While pondering every young man's deepest dilemma (how to meet women) Andy Garcia and Isaiah Muenzberg came up with a plan.
They knew it was far-fetched; they knew it could jeopardize an important friendship. They knew it was either going to be the stunt of a lifetime or a flat-out debacle. But once they got the ball rolling -- the graphic design, the fliers, the field research -- they couldn't turn back. They were determined to set their friend Pete Euler up on a blind date. In the process, they surmised, they would also get a chance to meet women themselves.
The plan required field research and a whole lot of stealth.
Garcia, a recent Air Force Academy graduate, and Muenzberg, a senior at the Academy, agree that recent events at their alma mater have adversely affected their romantic prospects. Gone is the babeapalooza of An Officer and a Gentlemen mythology. Informing a young woman that you're a cadet, they claim, is met with caution, if not disdain.
Garcia and Muenzberg say that Euler, a freshly commissioned Air Force lieutenant and their former classmate, has everything going for him: he's young, he can run a marathon in 3.25, and he reads serious nonfiction for fun. The something about Pete is that he's shy. Women, they claim, have dropped every hint shy of a lap dance, but Euler just can't seem to get his flirt on.
So his friends did what any enterprising, if not bored, guys might do: They crafted a flier with Euler's photo, advertising his availability and a few of his finer attributes. To ensure that "curious single women ages 21-25" wouldn't dismiss it as a hoax, they consulted women at Express clothing store, Victoria's Secret and Hooters to figure out what the fliers should say.
Funny and athletic
After a few tweaks, they then distributed 1,000 fluorescent green fliers throughout Colorado Springs.
"Peter is funny, Peter is athletic," the flier says, before mentioning, "Pete has no idea that we're doing this, so help us keep it that way!"
To everyone's astonishment, the cat stayed in the bag.
This was made easier because, conveniently enough, Euler was nestled away in flight school, training for his personal pilot's license 13 hours a day, six days a week.
On a warm evening in late August, Garcia and Muenzberg interviewed 19 women at a downtown Starbucks. Most had just happened to be in the area and were intrigued by the fliers as well as Garcia's cajoling.
Interview questions were short and sweet:
"What do you look for in a guy?"
"Since Pete's shy, would you feel comfortable taking the lead in conversation?"
The candidates were good sports, their interest piqued as much by Pete's boyfriendability as the novelty of the enterprise.
"It's just a date," said Farah McDill, a 24-year-old project manager for a local construction company.
Garcia and Muenzberg evaluated the candidates on a 1-10 scale that included such categories as "First Impression (Values)," "Interests Parallel Pete" and "Attractiveness."
After narrowing the field down to three finalists, they dropped the bomb on Euler at a Sunday afternoon cookout at Garcia's house. In the presence of the three finalists, Euler was informed of his friends' efforts to get him a date. For goodwill, he was awarded a framed "Meet Pete" flier.
"He [Garcia] didn't know if I'd get up and bolt," Euler said. "That thought did cross my mind. ...What do you do if you're me?"
Apparently, you go with the flow and let your friends arrange and pay for three dates.
Of course, they weren't ordinary dates.
Jamie Matias, 21, works at Dillard's where she received a flier from Garcia. Her date involved a scavenger hunt in Old Colorado City, asking strangers for random items including an orange, flowers and a cigarette lighter. After they acquired the 13 items, they went to a restaurant.
McDill's date was much messier. With one hand bound to Euler's, the two were required to wash Garcia's dirty dog for 20 minutes. Then they ate dinner.
"They gave us gifts from the Body Shop so that we could take showers for our candlelit dinner," McDill recalled. "I got body wash and new lotion."
The third date also involved a scavenger hunt, as well as a trip to Barnes and Noble. All the women agree that Euler was very nice, and once he got going, not too shy.
But when the dogs were washed and the scavenger hunts completed, Euler decided he really wasn't ready to embark on a relationship.
"I do feel more confident -- yeah, I would definitely feel more confident asking people out," he said. "I'm still processing all this."
-- John Dicker