Date Lab: He’s from Oklahoma, she’s not. Dealbreaker?

Photograph courtesy daters

Encouraged by a friend’s successful Date Lab, Ryan signed up, hoping to join his buddy in the satisfied ranks of newspaper-matched couples. Would it work for him? We sent him to Primi Piatti in Foggy Bottom to meet Sarah and find out.

(PHOTOGRAPHS OF DOG, LEFT, COURTESY OF SARAH POGUE; HUSKY BY BIGSTOCK; ROBIN ROBERTS BY ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR ESPY; PRINCE HARRY BY JOHN STILLWELL-WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES; PATTY GRIFFIN IN 2005 BY TRACI GOUDIE; ANTHONY KIEDIS OF RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS BY BEN HIDER/INVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS; TREE BY BENJAMIN C. TANKERSLEY)

Contrails from jet planes passing overhead intersect the National Museum of Art in Washington, Thursday morning, April 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Interviews by Amanda Long

Ryan: My friend did Date Lab and liked it. He suggested I do it. They went out a month ago, he had a good time and he’s still talking to her. I went in with no expectations. At the least, I’ll get to meet someone I wouldn’t meet any other way.

Sarah: I was on a college girls’ trip to Florida a couple of weeks ago, and a good friend asked if I read Date Lab. She loves it and reads it every week. I’d never even heard of it. They couldn’t believe it. So, sitting poolside with a few cocktails, I filled out my application.

Ryan: We arrived at the same time, and we saw one another, but didn’t realize we were one another’s date at first. I waited outside, and she went and sat at the bar. It was the night before Thanksgiving, so we had whole restaurant to ourselves.

Sarah: I was sitting at the bar, and I saw this guy walk up and say something about The Post. So I kind of waved him over and said, “Hey, I’m right here.” When I first saw him, I thought he was tall; that’s definitely my type. He’s tall and has pretty eyes — that’s what I noticed first. He’s tall, dark and handsome. I can’t complain.

Ryan: She’s very attractive — that’s my first thought. She’s someone I’d be interested in without the help of Date Lab, like if I saw her at a party or a bar.

Sarah: I don’t know exactly why he was picked for me. Maybe it was the height? Don’t get me wrong — they did a nice job — but nothing popped out as obvious similarities. He’s an only child. I have siblings. He’s from Oklahoma. I’m not. He’s telling me about a lot of his travel and being in the service. I’ve spent my entire life in the D.C. area. But those differences aren’t a bad thing, not at all. I liked hearing about what he’s seen all over the world.

Ryan: We talked about Asia quite a bit. I lived there for five years. We talked a lot about Asian food. We talked about seafood. I’m from Oklahoma, where you don’t get a lot of fresh seafood, so
I liked that about living in Asia.

Sarah: Although he liked living in Asia, his big objection to living there was that they ate dog. He likes dogs — that’s a total plus. I love my dog. [It] would have been a total dealbreaker if he didn’t like dogs.

Ryan: We were talking so much that we didn’t know what we wanted, so [the waiter] had to come back a few times to take our order. We both had drinks. We both had Italian entrees. We got the same dessert. We had coffee. We closed the restaurant down. They were cleaning up and leaving, and we were still talking. She is very attractive, open-minded and easy to talk to.

Sarah: I had been on a lot of setups. This was definitely more successful. There was definite interest — not flirting, exactly. But I wasn’t waiting for dinner to be over.

Ryan: We talked about going across the street for another drink, but it was getting late and she had to drive home to Maryland and then get up the next morning and drive to her family’s house for Thanksgiving. So I walked her to her car and asked for her number.

Sarah: He got my number and asked if I’d be interested in getting together again. I’m absolutely interested. Then, we hugged and wished each other a happy Thanksgiving.

Rate the date

Ryan: I would give it a 4. If we could have hung out longer, I would have given it a 5.

Sarah: I give it a 4. It was successful, and I’m looking forward to going out again.

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UPDATE: The two texted throughout the week following the date and met for brunch at Brasserie Beck on a snowy Sunday.
“We had fun,” Ryan said, “and during brunch, we talked about getting together again.” The third date never materialized, however. “Ryan is a very sweet guy,” Sarah says, “but, I just didn’t feel that the chemistry was there.” Was Ryan surprised? “Yes and no,” he said. “It’s not like we’d been dating seriously, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise or disappointment.
I’m still glad I did it.”

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