Double Time

Photos by Darrell Alonzi

(Published in the August 2010 issue)

With the sun setting over Crystal Pier, and dudes and chicks rolling by on skateboards and beach cruisers, the view from the bluff at the west end of Felspar Street is quintessential summer in Pacific Beach-the perfect setting for tonight's hometown getaway blind date.

An impossibly long limo is stretched out by the boardwalk, waiting to take the daters on their great escape. Before Emily and Veronica meet Danny and Carlos for the first time, let's review the pre-date interviews.

PacificSD: What do you do for a living?
Veronica: Grad student and cocktail server.
Emily: My friends would say I'm a professional beach bum.
Danny: I'm the city's marketing director for Yelp.com. Basically, I have fun for a living.
Carlos: I'm a professional networker and a taco aficionado.

What do you do for fun?

Veronica: I like to run, dance, boat, anything outdoors, and I love nightlife in San Diego.
Emily: I'm obsessed with Hula Hooping right now. I've got some good tricks down.
Danny: I love the unknown. Anytime I can try something new, whether it be a restaurant, sport, bar, sports bar, fitness class, or outdoor activity I've never partaken in before, I'll seize the opportunity.
Carlos: I love live music. Going to shows and seeing new bands is my favorite thing to do in town.

Why are you going on a blind date in a magazine?

Veronica: For a chance to meet someone with no pressure.
Emily: Veronica asked me to go, and I can't say "no" to a good battle of the blondes.
Danny: 'Cause VH1 rejected my spinoff proposal for Real Chance At Love, where I get to date several different gorgeous ladies. Apparently they didn't like the title, Thirsty For Wursty, too much. [Danny's last name is Wurst]
Carlos: Whether it's a hobo in OB or a pretty girl downtown, I love to be outgoing and meet new people.

What are you looking for in a date?

Veronica: Definitely someone that can make me laugh, but most of all someone who is honest.
Emily: Someone to be less awkward than me-that can be cured by someone who laughs a lot. I like to keep things lighthearted, so I hate when the talk goes philosophical.
Danny: I'm looking for someone I can be myself around, someone who's funny and ambitious, but at the same time doesn't take life too seriously. Basically, I'd like a good friend who'd I'd eventually like to make sweet, sweet love to.
Carlos: Someone who likes to have a good time, loves to laugh and is a Charger fan.

What are your biggest turn-ons?

Veronica: Self-confidence, humor, intelligence.
Emily: Tall men with beards.
Danny: Sense of humor, sincerity, creativity and, yes, a rotund boo-tay never hurts.
Carlos: Optimism. Also, someone who can laugh at themselves and not worry too much about what others think.

Turn-offs?

Veronica: People who talk about money and possessions, and people who are rude.
Emily: Small upper lips, cross tattoos and a bad attitude.
Danny: Flakiness, manipulators, halitosis, cheapskates, snort-laughers, Millionaire Matchmaker.
Carlos: A busted-up grill. No one wants to kiss someone with a snarl tooth, right?

Anything you'd like to add?

Veronica: No matter what, I'm sure Emily and I will have fun. We make the best out of all situations.
Emily: Nope.
Danny: On a serious note, 90 percent of the time, I'm not being serious.
Carlos: Do I have to pay? Also, I heard Danny farts in his sleep-FYI, ladies.

The daters meet and then jump into the Epic Limo land yacht for the cruise south along the coast to Belmont Park, in Mission Beach . With Peroni beers and Patrón tequila on board, it's a San Diego tourist's dream come true.

Having just dismounted their nightlife chariot, the foursome heads toward the Giant Dipper, Mission Beach's iconic roller coaster. Emily and the guys seem excited for the ride; Veronica does not. She rises to the challenge, but stands on the sidelines when the other three take on thrillride number two, Beach Blaster, a swinging and spinning pendulum of nausea and almost certain death. Shrieks of laughter emanate from the ride as Veronica looks on...without a smile.

Strolling through the amusement park after the rides, the four split into twos: Emily and Carlos are talking and laughing; Veronica and Danny seem to be walking together by default. After picking up the requisite bag of cotton candy, they get back into the limo, heading north through Bird Rock and Windansea to Tikul, a brand-new haute Mexican restaurant on Prospect Street.

Inside Tikul, a jazzy trio (fronted by a guitar playing lead singer who also owns the joint) performs Carlos Santana and Gipsy King tunes. The daters talk over drinks and appetizers at the bar before being split for mid-date debriefings.

LADIES FIRST

First impressions?

Emily: It was almost nerve-wracking walking up to the boys, but it was good. They were super-easy to get along with as soon as we met them.
Veronica: The guys are very cool, very laidback. I don't feel awkward or creeped out.

How was the roller coaster?

Emily: If you make me go upside down and throw up, that is a good date. When my hair looks horrible and like half of my top is ripped, I like it...in the sense of roller coasters. [Both laugh]
Veronica: I did not favor the roller coaster on a first date.

What do you think of Danny?

Emily: Danny seems cool, he's a total East-Coaster, born and raised in Chicago. It's fun to have somebody from a different coast mixed in with the west coasters.
Veronica: I think he's a little more laid back than us. We're a little more...rambunctious. He said he's a very dive bar kind of guy. I'm much more of a, you know, gotta have a DJ in the house.

How about Carlos?

Emily: He's sexy, he's laid back. We have a lot of the same interests. He's definitely a fellow beach bum and surfer. When he pulled his hair back in a pony tail...sold! I love it.
Veronica: Yeah, you guys clicked instantly. I haven't even talked to Carlos.

Rank Carlos physically on a scale from one to 10.

Veronica: Oh, that's sorta mean.
Emily: No it isn't; he's good. He's got long hair, good teeth-he's like a nine.

And Danny?

Emily: He's a seven for sure.
Veronica: I think they're both sevens.

Do you want to kiss either of the guys right now?

Emily: Give me another martini, and I'd be down. Yeah, no harm in kissing-it burns calories.
Veronica: No, not really.

During dinner, you'll sit in adjoining booths, each of you with one of the guys. Whom will you sit with?

Emily: Carlos.
Veronica: I'm definitely going to sit with Danny. Danny and I are way more clicking, and they're more clicking with each other.

GENTLEMEN

First Impressions?

Danny: They seem pretty down to earth, pretty cool. And after talking to them for a little bit, I was pretty relieved that they were a lot smarter than what you would actually think that two really hot blonde babes that look like that would be.
Carlos: Both girls are beautiful. They seem outgoing and perfect for two guys like us.

How was the roller coaster?

Danny: I thought it was cool, a fun idea. You definitely get to know someone a lot better when you're more on the sober side, doing something like going on a roller coaster.
Carlos: It was a little awkward at first, waiting in line and small-talking, but the ride itself broke so many barriers. We just screamed at the top of our lungs together and were all of a sudden more willing to share stuff with each other, so it was awesome.

What do you think of Emily?

Carlos: She likes to travel, she likes to laugh, and those are two qualities that I seek in people.
Danny: I didn't really get to know her too much. She seems pretty much up for whatever comes her way. She's a Yes girl, whereas Veronica seemed like more of an Um, I'm not really sure if this is for me type of girl.

How about Veronica?

Carlos: I didn't get to know her as well as I did Emily, and obviously the attire might've contributed to her decision, but I thought that her not going on the big ride might have come across as not willing to be spontaneous. Spontaneity is a really big thing for me.
Danny: On a physical level, she's obviously cute, but I think we would be more on like a friends basis. The lack of being spontaneous was kind of a red flag that she wouldn't be the kind of girl that I would want to date.

Rate the women physically on a scale from one to 10.

Carlos: I'll give Emily a 10, Veronica a nine.
Danny: I would give Veronica probably an eight, and Emily I would give more of a nine.

Do you want to kiss either of them right now?

Carlos: Yes, I would have to say I have more of a connection with
Emily, and I feel like it would only be polite to cap off a pretty fun night with a kiss.
Danny: Who's to say I haven't already kissed both of them?

During dinner, you guys will sit in adjoining booths, each of you with one of the women. Whom will you sit with?

Carlos: Based on the evening so far, I'd like to have dinner with Emily.
Danny: I'd probably rather have dinner with Emily, just because I haven't gotten to know her as much, But it's cool. Go for it, Carlos.

Sitting in their respective booths, the couples look over the menus. Despite some inter-booth conversation, Emily remains focused on Carlos, while Veronica appears to have warmed to Danny a bit. As their entrees arrive, the daters are finally left alone to enjoy their evening in privacy, away from the flashing lights and probing questions of the magazine crew. We call the next morning to see what we missed.

Veronica, Emily, Danny and Carlos confirm that the limo dropped them off at Thrusters Lounge in Pacific Beach for a night cap after dinner. "I think the ladies were a little intimidated by our moves," Danny says, "because they left shortly thereafter."

Overall, how was the date?

Veronica: I started out a little whiney at the fair, because I was just a little over dressed with heels for a roller coaster. But when we got back in the limo, it was better from then on.
Emily: It was a damn good way to spend a Thursday night.
Danny: It was a really fun way to cross my first blind date experience off the list.
Carlos: It was my first blind date, and it was a fun experience.

How was Tikul?

Veronica: There was nice music, friendly service and delicious food. Danny and I shared the filet mignon and the sea bass for our entrees, and all four of us shared the coconut-crusted shrimp, the mussels (which were amazing) and the ceviche for appetizers.
Emily: It was a mellow, sexy atmosphere. I drank a few dirty Kettles and tried their sangria, which was amazing. We all shared the appetizers. I had the seared tuna for dinner.
Danny: Tikul is definitely a great place to take a date. The food, drinks and atmosphere were all on point. I was stoked that my date was up for sharing, so we were able to try a little bit of everything.
Carlos: Tikul had a lot of potential-the classy  La Jolla vibe, delicious food with great cocktails-it's a perfect date spot. I'd certainly go back.

What was the best part of the date?

Veronica: We all just got along really well, and there were no awkward moments of the date.
Emily: Riding the roller coaster in Mission. I love roller coasters!
Danny: The limo rides were really fun. Besides it being fully stocked with beer and Patron, I think the four of us really hit it off on a friend-like basis.
Carlos: Having lived in San Diego for as long as I have, I had never gone on the Belmont Park roller coaster That was so much fun.

Will there be a second date?

Veronica: For now, just as friends, but we will definitely be hanging out.
Emily: We will all hang out as friends again, for sure. If something romantic comes out of it, then I'm down.
Danny: I'm gonna have to go with "No" on the formal date setting, but I'd definitely friend request her.
Carlos: I don't think so-maybe a day at the beach playing bocce ball but nothing formal.

Aftermatch:

Like the Giant Dipper itself, this four-way blind date had its ups and downs. Veronica started out unhappy on the roller coaster, but a limo ride and a few cocktails turned that frown upside down. In contrast, Emily and Carlos seemed to be high on each other from the start, but their ride peaked early and plummeted back to earth after dinner. Danny kept an even keel throughout the voyage and always seemed happy to be along for the ride.

A stretch limo, sunset over the ocean, playing at an amusement park, dinner in La Jolla and late-night dancing-these could have been the makings of a perfect date, but they weren't. The good news is that, even though the daters didn't fall for each other, last night's hometown getaway may have helped them fall in love with their city all over again. Well, that and the fact that, when they were all hanging out at Thrusters, Carlos and Danny got free drinks.

"The funniest part," Emily says, "was running into Veronica's ex at Thrusters while we were still with our dates, and having her ex pay for all our drinks... our dates' drinks included."

PacificSD sure knows how to show our daters a good time. Eat your heart out, Travelocity gnome!

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