Single and Ready to Mingle


Artwork by Joey Paolucci ‘22

I don’t know if you have ever found yourself googling “how to go on a blind date,” but recently, after a fortuitous series of events, I discovered myself there. First dates are hard. Especially when they are blind first dates. There is no name. No Instagram stalking. You do not even know if you will like the person.

The beginning of this story starts off just like any other Thursday afternoon. I was in an RJ Media meeting when Mrs. Arduini suggested a blind date as a piece for the magazine. I quickly volunteered myself, misunderstanding the fact this would be for the magazine and not RJTV. I envisioned a very awkward date segment, which would fall in line with RJTV’s cringy comedy skits and my dry humor. I would later find out there would be no “lights, camera, action.”  Instead, I would have to write about my date.

On the morning of the date, I was excited to try something new. I am naturally a very reserved person, so this date was far outside of my comfort zone. I woke up early to make myself look decent, but, unfortunately, my hair did not cooperate.

I went through my day as normal, while casually dropping to some of my friends that I would be going on a date that night. Their response was a chorus of squealing and giggles. A few of my friends wanted to FaceTime me while I was on the date, to make sure he was not going to kidnap me. I reassured them by saying that he couldn’t even drive.

The end of the school day finally arrived, and it was time to meet the “mystery” man. ( Major disclaimer: the boys that set me up were not the best at hiding my date’s name, because there were a lot of issues finding a date and then scheduling.) I walked into the media room with butterflies in my stomach and a smile on my face, looking around to get a clue of who it might be. Quite honestly, I did not really know what was going on when I was introduced to my date. There were many RJ Media Club members in proximity to our introduction, watching our initial interactions with great amusement.

My date turned out to be Francesco, whom I had met about a year prior at Regis Jesuit’s Day for Others. Francesco and I began with introductions and then started to walk out with our Uber drivers/photographers, Sophia Marcinek ’20 and Hunter Sullivan ’20. While in the (very long) car ride, be it less them five minutes away, Cesco and I found a few commonalities, two of which were writing and a shared interest in musicals. I was impressed to hear that he played Grandpa Jo in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory,” and that he is learning to play the saxophone. Francesco has a silvery voice and charisma that keeps you in tune with his stories. I enjoyed listening to his clever and intriguing narratives of his times on and off the stage.

Before arriving at the bowling alley, I warned Francesco that I’m awful at bowling—which, as he would later discover, is no lie. “You know, I’m not going to lie to you, I have my on and off days with bowling,” he replied. (Yay for me.) When we entered the bowling alley, our gift card from RJ Media was not able to pay for bowling. We called over Sophia. She rang up Mrs. Arduini, who would later come to the rescue. While waiting for her, Cesco and I went over to the bar. This is probably the only moment when everything felt like an actual date. We were sitting next to each other, sipping on water. Here we had sort of moved away from the small talk, and had a deeper and more personal conversation.[SH3]  I opened up about my brother with autism, and Francesco empathized with me as he told me stories of his disabled aunt.

Then came the hour of my “destruction”/humiliation/most embarrassing moment of my entire life…we began bowling. It was gutter-ball, after gutter-ball, after gutter-ball. (Obviously, I am by no means athletic.) Francesco crushed me in our first round and teased me for all of my gutter balls. As a person who gets embarrassed and awkward easily, I would like to publicly apologize to Cesco for my awkwardness.

Sometimes he’d hit the “woah” after making strikes. He even bet a dollar that he’d hit the last, standing pin. Which he did and I still owe him a dollar for.  Fortunately for my uncoordinated and un-athletic self, I improved a lot in bowling by the end of our date, with a few tips and pointers from him. We almost tied in the last game, but apparently bowling backward works very well for Francesco.

Francesco is the type of person you feel like you’ve known for years. He is very easy-going and laid back. This was very well suited for my quiet mannerisms. It has always been hard for me to cultivate new relationships, including friendships, specifically the early stages. Although there wasn’t much chemistry between either of us in a romantic way, I would say Francesco was a very good match for me. (The “friend-zone” was mutual.) I think our personalities balanced well, as I am quiet and an introvert and he is extroverted and talkative.

Learning about someone else is basically the purpose of a date. Although our date was lighthearted and lively, it can be very hard to get to know me well.  Afterward, I felt like I came off as uninterested and boring, due to my shyness. But overall, I had a really great time making a new bowling friend. I would 10 out of 10 recommend trying to go on a date with Francesco.