By David Perloff / Photos by Brevin Blach
Joyce hails from Alabama, lives in Hillcrest and works as the senior event manager for the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the largest such event on the West Coast. Arun used to chill in Anchorage, Alaska. Now, he lives in Hillcrest and makes a living as an independent marketing consultant stationed at whatever coffee shop’s most convenient.
These two blind daters met for the first time about an hour ago and are now rolling like rock stars in an Epic Limo stretch Escalade en-route to The Shout! House dueling piano bar in the Gaslamp. A previous PacificSD blind date at this venue spawned a marriage and the birth of a child (see “Ty, Ty Again,” October 2008 issue; and “Taking the Cake,” October 2009), so we’re hoping another love song may be scored this evening.
What do you do for fun?
I love checking out SD.'s latest and greatest bars and restaurants, happy hours, going to the beach, cheering on our mediocre NFL team and my alma mater - go ‘Noles! - and just having a good time with friends.
I play sports, music - cello, guitar and piano - and generally cause ruckus around San Diego. I also travel a lot.
What are you best at?JOYCE:
Sarcasm. “That’s What She Said"s. I love laughing; laughing’s my favorite.
I’m a people person, so I’d say I do well in social environments. I do pretty well in most sports and I think I’m pretty decent at music. I’m also pretty awesome at the Macarena.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and otherwise?JOYCE:
Ryan Gosling, physically and otherwise. I like to keep my standards humble and attainable.
Physically, I like girls who are healthy and fit. And, of course, beautiful inside and out is a nice touch. I tend to go for brunettes or exotic-looking types. Girls who are adventurous and like to laugh are a plus. Ambition is a major turn-on.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.JOYCE:
The greatest show on Earth.
Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for looks.JOYCE:
I don’t pay for drinks.
Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for personality.JOYCE:
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be “blank” and “blank.”JOYCE:
Tall and witty.
Fun and adventurous.
What’s the most important thing in the world?JOYCE:
The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Family, love and support.
As the daters arrive at The Shout! House, they grab a table and order drinks and appetizers. When the waiter returns to deliver their first round, they’re already singing and laughing along with the piano players performing onstage. They’re smiling and sitting close and seem to be getting along well, but one of them is hiding something.
The Piano Man
Not the same old song and dance
After the couple has had a round of drinks, toasted shots and eaten some of their food, one of the piano players beckons Arun to the stage.
Surprising the crowd and his date (but not PacificSD, as we had prearranged the whole thing), Arun takes a seat at one of the pianos, grabs the mic and explains to the hundreds of people now watching him that he’s on a blind date. Big applause. The Shout! House experience often includes onstage audience participation, but never like this.
Without further ado, Arun launches into a cover of “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. As he begins to play piano and sing, the crowd joins in, singing along with the rest of his performance, which goes off without a hitch.
The crowd cheers as Arun leaves the stage. Strangers (and friends he seems to have invited without Joyce’s knowledge) pepper him with high-fives on his way back to Joyce, who greets him with open arms. Score one point for Arun.
Before the couple has had muchtime to celebrate the performance, The Shout! House crew surprises everyone (magazine crew included) by inviting Arun back onstage for an encore. Next up: the ambitious undertaking of Shaggy’s “Angel.”
Having already struck a chord with the crowd, Arun has everyone singing along with the chorus before he drops into his best Shaggy impression for a hilarious (and shockingly authentic) version of the 2001 reggae/rap hit. After the song, he picks up a flashlight from the top of the piano and points it across the room at Joyce, inviting her to come to the stage. She hesitates, but then caves to the collective peer pressure, joining Arun for a private dance in the spotlight.
The two survive the public display of slow-dancing, and then return to the table before being split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How’s it going so far?JOYCE:
It’s super fun. I’m having a good time.
Really fun. I’m having a great time. She’s really talkative and fun.
Has your date been fun and interesting to talk with?JOYCE
: Absolutely. He does marketing, and I’m very integrated in the marketing industry and like to be involved in that. He’s a singer and plays musical instruments, which is also intriguing.
She’s fun. She’s not as adventurous as I am; she doesn’t wanna drink too much. I think she’s worried about embarrassing herself. I’m more go-go-go, let’s just do it all. She has more of an, “I’m gonna have self control,” kind of attitude.
Not at all. I mean, he’s tall and fit, but not normally someone who would ever approach me or I would approach. It’s just physical, I guess. My type is very blonde-haired, blue-eyed, corn-fed, Midwestern, plays football kind of thing.
I’d say she is in personality; maybe not physically as much. I don’t usually date Asians.
What do you think of the way your date is dressed?JOYCE:
He’s very well dressed. His shirt was not wrinkled; kudos for that. Nice shoes, very nice shoes. Ten points for shoes.
She looks good. She’s emphasizing the right things.
How have you been enjoying The Shout! House?JOYCE:
It’s great. The girl who plays up there is incredible. Arun played “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. I love The Lumineers; they’re one of my favorite bands right now. He also played Shaggy’s “Angel,” which was interesting. I told him it was my eighth grade class song. He did a very, very good job.
The Shout! House is great. I might get nervous when I go in front of people, but in all honesty, I like it. I like being an entertainer.
What have you had to drink?JOYCE:
Whiskey. We have that in common, we both like whiskey, J-mo at the moment.
One thing about Joyce, I’ve realized she just has a taste of the shots; at least tonight, she does. I can kind of understand that, because I’ve never been on a date where I’m taking a lot of shots. But because it’s a special date today, I’ve been drinking more than I usually do.
What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?JOYCE:
She’s been really interested in me and what I do and who I am.
What’s the least attractive thing your date has done?JOYCE:
He came on kinda strong, but not like he wanted to make-out off the bat; but a little strong.
That she’s not as adventurous as I’d like. She’s not willing to put herself out there and embarrass herself a little bit.
Rate your date on a scale of one to 10 for looks.JOYCE
And for personality?JOYCE:
Do you want to kiss your date now?JOYCE:
Not yet. Maybe after the date.
Does your date want to kiss you?JOYCE:
I don’t think so. I would say no.
Not yet. Maybe after the date.
The Shout! House
655 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp
Face The Music
Seeing a show... and getting caught in the act
Their post-serenade interrogations complete, Joyce and Arun hop back into the limo for the ride to North Park’s U31, one of 16 venues hosting a total of 150 bands performing live at the San Diego Music Thing (see “BANDwidth” here).
With rockabilly band Roy Rapid & The Rhythm Rock Trio playing onstage, the couple sits in a private booth and orders drinks. After Arun pulls Joyce to the dance floor to groove in front of the band, the magazine crew finally leaves them alone to enjoy the rest of the evening away from the cameras. The next morning, we call to find out what we missed.
PacificSD: What happened after the magazine crew left you alone?JOYCE:
We just hung out at U31 for SDMT. His posse showed up after maybe 30 minutes, which I found rather unfair. Seriously, who does that? I left maybe 15 minutes later and took the limo home.
We hung out at U31 for a while, had some drinks. Some friends of mine showed up later, as she was getting ready to leave.
I had about enough of the blind date thing after U31, so I was beyond ready to call it a night.
Well, she got tired around midnight, and we had the limo come back for her. Then, he came back for me later, and my friends and I went downtown to the Hard Rock for some late-night burgers at Mary Jane’s.
When did you get home?JOYCE:
The limo dropped me off around midnight.
Close to 2 a.m.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?JOYCE:
Classy girls don’t kiss in bars, you fool.
We exchanged phone numbers and hugged it out.
What two things would you change about your date to make the person a better fit for you?JOYCE:
One, comprehension of “the bubble,” aka personal space. Two, just Ryan Gosling.
I definitely need someone who’s a little more adventurous. Joyce is a little shyer than I would prefer. Also, physically, she’s beautiful, but not really my type.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during the date?JOYCE:
While we’re on “the bubble” subject, we took our phones out at U31 to see if they were still serving food. I was starving. Since he was sitting very close to me, aka bubble invasion, I caught a glimpse of a text message from him that said, “Asian :( .” I thought it was hilarious and totally called him out on it. I told him I was hardly offended, but he groveled and said he wanted to take me out again... because I’d absolutely sign up for that.
So embarrassing - when I gave her my phone to type in her number, she saw a text I sent that basically said she wasn’t my type. Truth be told, I’ve never dated an Asian. Honesty, I felt like an A-hole, but she was super cool, and we had a good laugh about it.
What was the best part of the date?JOYCE:
The surprise “Ho Hey” performance at The Shout! House. I love The Lumineers.
The best part was The Shout! House, specifically when I was called up on stage the second time. Neither of us were expecting it, and the crowd really got into my impersonation of Shaggy. After the song, we got her up there and we did a little dance, complete with salsa twirls.
What was the worst part of the date?JOYCE:
Being called up to stage to dance with him. I am not a fan of spotlights, but he is a self-proclaimed attention whore.
Probably when she saw the incriminating text message. I was internally freaking out.
Will there be a second date?JOYCE:
We are not each other’s type, so why waste the effort?
I would love to hang out with Joyce again, but I think we’re better off as friends.
What’s one thing your date should before going on another date?JOYCE:
Respect the bubble.
Nothing, really. She really didn’t do anything too appalling.
What did you learn about yourself last night?JOYCE:
I am truly patient, except when it comes to men’s jewelry. No patience for men’s jewelry.
The more I drink, the worse I play piano.
AFTERMATCH: Joyce’s least favorite part of last night’s date (“Being called up to stage to dance with him”) turned out to be Arun’s favorite (“The crowd really got into my impersonation of Shaggy”).
He complained that she didn’t drink enough. She said he invaded her space. He said, “She’s not willing to put herself out there and embarrass herself a little bit.” She called him a “self-proclaimed attention whore.”
In 1982, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang, “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony,” but opposites sure didn’t attract last night. Or perhaps that whole “let’s just get along” thing was a ruse, and Stevie Wonder actually ended up texting his buddies: “Ivory :( .”
In the end, it’s probably best (for PacificSD’s insurance policy, at least) that the date didn’t end with a love connection. After all, rock stars and their entourages are infamous for trashing hotel rooms. And while Arun rocked the mic for only a few songs, he and his posse did manage to trash the limo - broken champagne glasses, gum on the carpet, big mess. Imagine if we had gotten them a room at the Hard Rock.
San Diego Music Thing
U31 Cocktail Lounge
3112 University Ave., North Park