Dan Blustein, 26, marine biologist
What he’d need on a desert island: a blender for smoothies, a snorkeling set, his sister
When he’s happiest: sleeping outside under the stars next to a lake in the wilderness with his closest friends
Sara Vernam, 22, program administrator/grad student
What she’d need on a desert island: frozen yogurt, The Economist, and a kitten for company
The first thing people notice in her home? The purple wall in her bedroom she painted on a whim
9 p.m. Bina Osteria, Boston
Testing the waters
Dan: The week of the date, a friend took me to the store and acted as my Dinner with Cupid fashion consultant.
Sara: I realized that the original restaurant we were supposed to go to wasn’t accessible by T a few hours before the date. I tried to get the restaurant changed! I was afraid he wouldn’t get the message and I would stand him up.
Dan: While riding the T to the date, everyone on the train looked so down from a week of work, school, and cold weather. I was just smiling, feeling lucky and excited to meet my mystery date.
Sara: I was nervous about finding the new restaurant and getting there. I was so focused on being on time, I forgot to be nervous for the actual dinner.
Diving right in
Dan:: Physically, Sara was cute, naturally pretty, and I appreciated her lack of makeup. She had a really nice smile.
Sara: I thought he was cute and that his glasses made him look smart. He seemed cool, calm, and collected. I apologized for the restaurant change, but he told me that the restaurant we were at got better reviews.
Dan: Sara offered me a taste of her wine just minutes after we met, which made her seem very open and comfortable.
Sara: He was really nice and didn’t seem nervous. I think we both relaxed and we were able to joke around. We discovered we were both in Israel at the same time and even went to the same place one of the nights there.
Dan: Sea urchin was on the menu, and that inspired some conversations: her love of animals, my work in marine biology, and a traumatic sea-urchin encounter on a reality dating television show. I was surprised to find out that she’s a vegetarian who doesn’t like vegetables; I didn’t know that was possible.
Sara: As we discovered that we had a lot in common, the date got better.
Dan: We are both piano-playing blue-eyed Jews who share an appreciation for octopuses and agree that cornhole is not a sport.
Sara: I thought it was funny he wouldn’t tell me what happens in season 5 of Dexter, even though I told him I probably wasn’t going to watch. For some reason, I liked him more after that.
Dan: I asked for her number, but [just] my luck, my phone battery had died. She sent me a quick text with her number and then we hugged goodbye.
Sara: I had plans in Faneuil Hall and he walked me there, which was really nice of him.
A second date?
Dan: Yes. I had a nice time and I’d like to get to know her better. Maybe a trip to the Aquarium?
Sara: We got along well and it seemed like we both had a good time, so I think there’s a possibility we will.
--Compiled by Maria Oliver
Go on a blind date: We’ll pick up the tab. Fill out an application at boston.com/cupid.