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The Intraview

Never Say ‘Never Date’ Again
By Irina Zavina (NJ)

For some reason, even a wise woman like Goldie had difficulties finding that perfect match for me. Perhaps she thought I was picky. Or maybe the “Partner: James Bond” and “Interests: Men’s Swimming, Chocolates and Salsa Dancing” fields on my classcard just seemed too stand-offish to some?

However, at the end of the day, Goldie knew her trade quite well. With a track record like hers – especially considering the audience she has to deal with – Goldie probably knows my needs better than I do! I was to go out with Taylor Hinshaw. I really didn’t care what we did, because I knew that no matter what, I would have fun and make a new friend. At the same time, Taylor had quite a task. Reading my classcard probably was not that helpful, and having to follow the many interesting, creative, and unusual dates described in this very respectable column required some serious imagination. I have to wonder, though: Why don’t I go on, and hear more of, such incredibly inventive dates in real life? Maybe I just haven’t met the right guy yet. But I’ll keep looking, and my optimism has definitely improved since meeting Taylor.

After a really nice get-to-know one another brunch at a very cute place on Tremont Street, we headed for a Sunday afternoon of car racing at a Formula 1 track in Braintree, MA. Typical of many before us, despite the detailed and seemingly simple directions along Highway 93 (also known as 3 or 128), of course we got lost on our way there. Leveraging his strong analytical skills, Taylor was able to reorient and find our way there with no further complication.

However, when we got to the racing track, I realized that I didn’t have my license. I was very worried that I would not be allowed to race, but Taylor remained cool, and suggested that we should just ask and worry later. It was so nice when you have someone who uses reason and not emotions to solve problems. It all turned out well. Using his incredible charms Taylor convinced a receptionist that I was indeed of a legal driving age. With all this behind us, and after a 10-minute video on safety and regulation, we were ready for the race. I didn’t realize that this was serious until I received a bright red racing suit, neck guard and helmet with a visor. Plus, everyone we were going to race against looked pretty seasoned. At 3 PM we were ready to go. Unfortunately, time on the track flew by so fast that by the time I finally got the hang of it and lost all my fear, it was over. To my surprise I wasn’t last to finish. Taylor was. I am still convinced he purposely did it. And even if not, I really liked the idea of it. I ended the race with my heart pumping and my cheeks flushed – not a bad way to end a date either!

At the end of the day, Taylor exceeded all my expectations! I was very impressed with all the effort and time he put into this whole process. And to tell you the truth, I will remember our date for a while. Although a bit nervous at first – as I really do live up the “bad female driver” stereotype – I was really excited about this whole idea of racing, action, and speed. Plus, it made me feel a little bit like a real James Bond girl – or a Tom Cruise chick craving “the need to speed.” Back at school, I realized I got to know a great, very funny, down to earth, considerate, sensitive, and charming guy. He didn’t really strike me as my James Bond to start with, but after the excitement of our mission together, I will surely keep in touch with him…

From Russia with Love
By Taylor Hinshaw (OA)

After six months of radio silence, I received word last week that I’d been selected for the Intraview. I hadn’t been this excited since I received that e-mail from Send-A-Crush.com! Fortunately I would find out the identity of the other person without inadvertently spamming the world. I soon learned that I would be taking out a first year, Irina Zavina.
As usual, I made the obligatory trip to the classcard to glean some background information. Much to my chagrin, Irina listed a partner: James Bond. That was intriguing. On the one hand, Bond has great taste in women – definitely a plus. On the other hand, I worried that her expectations might be too high. But I was cautiously optimistic that we could enjoy a day that was as exciting as the typical Bond movie.
I initially suggested a Diamonds are Forever Intraview in Las Vegas. After all, if the day went really well, we could take advantage of a drive-thru chapel on the outskirts of town. If it didn’t … well, there was always The Crazy Horse. Vegas proved to be a bust however, and we then discussed the quintessential Bond experience: Formula One racing. I briefly looked into flights to Monte Carlo. Man, was I excited: Baccarat, high octane racing, gorgeous Russian women – the perfect Intraview! Then I realized that the Grand Prix of Monaco wasn’t until May. That’s when inspiration struck – instead of Monte Carlo, we’d travel to F1 Boston to experience Boston’s only indoor kart racing track.
Before racing, Irina and I went to brunch at the Metropolis Caf‚. There I began to understand her fascination with James Bond. Irina was born and raised in the Republic of Belarus, part of the old Soviet Union. She casually mentioned that she had once been deemed a security risk by a leading US defense firm. Wow! It was like having lunch with Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye. Who was this woman? Was I falling prey to the Siren’s song of a beautiful KGB spy? I didn’t seem to know what was real and fantasy anymore … was this a movie?
I contemplated this turn of events as we drove to F1 Boston. I was rudely awoken from my Nash-like reverie when I realized we were lost. Eventually, though, we arrived at F1 and soon were in the driver’s ready room. The adrenaline began to flow shortly after I changed into my flame-retardant jump suit and strapped on my racing helmet. As we made our way to the track, I noticed a fellow racer bore an uncanny resemblance to Jaws, the steel-toothed assassin from Moonraker.
I was surprised by the realism of the racing experience. The karts had the acceleration of a Lotus and the handling of a Bentley. By the tenth lap, Irina and I were challenging for the lead. That’s when disaster struck. I maneuvered to the inside in an attempt to pass her on a hairpin turn. As I made my move, “Jaws” bumped me from behind. My kart slid up under the guard rail, pinning my leg and trapping me inside. Other racers continued to fly past – their attitude was definitely Live & Let Die -and I began to worry that this Intraview might land me in the hospital. By the time I returned to the race, I’d lost four laps. My kart damaged, my leg injured, I limped to pit row and finished in last place. Irina, in contrast, did considerably better – she won the race!
On the drive back to Cambridge, Irina and I enjoyed the spectacular Boston sunset. As we gazed at the horizon, I realized that this was the perfect ending to the perfect Bond Intraview. The company was fantastic, the adrenaline had flowed copiously, and the night was still young. More adventures would await us upon our return to campus, but I’m afraid that’s For Her Eyes Only.

March 25, 2002
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