendan It was obvious I was the extrovert, so I started playing that part. We were doing our best to pretend this was a normal way to meet, but I can’t imagine either of us felt that way.
Caroline Brendan had a good sense of humor. Things felt comfortable right away, which surprised me. We’re both writers, both very analytical, and have strong opinions. We talked about things that you’re cautioned to avoid when you first meet someone: the 2016 election, the apology cycle of people exposed for sexual harassment. I’d call it a spirited and respectful discussion.
Brendan I am too much of a loudmouth for things not to turn to politics. It was a pretty expansive and enjoyable conversation. I learned she was into Buffy, was from Maine, and liked the quiet life. And her sense of humor was solid.
Caroline He goes to karaoke regularly, and we spent a long time discussing what makes a great performer versus a competent singer.
Brendan She got why it was such a dopamine hit for attention lovers.
Caroline We started with cocktails and a cheese plate, then both ordered pork loin.
Brendan A friend pointed out that the instinct not to order the same thing, as if it indicated a lack of creativity (instead of good taste), is a false choice and mental trap.
Caroline I opened up more than I usually do with someone I’ve just met.
REVERSAL OF OPINION
Brendan I kept approaching issues I knew to be delicate. And at every turn, Caroline was totally game. So I dug that. There was a distinct moment where I looked at her again with fresh eyes and thought maybe I’d been wrong all along.
Caroline We’d been at the restaurant three hours. I paid, we hugged goodbye and exchanged numbers. It was cold, so we didn’t linger.
Brendan Yeah. I’d like to.
Caroline I think we might.
Brendan / B
Caroline / A