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Friends with Benefits

Strangers in the night...that's the plan anyway

By David Perloff
Photos by Brevin Blach
(Published in the January 2011 issue)

During the day, Jessica promotes nightlife. She’s a publicist for a prominent local public relations firm and focuses her energy on servicing the company’s hospitality accounts. For work and pleasure, she’s always on the scene. She grew up in San Diego and seems to know everybody in town.

Finding a guy Jessica doesn’t know is a tall order, but tonight’s date is meant to be a blind one. Failure is not an option.

J.R. is a mechanical engineer from Mission Viejo, California. He moved to San Diego less than a year ago and isn’t friends with Jessica on Facebook (a PacificSD blind date prerequisite), so it feels like a safe bet that they haven’t met before.

As we speak, J.R. is riding in style in a mega-stretch N Style limousine. He’s being chauffeured from his downtown apartment to Jessica’s place in Pacific Beach. Before the vehicle exits The Five at Grand/Garnet, let’s review the pre-date interviews.

PacificSD: What do you do for a living?
JESSICA: I’m a publicist at J Public Relations, a hospitality and luxury-lifestyle public relations firm based here in San Diego. We represent restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, et cetera, all over the world. Love my job!
J.R.: I am an engineer.

What do you do for fun?
JESSICA: Just about anything social. I love going out downtown, grabbing dinner with friends, going to Padres games, going up to LA—whatever I feel like at the moment.
J.R.: Anything to do with the beach—Jet Ski, volleyball, boating, fishing, et cetera.

What makes you a good catch?
JESSICA: I’m smart, funny, have a great job, am down to earth and just like to have fun no matter what I’m doing or where I’m at.
J.R.: I’ve had my fair share of practice in relationships, so my relationship commonsense is on point.

What are you looking for in a date, physically and in terms of personality?
JESSICA: I like the standard—tall, dark, handsome, athletic—but personality is definitely important. No douche bags, please. I don’t care how hot you are.
J.R.: I like a girl that has a good balance, physically, mentally and spiritually. Bubbly personality helps, too.

Fill in the blanks: In general, the people I date are “blank” and “blank.”
JESSICA: Outgoing and funny.
J.R.: Social butterflies and electric personalities.

How and why did your last relationship end?
JESSICA: We were just in two different places in our lives.
J.R.: Restraining order.

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
JESSICA: Not taking myself too seriously—definitely not afraid to laugh and have fun with things. Life’s too short to be uptight.
J.R.: My drive.

What’s your biggest fear?
JESSICA: Bad first dates. Oh, and heights.
J.R.: Hot air balloons.

What animal are you most like and how?
JESSICA: A polar bear—I’m cute and fluffy, but don’t f#ck with me.
J.R.: A dolphin. Don’t all girls like dolphins?

After the limousine pops over to PB to collect Jessica, the daters pop a bottle of champagne for the ride north to dinner at Flavor Del Mar. As they step out of the limo in front of Del Mar Plaza, Jessica and J.R. flicker amid flashes from PacificSD’s paparazzo. There isn’t enough space in the magazine to print 100 photos of the couple disembarking their chariot, but it’s a blast to watch passers-by stop, whisper and point, expecting to spot someone famous. Works every time.

THANK YOU!!!: N Style Limousine, 619.866.1616, nstylelimos.com

It’s Friday night, and Flavor Del Mar is packed. In the main bar/lounge area, after-work stock broker types in loosened ties are rubbing elbows with dudes in flannels and dudettes in high-boots and short-shorts. Despite their differences in appearance, however, the factions are comingling well (and you just know that suits and scenesters alike will all end up across the street at Jimmy O’s later this evening—it’s not just Del Mar’s finest night spot, it’s also the only one).

A smiling hostess escorts the daters across a small footbridge to a private table by the fireplace in the main dining room. They order dinner, drinks and dessert, chatting and smiling the entire time. From the magazine crew’s vantage point, the couple seems to be hitting it off.

After about an hour and a half at Flavor, Jessica and J.R. head back to the limo for the quick ride inland to Club M, the new restaurant, nightclub and sports bar at the luxurious and regal five-star Grand Del Mar resort.

Before they go inside to enjoy exclusive bottle service by the dance floor. they’re split for mid-date debriefings.

PacificSD: How’s it going so far?
JESSICA: He’s really sweet. He’s fun. We get along really well.
J.R.: It’s going really well. I think that she’s a really cute girl and she’s got a great personality, which goes a long way with me.

How was dinner at Flavor?
JESSICA: I had the scallops and he had the short ribs. Everything was amazing, I’m a huge fan of the chef there.
J.R.: Flavor was awesome. I had the short ribs, which were amazing. It was prepared a little different than what I’m used to, unbelievable. She had the scallops, which were really good, too.

What was your first impression of your date?
JESSICA: I have a confession I have to make—J.R. and I actually know each other. He’s kind of casually dating one of my best friends.
J.R.: Let’s just say I was shocked, because we knew each other.

Is this the type of person that you would normally date?
JESSICA: Yeah, he’s cool, he’s sweet, he’s outgoing and fun—and just, like, down-to-earth. We get along really well.
J.R.: She’s great; she’s everything that I look for.

What’s the least attractive thing your date has done so far?
JESSICA: Nothing.
J.R.: I guess the least attractive thing is that I went out with her best friend.

What would your parents say if you brought your date home?
JESSICA: I think they would approve. He’s like a generally nice guy.
J.R.: Oh, they would love her. I come from a big family—I have seven brothers and sisters—and she’s kind of got like a little spunky personality, which goes a long way with my family.

Rate your date’s looks on a scale from one to 10.
JESSICA: I would say probably like an eight.
J.R.: She’s a 10.

How about for personality?
JESSICA: Like a nine or a 10. He’s funny.
J.R.: Ten.

Does your date want to kiss you right now?
JESSICA: No.
J.R.: Yes.

Do you want to kiss your date right now?
JESSICA: No
J.R.: Yes

Out of 49 PacificSD blind dates, this is the first time (we know of) that a dater was already dating the other dater’s best friend. Here at America’s Finest magazine, while we certainly wouldn’t want to break up BFFs—with Jessica giving J.R. an eight and a 10, and J.R. being ready to give and/or receive a kiss—at least we can cross our fingers and hope for melodrama.

After the mid-date interviews, Jessica and J.R. head into Club M for drinks and dancing. Inside, the crowd is a little older than what you’d find on Garnet Avenue or in the Gaslamp, but the energy level is high, and the dance floor is hopping.

THANK YOU!!!:Flavor Del Mar, 858.755.3663, flavordelmar.com

Sitting at their private table by the fireplace at Club M, Jessica and J.R. pour drinks from their complimentary bottle of Grey Goose vodka.

They talk and laugh together briefly, then step into the action to shake their respective groove thangs—first with each other, then with other Club M patrons.

Once the daters have boogied all the way over to the side of the room, the magazine crew (minus the designated driver) drains a few fingers (each) of the Grey Goose bottle (it’d be a shame to waste it) and begins to pack up.

Then, like so many Frenchmen, we vanish into the night without a word, finally leaving the daters alone to enjoy the rest of their evening in privacy.

The next morning, we call to see what we missed.

PacificSD: Overall, how was the big night?
JESSICA: It was fun. To be honest, part of me was super-relieved that I knew J.R., so we were able to just relax and have fun—even though that kind of defeats the purpose of a blind date.

J.R.: The overall date was great. Dinner was great, and drinks at club M in Del Mar was a blast. You go on a date with me, and it’s kind of hard not to have a good time.

How was Club M?
JESSICA: Club M was a trip. I don’t venture into North County too often, and it definitely upheld its “Cougar Den” reputation. We drank a couple of vodka-cranberries, then decided to socialize, make new friends and have a good laugh.
J.R.: Had some Jäger bombs and vodka and danced with Jessica a while. Then we quickly realized the cougars at this place is where it’s at. They couldn’t keep their hands off of us.

Describe the limo experience.
JESSICA: Limos are always fun. We drank champagne, laughed about what a small world San Diego is, blasted the radio. You know, the usual.
J.R.: Well, this limo wasn’t as big as mine, but it worked for the occasion. Put a little Jay Z on—big pimpin’, baby! I had her at “hello.”

What was the best part of the date?
JESSICA: Dinner at Flavor Del Mar for sure.
J.R.: Cougar hunting at Club M.

What happened after the magazine crew left?
JESSICA: We finished the rest of our drinks, hopped in the limo and went down to Fluxx to meet up with some friends.
J.R.: We decided to head over to Fluxx nightclub, or should I say, “The best place on earth.” Disney has nothing on Fluxx! We did a little Spanish Lambada on the dance floor until our clothes came off. Oh, wait, was that at the end of the night? I don’t remember.

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but somehow J.R. managed to get hooked up with two of them that were already best friends. Perhaps the “relationship commonsense” he spoke of earlier is really something more akin to ESP.

When asked if J.R. were the kind of person she’d date, Jessica said, “Yeah, he’s cool, he’s sweet, he’s outgoing and fun.”

She said she didn’t want to kiss him, though, which means she’s a best friend that comes with benefits—in this case, loyalty.

Not counting any real or imagined pantsless Lambada at Fluxx, for J.R., it seems that Jessica is a friend without benefits. But don’t shed a tear for our young engineer. He’s probably chin-deep in cougars by now. Rawrrrrrrrr!

THANK YOU!!!:
Club M (at the Grand Del Mar)
5300 Grand Del Mar Court,
San Diego, 858.314.2700,
thegranddelmar.com/club-m

N Style Limousine
619.866.1616

nstylelimos.com

Flavor Del Mar
1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar,
858.755.3663,
flavordelmar.com

See more photos here

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