Photos by Brevin Blach
(Published in July 2010 Issue)
If 10 percent of the U.S. population is gay, then perhaps we should have conducted 4.2 same-sex blind dates by now. Despite having conducted 42 of these magical monthly interludes, however, tonight we present PacificSD's first-ever gay blind date.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?
Sanel: I am from Croatia, born and raised in a tiny village of like 50 people, and here I am now in California.
David: I was born in New York, raised in SoCal, spent 10 years after high school in the Caribbean and then came back home to San Diego.
What do you do for a living?
Sanel: Depends who's asking. I have many talents, but for G-rated purposes, I work in human resources.
David: You will never hear this again, I'm sure: I manage the Cemetery Systems for the City of San Diego.
What do you do for fun?
Sanel: There's hardly anything I do not do, but most common things are traveling, spending time with friends and my new puppy, watching movies, hiking, running, tennis, skydiving, swimming and the list goes on and on.
David: Travel-I'm trying to charter a yacht to cruise the Sardonic Gulf in Greece next year with some friends.
Describe your personality in seven words.
Sanel: Well, I am a Gemini, so there are two of me. That means you need 14 words, but I guess I'll give you one half of me for now. My seven words are: outgoing, funny, spontaneous, adventurous, loyal, caring and mellow, contrary to what people believe.
David: Outgoing, intelligent, down to earth, adventurous, generous.
What's your favorite part of your body and why?
Sanel: My hands-they are strong and big and able to protect you from danger and hold you when you need to be held and feel loved.
David: I guess it would be my chest. A few open buttons and some good man cleavage works every time.
What animal are you most like and how?
Sanel: I have fetishes, yes, but never to play the role of an animal. But since you're asking, I will have to go with a dog. Dogs are loyal; they love unconditionally and will be your best friend for life.
David: I'm probably like a parrot-I sometimes talk too much, can mimic and can get my feathers ruffled. But if you appreciate the colorful, I'm entertaining and always up for a song.
What are you looking for in a man?
Sanel: Not sure I am looking for one, but maybe if one comes along-someone that is honest, full of life, able to carry a conversation, secure with themselves and not affected by what people think or say, one who can keep up with me and be able to do things spur of the moment without question, who can live life to the fullest without any hesitations, one who can get along with just about anyone and must have a nice smile and teeth-then, maybe.
David: I'm not sure I'm looking, but what attracts me is someone who likes spontaneity and understands what a mutually supportive relationship is really about.
Hai Times Man, oh man, what a view
Man, oh man, what a view
David and and Sanel meet at Bali Hai, where they drink Mai Tais before switching to Sanel's fav, the Cosmopolitan. As they sit on the deck, talking over cocktails and an order of Hawaiian Ahi Poke, both are smiling and laughing.
With the sun beginning to set, the daters leave their waterfront perch, kiss the Easter Island-esque head by the front door for good luck, and are then chauffeured downtown to the other side of the harbor. Next stop: the Hyatt, and a romantic dinner with a view at Sally's Seafood on the Water.
When they arrive at the hotel, the two seem to be having a blast. They run past valet, jump up on the check-in counter to pose for pictures, then strike poses throughout the lobby on the way to the restaurant. Inside Sally's, once they've had a chance to order drinks and look over the menu, the couple is split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
Sanel: Awesome. I was nervous, frustrated, unsure, and the fact that it exceeded my expectations makes it so much more appealing and welcoming.
David: We're having a fun time. I think we're both enjoying each other's company and getting to know each other with no pressure.
Sanel: Oh, my god, I know you! What's your name again? We have mutual friends, so I've seen him around, but he and I never had an opportunity to talk before. It was like an eye-contact thing from across the room.
David: Energetic, outgoing, nice guy. Very likeable.
How was Bali Hai?
Sanel: Romantic, it was beautiful. Having drinks and enjoying the view was fantastic.
David: Great place, great drinks, friendly staff. Wonderful place to go for a first date.
Rate your date's personality in terms of compatibility with yours.
David: Right now, about a six or a seven. We don't know too much about each other yet, so it's hard to say how compatible we are, but we seem to share a lot of common interests. I'm looking forward to the second part of the date.
Is the vibe friendly or romantic at this point?
David: It's strangely in a grey area. I'm not exactly sure.
Describe his sense of style
Sanel: Banana Republic-ish.
David: He seems to be very detailed and he has a very great look.
Describe him in one word.
What's the best way the date could end?
Sanel: If something blossoms from this, if it's meant to be, great. If not, no big deal. I'm having an amazing time.
David: With a plan for a second date.
What's the worst way?
Sanel: Him walking away, offended and insecure about it not going in the stereotypical quote-unquote gay-date way, where you go home and have sex. Right now, I'm so far away from that, I'm in like a different galaxy.
David: Too much alcohol overpowering what, to this point, has been a nice development of a rapport between us.
Do you want to kiss your date now?
Sanel: I don't know.
David: I will wait until the end of the date to see if I want to.
As their entrees arrive, Sanel and David are finally left alone to enjoy the rest of the evening without the Mai Tai-enriched magazine crew bothering them. (Bali Hai doesn't mix any fruit juice into their Mai Tais, by the way. It's just dark rum, light rum and more rum. Zing!)
PacificSD: Overall, how was the date?
Sanel: I had a great time. The experience was more then I expected. Lots of fun.
David: The date was good. I was impressed by how easy our rapport was, and I would be happy to call Sanel a friend.
How was Sally's?
Sanel: Very elegant, classy and just up my alley. We split filet mignon and lobster-delicious. Oh, yeah, the drinks were good, too, however I never got to finish mine as David drank his and mine. Do I get a second date to finish my drinks?
David: After pre-dinner drinks, we were at ease happy and ready to have fun. We had surf and turf and some great specialty drinks.
What happened after the magazine crew left you two alone?
Sanel: Uhhh...I don't think we were left alone all night. I brought everyone along with us; we all had a celebration 'til the wee hours of the night.
David: We basically talked like old friends when we were left alone, and then chose to stay with the magazine crew like a group of friends. That was maybe a reason we didn't have a true spark, but most good relationships for me have started in that type of environment.
Was there a romantic connection?
Sanel: I was so into the conversation and the laughing and having a good time that I did not pay attention to romance. However, I think we kissed on the bay outside Sally's for a show. People wanted to see it, so maybe you can call that romantic.
David: We had chemistry, maybe a precursor to a spark.
What was the funniest part of the date?
Sanel: I laughed so much that I don't remember what was the one funniest thing. Wait, I just remembered-it was kissing the publisher.
David: When the photographer followed us around and people assumed we were famous-and, of course, we hammed it up.
What's the sexiest thing your date did last night?
Sanel: Show his confidence and hold his own through out the night. He was a trooper, especially when I made him go to my stomping grounds, Ivy and Fluxx.
David: Sent me a message to make sure I got home safe.
Aftermatch: Last night, David and Sanel forged an instant connection-they were all smiles from start to finish and, at times, appeared to have a romantic connection. In the end, however, they seem to have confirmed that (sometimes, anyway) a kiss is just a kiss.
When some guys go out at night in San Diego, they complain about the preponderance of dudes and say we're living in Man Diego. For other local men, that's precisely what makes this America's Finest City. Go figure.
Hollywood celebs discuss the Man Date
As the magazine crew was packing up the mini-van with all the equipment after last night's date, we noticed a bunch of A-listers (and a couple of Bs and Cs), loitering in the parking lot by Seaport Village. Luckily, our microphone was still on, so we managed to eavesdrop on their conversation.
Check out what Tom Cruise , Seth Rogen, Ru Paul, Senator Larry Craig , Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi , Larry King, Kathy Griffin , Cher and Bono had to say about PacificSD's first-ever same-sex blind date.
Tom Cruise (revving his motorcycle): My heart hasn't raced this fast since that sweaty volleyball scene in Top Gun. Hey, do you know how to get to Miramar from here?
Seth Rogen: You know how I know you're gay, Tom?
Ru Paul: Oh, no, you di'int, Seth. Just 'cause you're skinnier now don't mean you ain't gonna be fat again soon, sister.
Seth Rogen: Okay, you're right, Ru. I'll admit that joke is played out by now.
(Our celebs turn their heads to the sound of toe-tapping.)
Senator Larry Craig: Excuse me, Ms. Paul. Maybe you should come with me. I won't ask if you don't tell, son.
Ru Paul: I ain't your son, grandpa, and this here ain't a bathroom stall. Touch my arm again and it will be the last thing you do. I mean, puh-lease, old man. You're horny even for a senator.
Ellen DeGeneres: Don't mind him, Ru. He's just been married to a woman for too long. The mind wanders, you know?
Portia de Rossi: I heard that, Ellen. I mean, you are kidding, right? I'm the hot one. You're the one they cast as a dimwitted, big-nose cartoon fish.
Larry King: Speaking of Finding Nemo, Porsche-I mean Croatia-with the way things are today, remembering how different relationships between men and women used to be way back when, uhhh...Ellen. Wait, what were we-is this thing on? Let's cut to commercial.
Kathy Griffin: Larry, you're memory is shot. You're worse than my grandmother...and she's dead. Do you even remember when Marlon Brando kissed you on the lips? Now that was gay.
Cher: Lighten up, Kathy-you're the one who's starting to look like Carrot Top. Larry is straight as an arrow, and his suspenders are, well, disarming. It's like I always say, 'If I could turn back time...'"
Larry King: Thanks, Marie. Say hi to Donnie for me.
Bono: Can't we all just get along? I mean, this is Pride month after all. Let's celebrate pride, pride in the name of love!
Seth Rogen: Hey, Bono, you know how I know you're gay?
Bali Hai Restaurant, 2230 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619.222.1181, balihairestaurant.com
Sally's Seafood on the Water, 1 Market Place, downtown, 619.358.6740, sallyssandiego.com