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Derek, left, wearing a red scarf, and Zach, right, wearing a black shirt
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Dating IRL: Derek and Zach

Emma Joyce

Conscious Dating Co helped us find two Sydneysiders looking for love. We sent them on a date to vegan restaurant Bodhi to see if sparks would fly…

Ideal date

Derek: Going to a rooftop bar then a restaurant with a nice view, perhaps overlooking a beach, then going for a walk along the sand or getting dessert.
Zach: Watching a play, or doing a bush walk, rather than a traditional dinner date.  

First impressions

Derek: “I felt like we had polite conversation at the beginning, more like talking to a friend that I haven’t seen in a while. It got more interesting as the night progressed.”
Zach: “He’s really sweet, like a cherub – very nice, but very formal. He has a cherub-like nature but he’s reserved, yet very funny.” 


Derek: “I felt that even though we had things in common, I guess we’re both at different stages in our lives. I felt that the chemistry wasn’t quite there.”
Zach: “I definitely think it’s more of a friend vibe. He’s really lovely and we had a few things in common, like cooking, but it wasn’t really there for me. He’s a really sweet guy, so I can’t imagine him being single for that long.”

Awkward moment

Derek: “I dropped my chopsticks underneath where Zach was sitting, underneath his stool… For me that was the awkward part of the night.”
Zach: “The conversation was going well the whole time – he was very interested – and I talk at a hundred words a minute. We had a running joke because it was a little bit cold, and we were both being a bit of a diva.”


Derek: “I was going to ask him to go out around Circular Quay, but during our date he’d said he’d made plans to see his friend and I didn’t feel like it was my place to invite myself along.”
Zach: “One of my mates is in a band and he had a gig on. I asked Derek to come but it was in Bondi and he lives out west so we went our separate ways. He walked me to the bus stop and we had a chit chat afterwards. He was a real gentleman.”

Second date?

Derek: “I think we’re probably better suited as friends. While the banter was good, it lacked the chemistry, and there’s an age difference, so no I don’t think so.”
Zach: “Not in a romantic sense, but I would be keen to hang out with him or to go to a cooking class – we talked about cooking a lot.”

The Spot – Bodhi

Derek: “I really loved the ambiance. It felt like you weren’t in the city, with the park and the lights, which set the mood – but we were both cold so we had to ask for blankets.”
Zach: “I loved it. There was this cocktail with elderflower and mint, which was really subtle and not too strong – we both liked it. The food was amazing, especially the fake-duck pancakes.”

The verdict

Derek: ♥♥♥ “I did enjoy his company. Maybe I was a bit too serious on the date? I’m always open to putting myself out there to meet new guys. We just didn’t click.”
Zach: ♥♥ "There wasn’t a romantic attraction, but he’s a really sweet guy.”

Hitting it off? Here's a handy list of the most romantic hotels in Sydney

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