About the daters
Your dating history as a TV show ...
Tom: Boy meets girl; girl rips boy’s heart out!
Aby: The new hit “Friendzone” would be about a girl who has dated her fair share of great guys but has yet to find the one who gives her butterflies and a run for her money. Think a combination of “My Boys” and “Friends.”
Your idea of funny ...
Tom: Someone who can make a joke about the moment.
Aby: It’s hard to find a man who knows how to banter. I’ll laugh at a “that’s what she said,” but I also want someone who can make fun of himself.
Interests to share ...
Tom: Movies and a few TV shows. She should be interested in wine-tasting, skiing and travel.
Aby: I love skiing and snowboarding. I also love my job. I really enjoy that I get to make a difference in patients’ lives.
How you hope your date is different ...
Tom: She should be outgoing.
Aby: I always hope to meet someone who can teach me more about things I know nothing about or thought I would never want to know.
7:30 p.m., Cafe Pizzaiolo, Arlington
Tom: Traditionally, I’m not very punctual, so my brother was like, “You gotta be on time for this, and I mean military time, 15 minutes early.” I got to the restaurant and was just sitting there [waiting].
Aby: I walked in, and there wasn’t really a hostess stand, so I scanned the room, and I saw this gentleman [who] looked about my age. I took a step toward him, and he stood up, so we walked towards each other and shook hands and introduced ourselves. He looked friendly, kind of preppy, which was nice. He seemed a little bit younger-looking, and I would probably describe him as cute.
Tom: I was thinking that I’d give her a hug, but she put her hand out for a handshake. I thought she was cute. I wasn’t really disappointed [in her looks] or blown away. Somewhere in the middle. Maybe closer to [the latter].
Aby: [Our] first conversations were a bit awkward; we jumped into some different random topics before we dove in. We liked a lot of similar genres of movies, but he was teasing me about movies I hadn’t seen. I said, “That’s not fair; you’re a film major!”
Tom: I was kind of giving her a hard time. I had to watch movies all the time [in college].
Aby: I started talking about how I like to dance, and he said, “I like to dance, too,” then he demonstrated a dance move that he does at clubs. He was sitting at the table; it was just a quick little move. It was funny; I liked that; it showed a little personality.
Tom: The whole time we were talking there weren’t any awkward silences. I didn’t want to talk too much, didn’t want to be the guy jawing on at all times.
Aby: I would say that I initiated a lot of the conversation. Once we got on a topic, he was great at jumping in and telling me stories, but I think that I was kind of keeping [things] flowing. He wasn’t quite as overt with his outgoing funniness as perhaps I like to be. For the most part, it was pretty much getting-to-know-you questions, versus a lot of flirting.
Tom: [There was] maybe a little bit [of flirting], real subtle. I usually don’t come on too strong. I probably got a little more interested [in her] as time went on. I saw more commonalities, and we agreed on a lot of things in all of the topics we talked about.
Aby: The restaurant was closing, and we hadn’t finished our wine, [but] the waitress said, “Please stick around; I don’t mind.” So we finished our drinks. At the end, we didn’t have as much to talk about, [there were] larger gaps of silence. So we were finally like, “Let’s get the check.” We walked out, and I was looking for cabs, [but] I wasn’t really seeing any.
Tom: It was after 10, and she had to work really early. I offered to give her a ride, and she was like, “No, I don’t want to burden you,” and I was like, “It’s all right.”
Aby: Typically, I would want to take a cab home since I just met him, but it was late and it was very cold.
Tom: I dropped her off, and she said she had a good time, and then she gave me a hug.
Aby: I can’t remember if we did hug. I think we did. It was kind of quick. I just kind of jumped out of the car. We didn’t make any formal plans to see each other again or even any informal. I’d probably give the date a 3 [out of 5]. It was an average date. I think probably on paper we sounded like we would get along, but in person I don’t think we were quite a connection. I really was hoping for someone more outgoing, initiating conversation and kind of leading the date, but I kind of felt like it was a little bit of the reverse.
Tom: I guess I [rate the date a] 3.8. I felt some attraction but not too, too much; it was more about the conversation than physical stuff. I think I would [contact her again]. She said that she liked dancing, and I said that I liked doing that, and she said I didn’t strike her as the type. I’m up for anything. I had a fun time.
— Interviews by Elizabeth Terry
UPDATE: A few days later, Tom texted a congrats to Steelers fan Aby after a Pittsburgh playoff win. But so far, that’s the only contact; both say that if they got together again, it would be as friends only.
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