So, one day it happens. You’re sitting there, pretending to study, and you see the little envelope pop up. You’ve got mail. Of course, you stop all attempts at studying and alt-tab over to Outlook. Job offer? Social invitation? Another duplicative HBS club email? Another duplicative HBS club email? And there it was—an invitation from Uncle Jordy to go on a Harbus Intraview. Immediately my suspicions were raised—Uncle Jordy is a well-known “Stanfurd” fan who shoulders a tremendous inferiority complex towards Cal graduates. Could this be a set-up? Was I destined to have a romantic candlelight dinner with Uncle Jordy’s midget cousin from the circus? I sat in a cold sweat thinking through the possibilities.
Uncle Jordy came through in style, however, when he announced the pairings. I discovered I would be spending the date with Amy Reinhard. After spending some quality time checking out her classcard, I was pretty excited—great picture, diverse interests, no obvious felony convictions—all good things. Not quite satisfied with this information, I started to call around. That’s when things got intimidating. Phrases like “world-class softball player” were being thrown around. I heard rumors of a stellar start-up she had founded going strong in San Diego. Certain members of Section C talked about virtuoso class comments that combined the eloquence of a poet-laureate with the studied thoughts of a think tank. I’m a simple man from Wisconsin with a penchant for danger and a weakness for alcohol. I started thinking: could I hold my own against this Renaissance woman?
I figured something athletic was in order for our Saturday date—Amy proposed Paintball, but recurring nightmares from my last paintball expedition nixed that idea. (Damn you, Petter Johnsson.) I came back with indoor rock climbing, to which she agreed. The first dilemma of the date was how to get to Dracut, home of Massachusetts’ sketchiest rock gym. Both Amy and myself are carless dorm dwellers, so I went to my peeps in the House of D for support. Luckily, Cecily Kovatch, Section D social chair, came through with her tricked-out, leather-seated Chevy Tahoe. Her only condition was that I allude to the sweetness of her car in the Intraview write-up. FYI, if any of you guys ever want to ride in Cecily’s passenger seat, please give her a call at 555-0305. [Hey, you Berkeley bastard, Cecily’s next up in Intraview-land. Don’t be cuttin’ in on my match makin’ action! —UJ]
With car in tow, I showed up at Amy’s door at 2 PM on Saturday afternoon, as agreed. A little nervous, I knock. And wait. And knock. A flood of thoughts rushed through my mind. Stood up for a Harbus date? Is Uncle Jordy really that bitter about The Play? [OK, he’s talking about how Cal stole victory from Stanford on the contoversial last play of Big Game in 1982, spoiling John Elway’s last college game. —UJ] Will this be the shortest Intraview in history? As I try to think of some plausible answer that doesn’t make me look like an idiot, Amy comes walking up, looking great. I wipe the sweat from my brow, and we head off to Dracut.
Now, directions and driving were never my strong suits, so it was little surprise that our 45-minute trip to Dracut took about an hour and a half. Luckily, Amy was a great conversationalist and an even stronger map reader. We discovered we were both Midwesterners who fell in love with California. We were both disappointed the summer job bank didn’t include more listing like “golf instructor” and “bartender.” By the time we got to the rock climbing gym, I was relatively confident I could trust Amy not to drop me from great heights.
Our 17-year old rock-climbing guide, however, inspired less confidence. I think he may have learned some of his knots from the back of cereal boxes right before he taught them to us. As these knots would keep Amy and I secure thirty feet up in the air, I found myself often thinking—how much can you really learn from Cap’n Crunch?
Nonetheless, we had a great time. We each had a couple falls that had the other climbers ready to call 911, but we managed to catch each other in time. After all, it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the ground.
After the climb, we headed back to Boston, and decided to grab some dinner. Amy asked for dinner suggestions, and I proposed we drive around until we see a restaurant neither of us had been to previously, and then try it out. This served the very useful purpose of disguising the fact that I had no idea how to get back to Cambridge.
Nonetheless, we did find some great food at the Middle East. Dinner was as fun as the ride up to Dracut. Amy can carry a great conversation on a variety of topics, and we always found something new and interesting to talk about.
Alas, like all good things, the night had to come to an end. I actually managed to find Cambridge, and with an eye to future rock climbing adventures, I said goodnight.
I have to admit I was a little hesitant to commit to an Intraview when asked by Uncle Jordy. I’ve had one blind date in my life. He was five inches shorter than me. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) The date ended when he threw up all over me before being whisked away to the hospital. Don’t ask.
So I was quite excited to find out that I had been paired up with one of HBS’s more eligible bachelors. I had some Foundations classes with Cyrus, but didn’t know too much about him. I did know that many girls would love to share his company on any given day…
As both of us are pretty active, we decided to try indoor rock-climbing. Cyrus found a great gym right outside Boston but it was booked solid. Our next alternative was a gym about thirty miles away in Dracut, near the border of New Hampshire. As luck would have it, Cyrus had actually been to Dracut earlier in the year and knew exactly how to get there. Maybe those weren’t his precise words.
He picked me up at 2 PM and we started our journey and the process of getting to know each other. I had always pegged him to be a native Californian. I was surprised to find out that, like me, Cyrus was actually raised in the Midwest. After watching Point Break he was lured to attend college on the West Coast. It should be noted, however, that he was deeply disappointed by the beaches in northern California, which looked nothing like the beaches in the movie. (This is the reason why Southern California is so much better than Northern California!)
I didn’t realize we were slightly off the beaten path until around 3:30 when Cyrus confessed, “I’m not too good with directions.” The upside of a detour is that you get to see parts of Massachusetts that are nothing like Harvard Square. We saw the Merrimack River, from MANY different angles, and Malden Mills, which had been destroyed by fire in the early 90s.
We finally arrived at the gym around 4:30. Actually, “gym” might be a bit of an exaggeration. It was an old converted warehouse with a climbing wall and various pieces of furniture and decorations that were apparently salvaged from a local dumpster. But we were there to climb and the various climbing walls looked quite challenging.
We got our gear together and Cyrus changed. After getting the 411 on safety and knot-tying, at which Cyrus is much better than I, we tackled a few walls. Two questions to ask yourself before agreeing to go climbing: 1) Do you trust the person you are with? You are tethered together and he/she ultimately controls your life. 2) Can you deal with looking like an idiot? You will have gear strapped around your thighs and waist for the duration of the date and tugging on anything you wear beneath it. And climbing shoes are about ten times as ugly as the worst pair of bowling shoes ever imagined. Cyrus looked great though…I can only imagine that those runner’s legs looked quite nice in a pair of heels at the Priscilla ball. (Can I say
Climbing is a hard sport. Cyrus handled each wall very skillfully though. There was one incident where he almost fell to his death twenty feet below, but we won’t get into it. Details.
Having succumbed to acute climbing-induced arthritis, as the sport’s quite a workout on your fingers, we headed back to Cambridge. We grabbed some grub at The Middle East in Central Square and enjoyed some more great conversation before calling it a night.
All in all, a terrific date….much better than my first blind date. Cyrus is extremely charming, intelligent, polite, considerate—he opened each and every door for me, and gets along great with his mother. Can you find a better guy than that?