Date Lab: On this date, something’s ... fishy


(Courtesy of the daters)
December 29, 2011
About the daters ...
Brag a little …

Roy: I am fit, active, affectionate, spontaneous, creative and practical. I have my own teeth and hair, and shower every day.

Molly: I am extremely open-minded, exceedingly curious, and I listen. I make an effort to take care of myself for health and aesthetic reasons. I take pride in my appearance but am not conservative, a slave to fashion or anyone else’s expectations of what I should be. I am not classically pretty but am usually told I have a different, exotic or sexy look. I have a goofy smile and a bit of a crooked nose, but I embrace the oddities. I find laughter to be as essential as air. I am a very good cook.

Interests to share …

Roy: Biking, travel, food, positive outlook, art.

Molly: Books, independent/foreign films, travel, family, biking, hiking, kayak, canoeing, spontaneous road trip to a vineyard, volunteer work at the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Your idea of funny …

Roy: Quick-witted, somewhat sarcastic, can take and dish it, not easily offended, spicy but not guttural.

Molly: Dry wit and sarcasm. Appreciation for irony, tangential humor and anthropomorphism. I don’t care for silly, goofy, slapstick, raunchy, banal.

About the date...

7:30 p.m., Grapeseed, Bethesda

Molly: I had a really trying day and just wasn’t up for it. It was raining, and I was just thinking, If this could be any other night. But I decided to put that aside and go for fun and the experience of it. I’ve spent a lot of time in labs and research; I just went into it like: This is another experiment.

Roy: I got there about 10 minutes early, waited for Molly at the bar and then chose to have a seat. Molly showed up at 7:35.

Molly: The first thing I said to him was that I assume that you have a sense of humor or you would not be here. He concurred. My first impression was: This is a nice-looking guy. He had on a suit and those stylish glasses. He had a funky, professional look, which I find attractive.

Roy: I thought she was well put-together, smart, attractive, very easy to talk to. Roy: The thing that springs to mind [about our conversation] is what we do for work. She’s in behavioral psychology, so I said I knew it was being analyzed. That was a bit of fun. I do capture management for a federal contractor, dealing with anti-fraud, anti-terror. She seemed a bit disinterested in that. I do realize it’s a bit complex; that’s fine.

Molly: That’s funny, because most people say I ask too many questions. I actually understood pretty clearly what he did for work and am interested — and would have asked more. But it is so “D.C.” to talk about work; I was conscious of that so kept it to a minimum. I did not mean to come off as disinterested at all, but maybe that was how it was perceived.

Roy: The conversation was going strong, and that was before the staff even noticed us. We talked about dogs; she volunteers with a rescue group, and I have one rescue dog. She’s very interested in food, as am I.

Molly: I just kept being pleasantly surprised about how many different things that would never show up on the Date Lab questionnaire that we had in common. I lived in London; he grew up there. My parents lived in Ireland; he has a home there. We both like traveling and really diving into culture. We had a meeting of the minds on certain things, and there was also this undercurrent of humor that kept the whole night fun.

Roy: I would agree our senses of humor were similar. There was this funny thing with ordering the food. We had talked about restaurants calling fish one thing and serving something else . When I tasted her fish, I knew it was a rock salmon, which is what I grew up eating in London in fish ’n’ chip shops. Nonetheless, it was very good. We had a good laugh over that.

Molly: You know how they say the first taste is with your eyes? This [fish] is not an appetizing sight. He said something to that effect under his breath, and I laughed. To say the sauce was the color of puke would not be overstating it. But it wasn’t bad, and I did share.

Roy: She had two interesting ideas. One was quite unusual but very funny. She thought putting the food in the envelope with the camera would be like a time capsule — our date told through leftovers. [Editor’s note: We did find the fishy remains the next day but declined to give them a try.] Earlier on, she told me she had been talking to her friends about showing up with a huge bunch of flowers and poking her head through them. I told her, “Okay, that would have been frightening.” Funny but very frightening.

Molly: Chemistry to me is palpable; you only feel it if it’s mutual. I definitely thought there were some flirty, mutual “something-or-other” going on. I don’t know if spark is the right word. There was such an ease, a little flirting here, a little there. I’ve been on dates before when it’s so much you want to run, and on ones where there’s absolutely nothing. But this was a nice balance.

Roy: I say there was a bit of flirting going on, yeah. Don’t know what else to say to that. It’s difficult to put flirting into words.

Molly: We shut the place down. They were politely letting us know that we were the last ones there. We went over the budget, of course, because we tried lots of wines. When the check came, I offered to pay my share, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

Roy: Yes, I offered to pay, as did she. I think she was being sincere, but I wanted to pay.

Molly: We hugged and then had a little kiss on the cheek.

Roy: As I was about to leave, she was pausing quite a bit. Finally she said, “The Post is going to ask if we ‘exchanged information.’ ” So we exchanged cards. I was on the fence [about asking for her number]. I wasn’t sure there was a spark. I could definitely see us hanging out — she’s a biker and runner. I see that as something we can do together. I just don’t know if there’s a romantic basis. Right now, it’s a mutual friendship with an attractive, funny woman. I’d give the night a 4 out of 5.

Molly: It was a good night; I would give it a 5. As we say in behavioral science, was it worth the opportunity costs? It definitely was. I don’t regret the four or five hours one bit that we spent together, even if that’s the only time I ever spend with him.

UPDATE:Molly and Roy traded e-mails commiserating about their interviews, but as of press time had no plans to get together again. “I am pretty traditional so would not pursue, and he’s made no effort,” Molly tells us. But, she added, “even as a one-off thing, it was a funny and different experience.”

Has someone from Date Lab piqued your interest? E-mail us at datelab@washpost.com or find us on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and we just might get you together.

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