Photos by Holly Harris
(Published in the November 2009 issue)
Zoltan (his real name) teaches high school in South Bay. A longtime fan of PacificSD’s blind date adventures, he recently submitted a photo of himself and samples of his writing to email@example.com. Turns out the one-time magazine writer was looking not only for a date, but also for a job. Score two for the Z-man: we agreed to let the guy write for us as long as he could get his brother to participate in the blind date. One phone call later, Zoltan’s brother Peter, manager of a commercial painting company, was booked for a flight from San Francisco.
The next day, we posted a message on the magazine’s Facebook page, announcing that we were looking for a pair of sisters or best girlfriends for an upcoming blind date. Bonnie, a book editor by day and an occasional freelance writer for PacificSD, said she’d give it a shot; and it seemed like a fun experiment to set her up with another writer to see if their heads would explode. Bonnie got her bestie, Heather, a wedding photographer to be the fourth wheel.
Zoltan, Peter, Bonnie and Heather are about to meet at the Hard Rock Hotel. Before they do, let’s review the pre-date interviews.
ZOLTAN: It’s part of my court ordered community service.
PETER: Why not? Fun, adventure, potential romance, free dinner.
BONNIE: I think it’s good to go outside of your comfort zone from time to time.
HEATHER: Because my friend Bonnie is the bomb and she asked me to do this with her.
Describe your personality in seven words.
ZOLTAN: Read the last page of this magazine.
PETER: Goofy, playful, energetic, cheeky, no-holds-barred.
BONNIE: Spontaneous, fun-loving, diplomatic, childlike, feisty, cranky, honest.
HEATHER: Easy-going, caring, fun, witty, stubborn, loving.
What do you do for fun?
ZOLTAN: I like to go on double blind dates with my brother that millions of people will read about.
PETER: Paint, do improv, go to movies and out to eat with friends.
BONNIE: I go to a lot of live music events, arts and culture events, spend time with friends, make up fantastical stories about my roomie’s dogs.
HEATHER: Up for it all. Anything that has to do with water, especially surf, snorkel and swim; and hiking, mountain biking and skiing.
What happens if your brother/friend gets the woman/man you want?
ZOLTAN: Two words: dance off.
PETER: He gets his ass beat down by big brother in front of the ladies.
BONNIE: We’ll end up with whomever we’re meant to end up with, regardless of whom we’re paired with tonight.
HEATHER: Go, Bonnie! Whoop whoop!
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
ZOLTAN: My ass. It’s so tight you can bounce nickels off of it.
PETER: I don’t take life too seriously.
BONNIE: I still have my sense of wonder.
HEATHER: Good heart.
What do you like least about yourself?
ZOLTAN: My ass. People keep bouncing nickels off of it.
PETER: Sometimes I’m insecure.
BONNIE: I’m a terrible procrastinator.
What do you hope will happen tonight?
ZOLTAN: That I don’t end up going home with my brother.
PETER: Sex. Just kidding... kind of. Love. Even that’s a lot to hope for. How about fun?
BONNIE: I hope we’ll at least make new friends, have a good time and have an interesting story to share.
HEATHER: Make some new friends at least. Meet, marry and have 10,000 of his babies right away.
What was the last text message you sent and to whom?
ZOLTAN: It was to my brother, telling him to dress nice tonight and not wear his usual wife-beater/biker short combo.
PETER: To a co-worker about a project.
BONNIE: My last text message was, "Tu eres cabeza de piña.” Translation:"You are a pineapple head.” I sent it to my friend Joseph.
HEATHER: “Thanks guys!” To some friends who invited me to be in a dodge ball tournament.
What do you hope your date will look like?
ZOLTAN: Who was in those Transformer movies? Oh, yeah-Shia LaBeouf.
PETER: Attractive, feminine, nice smile.
BONNIE: A lumberjack carrying a Steinbeck novel and with drumsticks sticking out of his back pocket.
HEATHER: Good. To me, anyway.
The foursome meets at Hard Rock Hotel’s 207, where they talk over drinks for about an hour. At first, at least from the magazine crew’s vantage point across the room, there appeared to be some awkwardness.
Now, all four are laughing, seemingly without a break. We split the group for mid-date debriefings-and to find out what’s so funny.
How’s it going so far?
Zoltan : Good. It’s like we’re all old friends bullsh!tt!ng around.
Peter : Lots of fun. Good, playful energy.
Bonnie : I’m having lots of fun. There seems to be a good vibe with good chemistry among the four of us.
Heather : I couldn’t dream this stuff up. Having a blast.
Describe Heather’s behavior and appearance
ZOLTAN: Tall and blonde. Very San Diego. Very nice.
PETER: Attractive and fun.
Describe Bonnie’s behavior and appearance
Zoltan: Cute. She looks like that chick from 500 Days of Summer (actress Zooey Deschanel).
PETER: Attractive and fun.
Describe Zoltan’s behavior and appearance
BONNIE: Very cute. Nice eyes and lips. I like the sweater look. Charming, a little quiet with dry humor and wit.
HEATHER: Calm, friendly and dressed nicely-and witty.
Describe Peter’s behavior and appearance
BONNIE: Also very cute.
HEATHER: Friendly, captivating and fun. He dresses hip.
Which of the two guys/girls do you find more attractive physically?
ZOLTAN: This is such a copout but they are equally cute.
PETER: Heather, she’s more my type.
BONNIE: Zoltan. I’m always drawn to darker features. And he has an academic look about him.
HEATHER: Peter, a little more of a rugged look.
Which of the two do you find more attractive in terms of personality?
ZOLTAN: Both are fun, sarcastic and cool. It’s like they’re sisters. Another copout, but they are equally awesome.
PETER: Both are great, fun and goofy.
BONNIE: Maybe Peter. He has a lot of energy and is very funny.
HEATHER: Peter. He seems to be up for anything and I find him curious.
Rate Bonnie physically on a scale from 1 to 10.
Rate Heather physically on a scale from 1 to 10.
Rate Zoltan physically on a scale from 1 to 10.
Rate Peter physically on a scale from 1 to 10.
Describe your brother’s/friend’s behavior and appearance.
ZOLTAN: He looks fine, I guess. For behavior-you know when you let your dog off the leash because you think he will be good, and right when you let him go he starts humping someone’s leg? Like that.
PETER: Fun behavior, but a little too conservative. Ivy League/prep-school boy appearance.
BONNIE: Heather looks great. She’s very friendly and lots of fun.
HEATHER: Hot! Totally Bonnie-excited!
Of the two women/men, whom would you like to kiss right now?
ZOLTAN: I’m not that easy, but talk to me after dinner and drinks.
PETER: Not quite there yet.
BONNIE: Zoltan, aka “Zoli,” as his brother calls him.
The streets are hoppin’ when the group steps out of the bar and into a warm autumn night in the Gaslamp. As they stroll up Fifth Avenue toward Market Street, the flashing camera catches the attention of scores of passing nightlifers.
The stars of tonight’s show will be treated to an opulent dinner of international cuisine-$1.50 tacos and other Mexican delights at Funky Garcia’s, located right by the Haunted Hotel. (Hey, it’s expensive to feed a family of four these days.) The evening’s entertainment is being provided by Beyonce, Lady GaGa and their colleagues, whose music videos are booming through Funky’s sound system.
As their food arrives, the daters are finally left alone for the rest of the evening. We call a couple days later to see what we missed.
Overall, how was the date?
ZOLTAN: It was a lot fun. We all have the same sense of humor, so we all got along extremely well.
PETER: Awesome, those were two really great chicks, and I don’t hang out with my brother enough, either.
BONNIE: We all seemed to have a good time, with everyone up for whatever adventures came our way.
HEATHER: Super awkward at first, but overall it was really great. I had a blast.
What happened after the magazine crew left?
ZOLTAN: We went to the Haunted Hotel, where three out of the four of us messed ourselves. Then we wandered into a bar where almost everyone was deaf. Then we ended the night at the Shout House.
PETER: We went to an awesome haunted house. Then we went to a couple bars, capped off by some group sing-alongs at the Shout House. I’ve never been to such a place. Good times and a community feel.
BONNIE: We were chased by a crazy man with a chainsaw. I’m still having nightmares. After that, we went into a place where we realized 80 percent of the people there were hearing impaired. Everyone was signing. After about 15 minutes, we left and went to Shout House down the street.
HEATHER: We all went to a haunted house, another bar and then the Shout House. That was pretty fun.
Which of the guys/girls were you more attracted to physically?
ZOLTAN: I wasn’t really attracted to either girl. They were both nice looking, but just neither was my type.
BONNIE: Both were attractive, but I was a little more physically attracted to Zoltan. Probably because he has darker features and is slightly taller. He was more striking, with nice eyes and lips.
HEATHER: Peter fo’ sho’!
ZOLTAN: Both girls had very similar, fun personalities. They were really easy to hang out with and just bullsh!t around. I wasn’t necessarily attracted to either one, but I would totally hang with them again.
PETER: They were both to die for. But actually, Bonnie busted out with some pretty funny, random stuff. Gotta give her props for that.
BONNIE: Both guys were cool, each in his own way. But as the night went on, Peter’s personality stood out more and he was just more open and playful the whole time.
HEATHER: Mr. Peter.
Describe any romantic connection between yourself and either of the guys/girls.
ZOLTAN: Well, Chuck Woolery, I didn’t feel any romantic connections with either girl. They’re both very sweet, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
PETER: Heather and I felt an immediate connection, but it’s probably difficult to call it a "romantic connection” so soon. But during the rest of the date we got to know each other more, enough to make plans to go out again.
BONNIE: Honestly, there wasn’t one for me that night. I thought both guys were attractive, fun, and I would definitely go out again as friends. But, I didn’t feel that “thing" about either of them.
HEATHER: Peter definitely had a smirk with his eyes that drew me in; maybe even a little sparkle or twinkle.
How was Funky Garcia’s?
ZOLTAN: It was a cool little Mexican spot. Sort of a TJ vibe, but clean... and not terrifying.
PETER: It was a fun little Mexican joint with good margaritas.
BONNIE: Good food and drinks, relaxed and casual atmosphere. I like their cow couch.
HEATHER: Funky helped us get our funk on with some good eats and music videos and fun house mirrors.
Did your brother/friend do or sayanything especially charming?
ZOLTAN: Since we’ve been adults, I really haven’t spent a huge amount of time with my brother, let alone ever go on a date with him, but watching him do his thing was kinda funny and eye-opening. He’s got game, in his own little way. I can’t really explain it, but I was pleasantly surprised.
PETER: Probably not. That’s my department.
BONNIE: Heather’s personality is generally sweet and charming, but nothing in particular stood out.
HEATHER: She’s Bonnie, ‘nuff said.
Did your brother/friend do or say anything embarrassing?
ZOLTAN: He’s very animated and sometimes over the top with his humor, but it seemed like the girls were digging it, so it must work for him.
PETER: Most likely, but I don’t remember specifics.
BONNIE: Heather didn’t do anything embarrassing, but when someone suggested later that we all go do karaoke, I found out she gets very freaked out by that idea. She’s an anti-karaokeite. How did I not know that before?
HEATHER: Her top kept busting open, which was funny and left us all with something to laugh about.
Were you jealous of your friend/brother at any point in the evening?
ZOLTAN: Can you really be jealous of the spastic kid who gets a base-hit even though he had his eyes closed, swinging the bat awkwardly and screaming the entire time? Let’s just say I was happy for him.
PETER: Perhaps a little when he was talking to and joking around with Heather after I decided I was interested in her.
BONNIE: I’m never jealous of Heather or any of my friends. When you love someone, you’re happy for them, no matter what.
HEATHER: No, we seem to like different brothers. It may have been awkward if we liked the same one.
Will there be a second date for any of you?
ZOLTAN: Peter and Heather already have another date planned. He moves quicker than the Energizer Bunny on meth. Bonnie and I will probably just remain friends.
PETER: Yes, I’m going out with Heather again tonight.
BONNIE: I think Peter and Heather are going on another date. As for me, I’d go out with either of them again as friends.
HEATHER: Yes, most definitely. Peter and I exchanged numbers and a couple of texts. He seems quite sweet.
Seems like everyone had a good time. Bonnie thought the guys were nice, but despite her friend’s success, there just wasn’t a spark with Zoltan. Zoltan didn’t find love either, but there was a payoff (if 10 bucks a story counts as a "payoff”)-he gets to write for PacificSD.
By going on a double blind date with her best friend, Heather managed to forge a connection with a brother, and even flew up to see him in San Francisco a week later. No word yet on how that turned out. But one thing is clear: although Bonnie and Zoltan were less lucky, Heather scored big and got her hands on a Peter... or, as she calls him, Mr. Peter.
“Watch out for foursomes, especially if Tequila’'s involved." -Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman
“Funky? I’ll show you funky. Git down!” -James Brown
“Four score and...Sorry, make that two scored.” -Abraham Lincoln
“What? Oh. Wait, I don’t get it.” - Kendra Wilkinson