The Harbus Intraview

My Date With A Former Phone-Sex Operator
By Kimberly McClure

…Well, okay, so I was just trying to get your attention with the title, but the many phone conversations I had with Lincoln Alabaster before we met were just as entertaining …assuming anyone who ever calls phone sex lines is only in it for the laughs.

When Goldie asked me if I’d be willing to participate in the HBS Intraview, I was game from the start. I thought if nothing else, it would make for an interesting story to tell my grandchildren someday. A few weeks later, she came to me with news that the guy she had in mind for me was “a complete hottie” (exact words), and there was even a guy from HBS – we’ll call him Dave – who admitted that Lincoln Alabaster was a sight to behold.

Needless to say, my interest was definitely peaked. Although we didn’t actually meet until last Friday, Goldie put us in touch with each other in early December. During our first phone conversation – which lasted four hours – a few common interests surfaced.

Coincidentally, we discovered that we shared a compulsion for over-analyzing the social implications of the most recent box office hits (The Green Mile, Baby Boy, Vanilla Sky, etc.) as well as secret desire to produce the Great American Film before life was all said and done. Not only was Lincoln rumored to fine-as-all-outdoors, but from our many phone conversations, he seemed to have a lot of personality, a great sense of humor, and a very sexy voice (hey, Linc, if the film industry doesn’t work out, phone sex operator might not be a bad second choice).

Having established all of that over the phone, I couldn’t wait to put a face to the voice that had already become quite familiar. Don’t ask why, but I’ll admit that I was a little nervous. I guess things seemed to be going a little too well, and I suspected that there had to be a catch. To my delight, however, Lincoln just kept on racking up points from the moment I opened the door. First, there were the flowers. Now, I come from the school of thought that red roses are clich‚. Guys only give those when they’re too unimaginative to come up with anything else (and if they’re really dull, they bring carnations).

Since this may be my only opportunity to educate fellas on this issue, let me make it known that women are much more impressed when guys bring flowers that show a little forethought and creativity. Lincoln surprised me with a bunch of African Violets to celebrate my recent vacation to Ethiopia….and yeah, he brought me a red rose, too, but I figured he was just trying to cover all his bases.

We went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant off of Newbury Street. Later, we headed to Scullers Jazz Club for some mellow after-dinner entertainment, complete with dimmed lights, a little hand-holding, and while Lincoln doesn’t drink, he insisted that I have a glass of wine (sounds like a set-up). Afterwards, we headed back to my place and did what most couples do after spending a nice, romantic evening

together….enjoyed another 3 hours of great conversation (what were you thinking? After all, I go to the Kennedy School remember, and it’s well-known that unlike businesspeople, government officials don’t engage in questionable behavior.)

I Got the Hook-Up
By R. Lincoln Alabaster

If I had a dollar for every time in the last two years that someone tried to hook me up on a blind date, this dismal job market would be irrelevant to me. Does this mean that my friends think that I am desirable, or just desperate? Somehow, though, Goldie persuaded me to participate in the Intraview. I had not signed up for this, but I figured, what do I have to lose? No one reads this anyway, right? (Sorry, Goldie. I was just kidding.)

So to start this all off, I need to know: when is a blind date not a blind date? That was the question I was presented with when I finally met Kimberly McClure, a student at the Kennedy School of Government, last Friday night for our date. You see, Goldie first asked me if I was interested in participating in the Intraview sometime last December. While Kim and I did not see one another until Friday, we had an opportunity to speak on the phone numerous times before then. I estimate the total talk time before the date at around 14 hours (!). Was this cheating? I don’t know. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this as a way to meet someone. I had the opportunity to know and like Kim purely based on her personality, which I would describe as warm, witty, and wise despite her youth of 22 years.

When I arrived at her door, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the charming young lady I had begun to know on the phone was also quite attractive in person. The “blind date” was a very comfortable experience because we already established a rapport. We had dinner in the Back Bay area at an Italian restaurant named Papa Razzi -Stephanie’s on Newbury was my first choice, but I had found out earlier that evening that they were closed for renovation (gentlemen, ALWAYS call ahead to make reservations!). I am happy to say the date was an extension of the conversations we had been having on the phone. We discussed topics such as family, our ideas of the ideal mate, and KSG vs. the Business School. Apparently, the folks over at KSG think that we, the B-School students, are elitist and exclusionary. The nerve!

Anyhow, Papa Razzi was a nice intro to the evening, which continued at the Scullers Jazz Club. The talent for the night, Carol Sloane, was not exactly Ella Fitzgerald – who is? – but I enjoyed the show and Kim’s company (certainly not in that order). It was a chilly night on Friday, and seeing as I had forgotten my gloves, my hands were a bit frozen by now. This was OK, because Kim kindly warmed my hands with hers. A strategic move? I’ll never tell…

After all that jazz, I drove Kim back to her apartment, where she showed me pictures of her recent trip to Ethiopia and her Stanford graduation pictures from (yikes!) 2001. One of the things that most impressed me about Kim is how well traveled she is. It turns out that I am also one who enjoys frequent vacations. Well, at this point it was getting late and we were both tired, so I finally got the boot. We hugged, and I used the opportunity to ask Kim out to the movies on Saturday night. Through her sleepiness, she agreed. Another strategic move? hmmm….
I don’t know what will happen between Kim and me, but I am pleased with things so far. So for now, to all my friends and acquaintances-no more blind dates, please!

February 11, 2002
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