Taking the Leap
By David Perloff / Photos by Brevin Blach
More than a million people attend the San Diego County Fair each year. That’s a lot of fried food, carnival rides and farm animals - not to mention concerts, car shows and, this year, interactive Beatles and JFK exhibits. Blind daters Tiffany and Nino met for the first time about half an hour ago and are now cruising north to the fair in an Epic limo. Before they arrive, let’s review their pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: What do you do for a living?
TIFFANY: I’m a hairstylist at A Robert Cromeans Salon in the Gaslamp. I also freelance with Abide Fashion and Be Water Photo for fashion shows at clubs and other venues in the San Diego area.
NINO: Bartender at BASSMNT, the best night club in S.D.
What do you do for fun?
TIFFANY: I embody fun, therefore everything I do is fun, except dishes. I like to be outside, try new things, go to new places and discover new things about myself and others. Learning is fun.
NINO: I like to go on hikes a lot, with my dog when possible; traveling; exercise; anything in the water, especially bodysurfing and paddle boarding; playing sports; Charger games; concerts; having BBQs with my friends and Sunday Fundays.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?
TIFFANY: Kind, funny and quick-witted, with intellect. No mommy issues, please. Physically, I’m not as concerned. As long as he showers regularly and actually washes his feet, we’re going to be alright.
NINO: I’m a face or butt guy, so hopefully she’s got one of those on point. Otherwise, I just hope the person is fun and doesn’t think I’m ridiculous.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.
How about more than five? An orgasmic breath of fresh air sure to quench even the thirstiest sailor.
Italian/Puerto Rican beach body.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
Saturday night, 9.75; Sunday morning, seven.
I guess 9.9. Nobody’s perfect.
How about for personality?
I’ve been hanging out with me for years and I have great taste in humans, so let’s say 10.
Ten. I have a perfect personality.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be “blank” and “blank.”
Fit, fearless and into good music.
Sexy and outgoing.
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?TIFFANY:
Depends if we end up in Mexico or not. All boundaries fall when I cross the border.
I never kiss on the first date.
What’s the most important thing in the world?
Acceptance and humility.
Familia y amigos... and my dogs.
When they arrive at the fair, the daters walk through the Beatles exhibit, where Tiffany jumps onto Nino’s back for the walk down Abbey Road. Next up was going to be fried food, but we (we, the camera crew, who are staying on the ground) decide to get bungee jumping out of the way first.
MY FAIR LADY
It’s a bird, it’s a plane...whatever it is, it isn’t Nino
iffany is giddy with excitement as the safety crew tightens her harness and tethers her to the bungee cord that will soon hold her (fingers crossed) to a platform dangling above the Del Mar coastline. Nino looks like he’s going to pass out.
Despite Tiffany’s prodding ( and the ride operator’s announcing that a five-year-old boy and a 92-year-old woman survived their jumps) Nino refuses to take the plunge. He agrees to go along for the ride, however, and is pacing and looking skyward as he steps into the basket for the precarious ascent.
When the basket reaches 130 feet, a gate opens, and Tiffany appears on the precipice. Then, in an instant, she dives from the platform. Watching her fall and hearing her scream gets the adrenaline pumping among spectators on the ground, so the experience must be have been intense for the jumper herself. Back on the ground moments later, she’s high-fiving the safety crew.
Arm in arm, Tiffany and Nino walk to Chicken Charlie’s for fried Oreos and a Krispy Kreme triple cheeseburger, the latter of which is comprised of two doughnuts, three beef patties and lots of cheese. (Eat your heart out, Paula Deen... it may be stopping soon, anyway.)
As the sun sets, the couple jumps back into the limo for the ride to dinner at East Village’s ACME Southern Kitchen, a creation by restaurateur Teryl Gavre (Café 222, Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, Bake Sale Cafe & Bakery). Once inside, they sit in a booth by a window overlooking E Street and order appetizers before being split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How’s it going so far?
It’s going really well. He’s not really funny, but he’s really fun to laugh at [laughs]... in a good way.
Good, I like it a lot. She’s really easy to talk to, and we have a lot of stuff in common. She doesn’t get scared and she’s not timid. That’s what I like.
What were your first impressions?
My first impression was that he was a total beefcake that lived in Clairemont and drove a big truck.
Well, we both have tattoos. She’s a pretty chick; she’s got herself on point. She’s got a good personality and she’s fun to talk to.
Is this the type of person you’d normally date?
I don’t really have a type, so yes. Does he have a pulse?
Yeah, I kinda go through phases. She’s someone I might have dated five or six years ago, and then I went into a different phase. For the last few years, I’ve been more into ethnic chicks. Now, I’m kind of over that and back into what I dated before... which are chicks like her.
How was the Fair?TIFFANY:
The fair was fun. I haven’t been in a while, so it was good.
The fair was cool. I haven’t been in a couple years. I wish we could’ve stayed longer.
How was bungee jumping?
That was pretty scary, actually. I had never done anything like that, but I figured, PacificSD’s paying for it, so I better. I called him a big, fat pussy for not doing it.
It looks a lot higher once you’re up there, but she handled it. She called me a big pussy, then jumped off. I thought that was pretty cool.
How was the fried food?
The Krispy Kreme burger was so good; I’m definitely having that at my next dinner party. And then the deep-fried Oreo - I’ve had it before, and it was equally as disgusting as before, but delicious at the same time.
I had fried Oreos for the first time. They were amazing. I’ve actually really wanted to try the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger, which was so good, too.
What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
Helped me in and out of the car.
Oddly enough, I think it’s when she called me a big pussy and jumped off the ledge of the bungee jump with no fear. That was pretty badass. Chicks can be hot or whatever, but there’s hot, and then there’s hot and having a little bit of an edge to you.
What would your parents say if you brought your date home?
My mom would probably say, “You should get pregnant as soon as possible.”
Half of my family hates tattoos, half of them don’t care, so it depends which half she saw. But I definitely think they’d like her.
Rate your date on a scale of one to 10 for looks.
Probably a nine.
How about personality?
Do you want to kiss your date now?
No, I think I want to make him work for it.
I’m still taking my time.
Does your date want to kiss you?
I honestly have no idea.
Tiffany says Nino’s a beefcake. He says he liked when she called him “a big pussy.” There’s no way this date isn’t going to end well, or at least with a good story.
SO FAIR, SO GOOD
It’s a match, from midair to mid-date
s the couple’s entrees arrive, the camera crew finally leaves them alone to enjoy the rest of their evening in privacy. The next morning, we call to see what we missed.
PacificSD: How was dinner at ACME Southern Kitchen?
I don’t know where one gets rooster wallpaper, but that is the jam. I really liked that place, reminds me of growing up in Florida, although Nino told me that Florida isn’t really the “South.”
I thought the place did a great job of matching the décor and music with the southern food, and loved the Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson playing the whole time.
What did you eat and drink there?
I had a glass of chardonnay and tons of food - deviled eggs, my fave; fried tomatoes; and chicken and waffles with collard greens on the side.
I had some pinot noir and the pulled pork sandwich with mac ‘n’ cheese.
What did you do after dinner?
We took the limo to the wrong Marriott, which was totally my fault. Then went to Altitude and had a shot of Jameson, water, and a vodka and soda. Then we went to my house.
After ACME, we went to the Altitude rooftop lounge for some drinks and to hangout.
When did you get home?
We got to mi casa at midnight. I changed into sweats; we listened to music and had a beer to finish up the calorie-dense evening.
At 1:30 a.m., I think.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
I think I kissed him first.
I never kiss and tell.
What two things would you change about your date to make the person a better fit for you?
His soul patch and the amount of gel he wears in his hair.
I’m a late-night person, and she’s an early morning person; but besides that, I wouldn’t really change anything.
What was the best part of the date?
Eating chicken and waffles. Hanging out at my house and watching him pick through my iTunes was good, too.
He is in denial. He thinks the hair growing underneath his bottom lip isn’t a soul patch... and that women like it.
The bungee jumping. I hate heights.
Will there be a second date?
We talked about going paddle boarding. He can ask me again sans alcohol. I would totally go and get to know him. He is deeper and more complex than he seems on the surface.
If going to punk rock shows and paddle boarding is considered a date, then yes.
Nino was scared to jump but bold enough to admit it, which helped Tiffany see past his hair gel and all the way to a kiss. It just goes to show, being a “big, fat pussy” doesn’t mean you can’t also be the cat’s whiskers (aka soul patch).
Tiffany said she was looking for a guy who’s “fit, fearless and into good music.” That’s two out of three for young Nino. As a sheep in the Fair’s petting corral might bleat, not baaaaaaad.
ACME Southern Kitchen
901 E St., East Village
San Diego County Fair
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
(Amusement Management International)
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