By David Perloff • Photos by Brevin Blach
As friends and lovers stroll along Sixth Avenue with their dogs and doggie bags after work, an environmentally unfriendly (though very nightlife friendly) Cadillac Escalade limousine idles at the head of Balboa Park.
Tonight, Matt and Rob will be chauffeured to a carnivalous blind date at the San Diego County Fair.
Before our fearless players meet for the first time, let's review the pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from?
MATT: I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay area, but have been living in San Diego for about three years. After graduating from UC Berkeley, I followed family down to sunny San Diego. Hillcrest has been treating me nicely ever since.
ROB: I'm originally from Riverside, aka the armpit of Southern California, but I've lived in San Diego for the past five years and am loving my new place in Normal Heights.
What do you do for a living?
MATT: I usually do marketing and PR, but for the last six months I've been a game tester at Sony Computer Entertainment, aka PlayStation , after winning a reality show competition for the job.
ROB: That depends on who's asking and who's paying. Currently, I am the creative director at Eden in Hillcrest and oversee public relations for NightlifeSD and a couple other movers and shakers in San Diego.
What makes you a good catch?
MATT: I'm a unique balance of bad boy and boy next door-and I'm incredibly thoughtful and funny. The right guy will find out that I'm both a romantic prince and a sexy devil.
ROB: I'm going places. I have a great career and I'm good at what I do. I'm passionate about everything that I pursue and I'm the kind of guy that goes above and beyond for the special people in my life. I'm cute, too.
What is your biggest fear?
MATT: Being ordinary, and that probably stems from a fear of being alone in the world. Somewhere along the line, I realized we are all somewhat alone and I became determined to make the best of that solitary life by standing out.
ROB: Failure. I have really high expectations for myself and am my biggest critic. Also, I'm terrified of heights. If you put me on a plane you better have some Xanax handy, because I'll have a Britney breakdown.
What are you looking for in a date?
MATT: I like bigger guys that look like they could break me in half, but I'm most interested in finding someone who has a similar, balanced personality.
ROB: Washboard abs. Am I allowed to say that? I'd like to date a guy who is confident but not douchie, who has a great sense of humor and is a little older than I am. Ultimately, I have a really short attention span, so you've gotta bring something interesting to the table. As far as looks, I have a weakness for all-American, boy-next-door types.
Fill in the blanks: In general, the people I date are "blank" and "blank."
MATT: Introverted and mysterious.
ROB: Goofy and in the closet.
As they arrive at their Epic Limo, Matt and Rob are smiling from ear to ear. Is it instant attraction? No...at least, that's not the reason for the grins. Turns out the daters have met before-we've been blind-sided.
Hoping a sexy Italian (imported Peroni beer) and the Green Fairy (the street name for absinthe, green drops of which are suspended in Tempest Liqueur) can help spark romance, we ply the pair with alcohol for the ride north to Del Mar.
Fry Me To The Moon
Sky-high, deep-fried with tequila on the side
As Matt and Rob disembark their chariot at the San Diego County Fair, we offer them $50 cash and tell them to do whatever their hearts desire. Without a word, Rob snags the loot, and the two bound off and out of site.
When we finally catch up, the boys are standing in line at the Mega Drop (having already braved two rides), waiting for their turn to be rocketed into the heavens by a highly trained carnie.
"We spent all the money on ride tickets," Rob says, seeming to rejoice in the rapid depletion of our blind date capital.
After some frenetic up-and-down on the Mega Drop, the guys receive another (and final!) $50 and get ready to fill up on Fair fare. They inhale Italian sandwiches on their walk over to the health-food aisle, where they firm their arteries with deep-fried Twinkies and Klondike Bars-which they wash down with tequila shots.
Before any food has a chance to make a command appearance, let's split the couple for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
MATT: It's going fine. The funny part is, I applied for a job working with Rob. I was going to try to help him with his SceneOutSD, but we really never got in touch otherwise. He's, like, really ambitious for his age. I almost see him more as competition than a love interest.
ROB: It's fun. I'm having a good time.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
MATT: I don't know. I want to start dating people who are really ambitious, but in the long run I usually end up with a little more introverted types, because I like being the star of the relationship. We'll see. I still think I'll end up back with my introverted, big, loafy, monkey men.
ROB: Um, probably not. He's funny, though. That was one of my requirements. He's a little shorter, too.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
MATT: I feel like he respects me as a person, which is nice. I feel like it's a very open dialogue.
ROB: He's funny; I think that's attractive. He makes me laugh.
What's the least attractive thing your date has done so far?
MATT: He totally just called my love for Superman "unoriginal," which I get, but I still love Superman, so that kind of left a Kryptonite taste in my mouth.
ROB: He hasn't really done anything that's been unattractive, but he does have a Superman T-shirt on. That's kind of unattractive.
Rate your date from one to 10 for looks?
MATT: Do we have to put a number on it? Nasty! I'll give him a seven. He's not as big as I like my men.
ROB: I'd give him like a seven.
How about for personality?
MATT: He's definitely at least a nine. Rob's a catch. I almost feel like I'm jealous of him in some ways, because he takes some of my good elements and improves on them.
ROB: I'd give him like an 8.3.
If you had to choose between leaving now with $100 cash or making out with your date, what would you do?
MATT: I think we're both smart enough that, even if we really liked each other, we'd both take the $100 and then go make-out behind everyone's back. I wouldn't respect him if he didn't say the same thing.
ROB: I would leave the Fair with $100.
What could make this date more fun?
MATT: A Tarot reading-we really want to see our futures, you know, because we're going to end up together.
ROB: Maybe another shot of tequila...and if a really hot, random gay guy came up to me and said, "Hey, what are you doing?
Sky-high, deep-fried with tequila on the side
As any red-blooded, American boyfriend at a county fair would do, Rob bursts a series of balloons with darts (he goes 10 for 10, what a stud) to win Matt a stuffed animal-a plush, pink unicorn.
The couple takes a swing on a terrifying, tequila-churning pirate ship, and are then finally left to carry out the the rest of their date in privacy.
We call the next morning to see what we missed.
PacificSD: Overall, how was the date?
MATT: It was so much fun. The Fair turned out to be the perfect location for our date. I loved the food, drinks and nauseating rides. Rob even won me a stuffed unicorn.
ROB: The date was a lot of fun. We had a blast on the rides, and eating like fat kids is always a plus.
What was the best part of the date?
MATT: I think our sharing of the fried foods was pretty funny, but I was also a big fan of the crazier, spinning rides. There were points where we were both screaming uncontrollably.
ROB: It was all great, but the best part had to be going on the rides. I felt like a little kid again.
Describe any romantic connection.
MATT: I wouldn't exactly call it romantic-I caught him checking out other guys along the way, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit my eyes wandered a bit.
ROB: Um, the romantic connection was pretty much non-existent.
What did you do after the Fair?
MATT: We took the limo and picked up a few close friends, then headed to Bourbon Street Bar and Grill (editor's note: in University Heights). Rob admitted to being interested in a guy at the bar, so I introduced the two and they seemed to hit it off. We're now all going to the Eden opening together.
ROB: After the fair, we picked up some friends in the gayborhood and went to a bar that was hosting a wet underwear contest. Matt won.
Was there a kiss?
MATT: Yes. Oh, wait, do you mean with Rob? No, there was not.
What's the most chivalrous thing your date did all night?
MATT: He blushed when admitting he liked someone else at the bar, then proceeded to get me a drink after I introduced the two.
ROB: Since there was no love connection, Matt introduced me to a really cute guy at the bar that I was crushing on. He's a great wingman.
Will there be a second date?
MATT: Maybe not a date, but we are seeing each other again. We've already made plans to attend his big club re-opening coming up.
ROB: There won't be a second date, but I'd definitely hang out with Matt again as a friend.
In the end, both daters played fair, but neither felt a love connection.
For Rob, Matt came up a little short. For Matt, Rob just wasn't enough of a monkey man.
But any date that begins with the Green Fairy, has a pink unicorn in the middle and ends with a solid wingman hooking you up with a cute guy at the bar has got be a good night-the kind that makes us proud to live in San Diego.