We thought Jessica (scientist, Trekkie and classically trained opera singer seeking Asian with adventurous side) and Zhibo (Web geek, philosopher and filmmaker ISO brainy-artsy nerd) would be a perfect mix of left-brain logic and right-brain creativity! Set the scene at Bombay Club in downtown Washington. ...
Date Lab: Can the left and right brain meet in the middle?
Zhibo: I got a little bit lost, [but] I was still the first one there. She actually showed up pretty late — 20, 25 minutes. I was thinking, Okay, what if she bailed? But the other thing I figured was she got lost, too. Luckily, she showed up.
Jessica: I really tried to get out of the lab to have enough time to get ready. I got lost; I felt bad about that. It’s just an odd location.
Zhibo: First impression: I thought she was beautiful. She had this really nice dress on. Her hair, makeup, everything — I was like, Wow, this girl is really pretty. I gave her a hug.
Jessica: I thought he was really cute.
Zhibo: When she came in, she looked like she was very nervous. So she started talking right away and was talking a lot.
Jessica: I think we were both kind of shy and unsure and not really sure what to say.
Zhibo: She asked me about what I do. So I told her, “Why don’t we do something different, ’cause that’s what everybody asks. Instead of what we do, what about asking what our dream job is or what we hope to do?”
Jessica: I’m a scientist, so I did geek out a little bit about that. I try not to talk too much, to bore people to death.
Zhibo: Throughout the evening, she did most of the talking, I’d have to say. She talked a lot about her job, She’s very into cells and diseases and viruses.
Jessica: We had a lot in common in that we both like to try new food, love to travel. And we enjoy talking about films. He’s aspiring to be a filmmaker.
Zhibo: My personal movies have been shorts. Some [have been] online; some of them have played at film festivals just locally. And I’ve worked on other people’s movies, too.
Jessica: We both like independent films and foreign films and [talked about] our love of E Street Cinema.
Zhibo: It seems like we have the same tastes: sci-fi, plot[-driven], character movies. I think pretty much every single movie we mentioned we’d both seen and liked.
Jessica: Things flowed a lot more smoothly as the night went on. He was shy and sweet. He was interesting. Well traveled — we talked about things we had seen and done.
Zhibo: She likes to sing, which is cool.
Jessica: [I perform] as often as I can. He doesn’t seem to know opera a whole lot, so I told him about it.
Zhibo: The food was amazing. It’s a very nice atmosphere, very nice restaurant. There’s a piano bar there.
Jessica: I actually knew the pianist who was playing.
Zhibo: She said she plays piano, so I said, “Oh, why don’t you play something if you know him?”
Jessica: I was a little too shy. By 11, I was pretty tired, and he was tired.
Zhibo: I got the jackets, [we] talked briefly with her piano friend [and left]. We both took the Metro. She was cold, so I offered her my jacket.
Jessica: We exchanged numbers.
Zhibo: When we came to my stop, she gave me my jacket back. I hate giving the sit-down hug. I was gonna go for it, but then it was really awkward in there, and we just said goodbye.
Rate the date
Jessica: I would give it maybe a 4 [out of 5]. I definitely had a great time. We had a great conversation.
Zhibo: I would say 3.5 maybe. I think she’s really nice, smart, talented, beautiful. If I were to tell my friends what would be an ideal girl, she matches all of those qualities. But I felt like maybe because she kind of dominated the conversation, I didn’t really get a chance to tell her that much about me.
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UPDATE: “I think it was definitely worth a second date, [but] I have a lot of other things going for me right now, so call it a case of bad timing. Otherwise, I would have contacted her,” Zhibo says. Jessica, meanwhile, tells us that when her phone didn’t ring, she “took it that he wasn’t interested.” Maybe after reading this, they’ll reconnect. ...