Get us in your inbox


Meet the Undateables: Sammi and El-Hajj

Each week, we take two New Yorkers who swear they’re totally undateable, and put our matchmaking skills to the test

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason


Photograph: Ann Sullivan

Why they’re single:
Sammi: She recently got out of a long-term relationship and works late.
El-Hajj: A combination of bad timing and not always knowing the right thing to say.

Ideal date:
Sammi: Grabbing a coffee and then going for a walk
El-Hajj: An activity like bowling or pool


First impression
Sammi: “Right away, I noticed he was very well dressed. He seemed friendly, and there was never really a lull in the conversation. Nothing felt awkard.”
El-Hajj: “She looked really nice and wholesome and down-to-earth. I don’t think I’ve dated anyone like her, but she seemed like someone I’d enjoy spending time with.”

Sammi: “I think a little bit. It’s so hard to tell on a first date. It definitely felt friendly, and I’d definitely go out with him again to see where things might go.”
El-Hajj: “I felt chemistry. There were a few times when I would say something, and she’d repeat it. It felt like there was a good connection. We were on the same page on a lot of topics.”

Awkward Moment
Sammi: “The restaurant kept bringing out things for us  to try, so there were a lot of dishes. I think there were, like, four different types of olive oil. It was a lot.”
El-Hajj: “I didn’t have one with her, so that was good. But our waiter kept coming back at bad moments and breaking the chain of conversation.  He brought out a lot of food.”

Sammi: “We went to go get ice cream afterward, and then we both walked to the train. We exchanged numbers and went our seperate ways. There was a hug but no kiss.”
El-Hajj: “I’m vegan, so I suggested that we check out this nearby ice cream place with some vegan options. So, we walked over there and talked a little more.”

Sammi: ♥ “It was a perfectly lovely first date. I was surprised that it wasn’t more awkward—I’ve had a lot more awkward first OK Cupid dates. But that’s a different conversation.”
El-Hajj:  “I would say it went really well—definitely unexpected, but in a good way. She was really funny. We have plans to see a movie soon at Alamo Drafthouse.”

Our daters went to Buenos Aires (513 E 6th St, 212-228-2775)

RECOMMENDED: See more Undateables

Want to be set up on a free blind date? Email

Some first date ideas in NYC

  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Williamsburg

The vibe: Weird art hangs behind the bar, one needs a urinal Rosetta stone to decipher the bathroom graffiti, and the bartender will get your date another $3 happy-hour PBR when he’s damn well ready.
What that means for you: Dive-bar enthusiasm may not scream high-class marriage material, but a hole-in-the-wall should provide plenty of opportunities to get to know your date’s personality (and possibly see how handy they are in a bar fight).
Don’t do this: Use the relatively cheap drinks as an excuse to get hammered and play Bryan Adams anthems on the jukebox. That’s not as ironclad a method to get lucky as it might seem when you’re drunk.
Chances for a second date: The scuzzy dive is a good litmus test for people who want to date people who like scuzzy dives. You’ll know early on whether or not it’s going to work.
Where to go: Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern

Bowling alley
  • Things to do
  • Concerts
  • Williamsburg

The vibe: Fun and lively, hitting the lanes is a nice option if you’re worried about having to maintain conversation over the course of an evening.
What that means for you:
Bowling can be a goofy, low-pressure dating activity. On the other hand, things could go south quickly if your date’s hand gets stuck in the ball return. 
Don’t do this:
Be super competitive. Keep things loose; the last thing anyone needs is to get a pitcher of Bud Light dumped on their head for doing the dirty bird after rolling a turkey.
Chances for a second date:
Better than your chances of picking up that seven-ten split.
Where to go:
Brooklyn Bowl,

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Greenwich Village

The vibe: Coffee may be code, in some circles, for sex, but meeting at a hip joe joint is bold (and not just in terms of the rich, flavorful beans). Without the aid of alcohol to smooth away jitters, it’s up to you to supply the entertainment.
What that means for you:
Going for coffee severely reduces the chances of a drunken hookup, but it’s a solid bet if you’re looking for more than a slobbery one-night stand.
Don’t do this:
Go to Starbucks. And while you might enjoy a half-caf, no-foam, extra-vanilla-soy-whatever on your own time, keep things simple; you don’t want to seem fussy from the get-go. (Your barista will thank you, too.) 
Chances for a second date:
Pretty high, unless you’re simply not simpatico. Casual, nonsloshed conversation allows you to feel one another out (figuratively) and get a sense of whether or not there’s a connection.
Where to go:
Stumptown Coffee Roasters,

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Financial District

The vibe: Dark, dim and slightly intimidating, this place likely has “mixologists” rather than bartenders, and most of the drinks on the menu are served in a martini glass. What that means for you: Bringing someone to a swanky spot on the first date is a baller move. It means you’re taking the outing seriously, and as such, you should be taken seriously. It also means an empty wallet at the end of the night.
Don’t do this:
Act snooty just because your drink is a perfectly chilled mix of freshly squeezed juices, handcrafted bitters and top-shelf liquor. No one likes a hoity-toity jerk. (Also: If you’re going to pretend to be a big shot, don’t forget to tip like one.)
Chances for a second date:
Good, although setting a high standard early in the relationship might be laying the groundwork for a qualitative letdown later.
Where to go:
The Dead Rabbit,

Your couch
Photograph: iStockphoto

Your couch

The vibe: Comfortable, familiar, smells slightly gamy. Sometimes the best first date is getting stoned and watching cartoons while sharing your extravagantly uncomfortable Ikea cushions.
What that means for you:
This is without question the most risky destination to suggest, but also the one with the biggest potential payoff. The question “Your place or mine?” is already settled.
Don’t do this:
Assume that everyone likes to pick Doritos out of the couch and use takeout napkins for toilet paper as much as you do. Spend a couple hours straightening up the place. Just because you’re not going out for a fancy dinner doesn’t mean your potential sweetie wants to smell three-week-old leftovers.
Chances for a second date:
This one is more about you than the venue, so bring your A-game. If you do land a callback, though, consider going someplace outside a five-foot radius of your TV.

    You may also like
    You may also like

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!