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dating
Photographs: Hollis Johnson

Meet the Undateables: John and Davis

We're setting up New Yorkers who swear they’re totally undateable, and sending them out on socially distanced dates across the city

By Will Gleason
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Why they’re single
John: He hasn't been actively looking since the pandemic started and was focusing on his work before that.
Davis: He recently moved to New York, and it’s been hard to meet gay men his age.

Ideal date:
John: Going to a cocktail bar and getting some small plates
Davis: Anything from a museum to a date an arcade or carnival

THE DATE

First impression
John: "I thought he was great to talk to. He didn’t seem nervous. He also made great eye contact which a lot of people don’t do. He liked theater and musicals. My family’s really into that, but I don’t sing and dance. But I appreciate watching those performers."
Davis: "We actually spotted each other in the lobby, but I didn't know it was him. You could tell he was nervous and wanting to make a good impression. He seemed very put together and poised."

Daters
Photograph: Hollis Johnson


Chemistry
John: "I don’t think there was romantic chemistry, but there was great friendship chemistry. It felt like I was catching up with someone, except it was a blind date. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was just trying to be as open-minded as possible."
Davis: "We could only ever be friends, I think, and it seemed very mutual from the start. I think about 30 minutes in, conversation just kind of became conversation. But he was really good at keeping it up."

Awkward Moment
John: "I confused his name with the photographer's at the start of the date. I’m hoping he didn’t catch it, but he probably did."
Davis: "I would say that the lobby situation at the beginning was awkward. There was definitely some awkwardness at the start of the date, but that was only thing. Other than that, it was pretty uneventful. It was a perfectly fun night."

Daters
Photograph: Hollis Johnson


Dystopia Dating Vibes
John: "I didn’t think it was that weird. We had to wear masks going to the bathroom and before we sat down, but after that it was pretty ok. I think if it was earlier in the summer it would have been more weird."
Davis: "It’s kind of like one of those scenes in a movie where you can tell something dystopic is happening outside of a bubble, but everything’s fine inside of it. If you wanted to frame it as ominous, you could."

Afterward
John: "Toward the end of dinner, he started yawning. I think he was trying to be as discreet as possible, but I was like, oh it’s definitely getting late. We walked to the train together, and then just said goodbye. We didn’t exchange numbers, I didn’t think he wanted to."
Davis: "We walked to the subway together because we were both going the same direction and talked the entire way there. We did a little L curve walk around, and then just said goodbye. We didn’t trade phone numbers. It was one of those things where there was a mutual goodbye."

Daters
Photograph: Hollis Johnson

Verdict [On a scale of five hearts]

John:  "He was so easy to talk to, but I don’t think there was a connection. It was honestly a really fun night, but it just kind of felt like hanging with a friend. What I really liked about it was that because there weren’t any expectations, it was more easy to get into it. The experience was really nice."
Davis: ♥♥♥ " It was a fun time. I think there was a mutual understanding from the start that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. It was very nice, but there were a lot of personality differences that just didn’t click."

Our daters went to Haven Rooftop (132 West 47th St, Midtown)

THE DATE SPOT

John: "It was a beautiful space, and the waiters were really, really awesome. I think it’s a great date spot. For any first date, I think that would be a really good place to go."
Davis: "The food was great. Oh, man. It was an amazing date spot. We decided to share a meat platter. He got pizza with chicken, and I got gnocchi with shrimp. It was all amazing. It was really good."

RECOMMENDED: See more Undateables

Want to be set up on a free blind date? Email undateable@timeout.com.

The best date ideas in NYC

Marie's Crisis
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

Feast at Minetta Tavern, then drink and sing at Marie’s Crisis Café

Restaurants French Greenwich Village

A West Village institution with classy decor, Minetta Tavern serves up that famous burger that’s on your bucket list. After your splurge, turn things up a notch at Marie’s Crisis Café, the iconic piano bar down the street. You can listen to some show tunes and join in the singing once you’ve got a few drinks in you. Who knows, maybe you and your date will harmonize!

Photograph: Francine Daveta

See a burlesque show at the Slipper Room

Nightlife Nightlife Lower East Side

Drop your inhibitions at this seductive, throwback lounge. Cheeky performers will leave you and your date laughing, curious and maybe a bit aroused. From your table by the stage (the space is small enough that there’s not really a bad seat in the house) expect the unexpected as aerial performers, singers, comedians, dancers and sexily clad lads and laddies perform circus and sideshow tricks. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything like it in the Lower East Side—or anywhere else.

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Dreamland Roller Disco
Photograph: Courtesy Dreamland Roller Disco

Couple skate during Dreamland Roller Disco

Things to do Downtown Brooklyn

Dreamland Roller Disco provides a modern twist on a retro date. Besides, isn’t there something cute about falling on your butts together? What makes Dreamland special are its themed nights. February is chock-full of romantic rendezvous, such as the upcoming disco party I Feel Love on Valentine’s Day. 

City Point BKLYN, Downton Brooklyn (dreamlandrollerrink.com). $20–$26 (includes skate rental).

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Porcelain
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

Get cozy on the cheap at Porcelain

Restaurants Austrian Ridgewood

The Austrian-inspired cuisine and lived-in but chic aesthetic make Porcelain a charming first-date option. The prices are refreshingly low, too, with plates in the $10 range. Grab a couple of big, plush chairs, then split brunch and a pastry or three. If that’s not as sweet as can be, we don’t know what is. 

Kick Axe Throwing
Photograph: Courtesy Kick Axe Throwing

Sharpen your skills at Kick Axe Throwing

News Drinking

Craving an out-of-the-ordinary daytime date that doesn’t involve drinking the afternoon away? Kick Axe Throwing, in Gowanus is an urban adventure that's bound to make you look like a badass—plus, it opens at 11am during the week. Before chucking those hatchets, peruse the Runner & Stone café a few blocks away for a caffeine or pastry fix.

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Photograph: Courtesy VR World

Trip out at VR World NYC

Attractions Arcades and amusements Midtown

New York is brimming with unique, exciting activities. But if you’re pining for something truly cutting-edge, explore another city—or another planet, for that matter—by bringing your date to VR World, a theme park that proffers 50 mind-bending interactive experiences.

Photograph: Courtesy Pips / Liz Clayman

Stay for a while (or just a minute) at Pips

Restaurants Italian Brooklyn Heights

Versatility is a key quality in a date spot: somewhere you want to stay but can still bolt if need be. If that’s what you’re seeking, get thee to Jared Braithwaite’s bar Pips, which sports an impressive wine selection alongside small plates inspired by coastal Italian cuisine. Plus, it’s right on Atlantic Avenue, so your subway escape-route options are plentiful. 

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

Bask in the beauty of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens Prospect Park

You and your special someone don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in an idyllic pastoral paradise with this century-old Kings County NYC park. Nestled away by Prospect Park, you’ll find over 50 acres of cherry blossoms, rose gardens and the bright flora of the tropics in the balmy conservatory. No matter the season, you’ll be sure to see beautiful plant life.

Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Gabi Porter

Feast and catch a flick at Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

Why bother going to two separate places when you can combine this classic date at one fantastic eat-in cinema? Grab one of the luxurious, big comfy chairs and take advantage of the table with the seats. Chow down on tacos, burgers, charcuterie or small plates as you take in buzzworthy indie films and retro re-releases. And be sure to take advantage of the sweet cocktail and beer menu. 

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Have a great date in Times Square (really) at Bugis Street Brasserie

Restaurants Chinese Midtown West

No one foresees anything good (with the possible exception of a Broadway show) to come out of Times Square. But consider Bugis Street Brasserie’s laksa: Comprising rice vermicelli, shrimp, chicken, fish cake and bean sprouts, this super-spicy noodle soup is sure to heat up your night. Your date might give you some side-eye as they’re guided into a hotel lobby packed with tourists, but sometimes great things emerge from unexpected places.

St. Luke in the Fields Gardens
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Hold hands in St. Luke in the Fields Gardens

News City Life

Broke, huh? Well, it sounds like you’re craving a space so bucolic, you love birds will forget it’s free of charge! Everyone appreciates a hidden urban oasis, and the St. Luke in the Fields Gardens—just off Hudson Street, between Barrow and Christopher Streets in the West Village—are up there with the best of them.

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