Joe and Natalie hit up Manning's Steakhouse to find love and things got ... well ...

Joe and Natalie hit up Manning's Steakhouse to find love and things got ... well ...

SexMarch 04, 2020



Hometown: Mankato, Minn.
Age: 33
Current job: I work for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Zodiac sign: Leo
Favorite color: Black
Pets: Two dogs: Raidon a purebred husky and Yoté a coyote hybrid.
First concert: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Most recent concert: The Gaslamp Killer. It was awesome. 
What’s your type: Brown eyes and skaters. I don’t know!
Deal breakers: Cigarette smoking and alcoholism. Pretty clear boundaries there. 
My friends would describe me as: Loving, supportive and loud. 
Guilty pleasure: Your Mom’s House podcast. It’s about comedy and pooping. It’s Christina P and Tom Segura. I’m not into pooping but they are so funny. They mostly interview other comics and it’s hilarious. It’s out there. 
Celebrity crush: Mila Kunis. Since I was 15. 


Hometown: Cumberland, R.I.
Age: 26
Current job: Client services at personal capital.
Zodiac sign: Aquarius (my birthday was last week). 
Favorite color: Green, in all of its shapes and sizes. 
Pets: No, but I do have a pet nephew. My buddy Jake has a golden retriever named Moose. Moose is my nephew. He’s dumb as a rock but he’s a beautiful dog. 
First concert: James Taylor. And I still love him. 
Most recent concert: Goldfish at The Ogden. My friends are obsessed with him so whenever he’s in Colorado we always go see him. 
What’s your type: Somebody pretty easy going and down to Earth, low maintenance and a good sense of humor. 
Deal breakers: Somebody who will send their meal back if it’s wrong. That’s a big one. I think that encompasses a certain personality type. 
My friends would describe me as: I have one friend who calls me ‘The Mayor’ whatever that means.
Guilty pleasure: Romantic comedies and gummy candy. Also, ice cream. 
Celebrity crush: Gwyneth Paltrow and Margot Robbie. Margot’s basically a younger version of Gwyneth.

Manning’s Steak and Spirits
11100 W Alameda Ave,
Lakewood, Colo. 80226

As we arrive at Manning’s in Lakewood, dusk is settling outside. The mouthwatering smell of grilled steak lingers on the air within — or maybe that’s smell of romance, it’s hard to tell. The scene is set, the time is ripe and our daters show up within moments of one another. Things are off to a hopeful start. 

Describe your dating life in three words:
N: Sporadic, weird, unfortunate. 
J: Pretty good recently.

Have you ever been on a blind date before?
N: I don’t think so. At least not since I was 14. A friend set me up with a guy from a small town outside of where I lived and he became my boyfriend. It was a successful blind date. 
J: No. Blind dates have been eliminated since the advent of social media. I used to do online dating, but not anymore. 

Where do you usually meet potential partners?
N: Online. Tinder, and honestly Instagram has worked for me. I tried all of them but have given up really quickly
J: Mostly just out at bars or parties. Also, a lot through mutual friends, especially one friend Hayden. Thanks Hayden!

What’s your pickup strategy?
N: Compliments and honesty. 
J: Just hopefully make them laugh and see what happens after that. 

Are there any weird dating stories from the past that you’d like to share?
N: I can’t think of anything right now. 
J: One time I went on a Bumble date with a girl. She worked in the oil and gas industry. I made a lot of jokes about how she was destroying the environment and so forth, and then I never saw her again. 

What were you thinking before your Rooster Blind Date?
N: It would be nice to push myself outside of my comfort zone socially. It feels good to be out of my comfort zone.
J: Mostly I hope the other woman shows up. And at the absolute least it’s going to be a funny story for the rest of my life. Even if it’s awful, it will be a funny story. 

Did your friends give you any advice before the date?
N: My assistant at work told me to, ‘Be myself because you’re incredible.’
J: Yeah. They said get a haircut (Stan at Stan’s Downtown Barber’s gave me this haircut. Best deal in downtown Denver, by far). 

What does your ideal date look like?
N: It looks conversational, fun and perhaps involving music. Bass music. I’m not going to say dubstep … But bass music.
J: Happy hour at a dive bar, dinner somewhere, doesn’t matter where, and we finish the night at her place with PBRs in our hand. 

How are the first impressions?
N: Very positive. He’s very friendly and conversational. He’s well dressed, like he put in effort to show up. 
J: Natalie is very nice, very interesting and very fun to talk to. 

Are you attracted to your date?
N: I think slightly, yeah. Intellectually at least, which is most important for me. 
J: Not really. Is that bad? Are you mad at me?

When you saw your date, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
N: That he probably would not be attracted to me. I’m covered in tattoos and he’s in finance. I thought he would be surprised by my appearance. 
J: I guess I didn’t really see her walk in since I got here second. I loved her jacket; she has a fantastic jacket. 

Not a terrible beginning. They may not see sparks (yet) but things are amicable, at least. Although, Don (our server) did note that Joe was on his phone for a while, leaving Natalie looking awkward and bored. Anyway, we order our daters a Green Tea Shot, just to loosen up those love gears and get the night a’rolling!

How was the Green Tea Shot?
N: Really good. I didn’t expect that. Surprising. I’ve never done a Green Tea shot.
J: Delicious. I love Green Tea shots. They are amazing. 

How’s it going overall?
N: Pretty well. He’s really good at conversation. Our waitress is awesome and no I have no complaints. 
J: Not bad. I don’t want to elaborate. It’s going okay.

What are you two talking about?
N: I asked him what his deal breakers and red flags were, and then we were talking about being single and how that is socially in friend groups of all coupled people. Most of our friends are in couples. He was saying his friends signed him up because he’s sick of being a 3rd, 5th or 7th wheel. 
J: Mostly how we ended up in Colorado, what we like to do and stories about where we’re from. 

When was your last relationship?
N: Four years ago. And then 11 years ago. Serious relationships seem hard to find and maintain. 
J: Not since I was in college about 6 years ago. 

What’s something interesting or unique that your date has shared about themselves with you?
N: His passion is Canada. The whole thing. Canadian culture, or something. He specifically is interested in the system of government. I couldn’t make this shit up. That’s what he fucking told me! *cries laughing* Because, they elect parties and not people.
J: She’s a dancer and she did some stuff with Bassnectar. Oh, she had to run away from the police sometime when she was growing up in Minnesota. She hid behind a hay bale. 

On a scale of 0-5 how is the chemistry?
N: You know who he reminds me of? Joe, from ‘You’ on Netflix. It’s good and bad. Everyone’s attracted to Joe from ‘You’ but nobody can explain it. On a scale of 0-5, it’s a 2.
J: Probably a 3.

Do you have any major similarities or differences?
N: We both love weed. No differences … Just put down I love Canada. 
J: *shrugs* I have no idea. No comment? I mean, similarities we can both hold a conversation. 

How was dinner? What did you get?
N: Dinner was fabulous. I had the Salmon Piccata with Potatoes au gratin. Good potatoes. Leah’s suggestion. I’m not supposed to have cheese, but I don’t care those potatoes were good.
J: New York Strip with a side of linguini with red sauce. It was honestly amazing. 

Is Manning’s a good spot for a date?
N: Yes. Highly recommend. Is this really Peyton Manning’s restaurant? Joe said it is.
J: Maybe? I do know that it’s owned by Peyton Manning. Before I heard about the restaurant my friend told me, ‘You know this is Peyton Manning’s restaurant, right?’ I hope to god that Peyton shows up tonight. He’d be like, ‘Oh Joe and Natalie are here for the Rooster date? Here’s a signed jersey!’ But it hasn’t happened yet. 

Would you go on another date with each other?
N: Uh. Probably not. But I’m open. If he wanted to. 
J: Probably not. 

Where do you want the rest of the night to go?
N: To my bed, with my dogs, alone. 
J: I want to smoke a lot of pot and go to bed. 



 “I think they both really liked their food and drinks … but there’s no chemistry.”-Leah

“He was just on his phone which was very awkward. I did see him go to the bathroom while she was being interviewed and he was in there awhile .... we still don’t know if it was a number 1 or a number 2. But we’ve got people working on it.”-Don

Somebody get a bucket, this date is taking on water quick. Maybe those green tea shots weren’t such a good idea after all. At least they both agree that Manning’s makes a bomb dinner. And at least they both love weed and Canada. That’s gotta count for something, right?

(It should be noted, however, that Manning’s Steak and Spirits in fact has no affiliation with Peyton Manning, the football player, whatsoever. Although, according to Leah, they did once have a server named Eli.)

What happened after Rooster left?
N: We finished our drinks and went home separately.
J: We stayed for one more drink and went our separate ways. I think Natalie went to go take a picture of a train?

Did Rooster find a match?
N: Nope.
J: Not this time. Keep trying though!

Was there a goodbye kiss?
N: Not at all.
J: No. Just a tender hug.

How about a second date?
N: Not happening.
J: Probably not.

Overall, how was it?
N: Overall fun and chill. It was a great experience.
J: Even though we weren’t really a match, it was a lot of fun. 10/10 would recommend.

Do you have any advice for future Blind Daters?
N: Blind dates are great practice.
J: Take a shot or two beforehand and keep an open mind. At the very least you’ll have a great story and a lot of laughs. Best case scenario you meet the love of your life. What could go wrong?

Do you have any regrets from last night?
N: None.
J: No ragrets.

What’s next in your dating life?
N: Trying to meet someone in real life, the old-fashioned way.
J: That’s up to the women of the Front Range. I’m at Herb’s on Larimer Street with a PBR in my hand pretty much every Friday and Saturday night, searching for my first ex-wife. Come find me.

Is there anything you want to end with?
N: Connection is hard to find, but dating is a numbers game so even a date fail is a worthy attempt. 
J: Manning’s was awesome. Great steak and Old Fashioneds. Also, many thanks to Stan at Stan’s Downtown Barbers for a great haircut and my friend Anysa for making me look pretty beforehand.

Damn it all again! One of these months we’re going to match up a couple of soulmates. But not this time. This time, for a lack of passion and some strange vibes, our daters diverged, perhaps never to cross paths again. That’s okay, though, because this wasn’t a total love loss. Towards the end of the night, Don, our server, slid a piece of paper across the table towards me.

“In case things didn’t go too well, feel free to pass this along to her. This is my number,” he said with a sly wink.

Don, you dog, you. If only we all had cojones like yours, maybe one of these blind dates would actually work out.