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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

Will Gleason
Written 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

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

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!

  • 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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  • Things to do
  • Flatiron

The Museum of Sex always has something exciting going on behind closed doors. "Super Funland: Journey into the Erotic Carnival" is back and better than ever with its 4-D immersive “Tunnel of Love” ride, the Love & Lust Deity Derby game, an erotic fortune-telling machine (modeled as RuPaul), a kissing booth, the Glory Stall game, an immersive "Stardust Lane - the Erogenous Kaleidoscope," an erotic mechanical bull and a lit-up climbing structure, "The Climbx," and more. Then when it's time to take the edge off, visitors can slide down a spiral slide into the Museum’s psychedelic carnival bar, Lollipop Lounge, for cocktails. 

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  • 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. 

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Get to know your date by performing a bank heist, a science experiment gone wrong or escaping from an ancient Egyptian tomb—that is, by solving an escape room! Since most escape rooms are blessedly climate controlled, these games are also an excellent thing to do on a rainy day. Take a look at best puzzle games and escape rooms in NYC below and get ready to put your wits to the test. 

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  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Midtown East

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.

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  • 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. 

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops

From basic culinary skills to cooking with wine to rolling sushi, these couples cooking classes aim to entertain and educate. You’re sure to grow closer as you mix ingredients with your special someone. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a kitchen competition — these classes contain knives!

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the best New York attractions for a reason—it has a 50-acre forest, a palace modeled after Spain’s Alhambra, a rose garden, an observatory and plenty of spots to hideaway from it all. Plus, it hosts plenty of beloved events like winter's Holiday Train Show and the Orchid Show. During the fall, its collection of pumpkins is epic. This kind of date is for those who want to escape from the city without actually leaving.

  • 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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  • Things to do

Stop and smell the roses (or the tulips) with your date at one of these incredible gardens inside NYC parks like Central Park or visit New York's various conservatories (like the one at the New York Botanical Garden), or at secret gardens in NYC that provide rare moments of solitude in a city packed with eight million people. Note that most of the stunning botanical gardens are requiring pre-reserved tickets at this time, so check their websites before heading out.

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  • Things to do
  • Downtown Brooklyn

The seasonal Dreamland Roller Disco in Prospect Park 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. From Gaga vs Madonna to Soul Train to Y2K Disco, you're bound to find the perfect theme that will get you going regardless of your skating skills.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Coby Club is a subterranean lounge on Seventh Ave that’s inspired by 1960s San Francisco nightlife. The lush space pays homage to San Francisco Chinatown nightlife in the 1960s and one woman in particular who was at the heart of it: Miss Coby Yee, the glamorous dancer and owner of the iconic club Forbidden City. With black velvet banquettes and red, silk-shaded lighting, this is the spot to kindle romance.

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