Bridge-and-Tunnelling Across the Atlantic
By Eva Papoutsakis (NB)
Truth be told, I was not really up for this date. I had just landed that morning and was exhausted after spending the day running errands and trying to find an Internet connection. Plus, I had already met Martin, and knew him as a great, fun guy. Luckily, I hit a second wind around 8pm, because we ended up having a wonderful time.
Since we were both going to be in London during winter break, we decided to have our Intraview there because we figured it offered more exciting options than our dear Cambridge. Martin took the lead on making plans since he was more familiar with the city. He picked me up at my hotel at 8pm (as opposed to meeting me at the restaurant, which earned him major points in my book), and then we went to a new place called Noble Rot.
What exactly do a Greek girl from Jersey and a German-born, Oxford-bred boy have in common? Fortunately, more than expected, and after a short while we settled into our stride for the evening. Martin was a wonderful conversationalist, and we discussed everything from our families (neither being too normal nor too dysfunctional), to current events and the world economy (to prove, of course, that we were not admissions mistakes), to our views on HBS gossip (had we – and most single HBS students for that matter – hooked up with as many people as the rumor mill claimed, we would all be on penicillin right now).
After dinner – which Martin sweetly, though unnecessarily, paid for – we headed down to the bar area. Much to our disappointment, it was completely empty – apparently London post- New Year’s always is. The space was gorgeous though, so we had a drink and then decided to find a more happening spot. Stepping out into the winter cold, we found bar after bar in Soho empty, at which point we resorted to the dreaded O-Bar. With cheesy music, tourists, and suburban London out in full force, it had a very distinct bridge-and-tunnel feel.
Martin and I made the usual face-saving comments about how this was not our type of place, but then quickly got over it (I am from Jersey for Pete’s sake) and had a great time. At one point in the evening, Martin went to get us another round of drinks when a very attractive woman asked him if he was Prince William and if he would marry her. As I laughed at my handsome date getting picked up, I turned around and found one of the gentlemen from across the room sitting in Martin’s seat. It turns out he was a Canadian ex-pat who wanted to introduce himself – pretty darn forward for a Canuck!
Realizing being hit on by other people marked the evening’s high-note, we shortly thereafter called it a night. Martin dropped me off at my hotel and emailed me the next day to let me know he had a great time. What a gentleman!
All in all, Martin is a very handsome, charming, and intelligent man. Despite these desirable attributes, it was pretty clear that our evening fun had more to do with becoming fast friends than with any true romantic sparks flying. That being said, ladies, if you ever get a chance to go out with this amazing person, jump on it! I promise you will not be disappointed.
Meeting Mates in Jolly Ole’ England
By Martin Brand (NK)
Sitting in Spangler, bored… and the little window pops up: you’ve got mail! For once, the mail was not another unjustified interview rejection or part of the daily junk mail, but Goldie saying I had been selected for an Intraview with one of the most attractive girls at HBS. I had met Eva once before and we had a great time then, so I was delighted by Goldie’s choice – even though I also knew this was going to lead to a wonderful evening rather than a romantic date.
Having picked London over Boston as the location for the Intraview (we really didn’t have to think long about that one), we agreed on Noble Rot, a new restaurant that also has a normally hopping bar downstairs, for dinner. We met at Eva’s hotel, and despite just flying in that day and spending the afternoon between Internet cafes and the Oxford Street shopping madness, she looked great and surprisingly refreshed.
We had a fun dinner, and over the course of the evening I got to know Eva a lot better. She was really straightforward, unpretentious, and down-to-earth in quite a modest way, particularly for someone so charming. Over dinner we somehow ended up talking about the peculiarities of Greek families (after dating a Greek girl for two years at undergrad I had some experience of my own with that), and also had a laugh at the HBS gossip. All in all, I thought that Eva could become a great friend: she is very real and honest, has a big smile and great sense of humour, and is fun to hang out with.
After dinner we decided to go downstairs to the normally hopping bar. The lack of a queue outside was not a good sign, and it turned out that the bar was not at all hopping on January 3. As we stumbled through Soho looking for a replacement, it looked like we were too far ahead of the rest of London in recovering from the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Most places we tried were completely deserted or even closed. In the end we settled on the “O-Bar” – an establishment we both knew and normally would never go near – since it was the only place that had any sort of crowd going. We ended up in the so-called “VIP section” upstairs; Eva was probably the most VIP person up there, at least judging by the interest she generated with the local guys. When I returned to our two-seat table after buying drinks, I discovered some Canadian had swiftly moved into my seat, trying to chat Eva up. She took it in good humour, and we continued to laugh about the whole scene well after he had given up.
Eva was great company throughout the entire evening, and I hope we will become friends now that we are both back in Cambridge. And, to anyone lucky enough to have an opportunity to go out with her, don’t even contemplate saying no…