When we asked Paige, Alex and Matt if they were up for a bit of an oddball scenario, we weren’t sure they’d say yes. After all, what we were suggesting had lots of awkward potential. Paige would have to meet Alex and Matt, pose for a picture and then pick one based on little more than looks. Alex and Matt would have to show up for a date knowing there was a 50 percent chance they’d be rejected on sight. Yikes. All three gamely accepted the challenge and met at Agora in Dupont Circle, but things didn’t go exactly according to plan. ...
Alex: There was definitely a part of me that wished I was getting sent on a standard Date Lab date. But I was excited. I think I got there right around 7:10, 7:15 and sat at the bar and got a glass of water. I would have ordered a drink, but I didn’t want to have to either desert it or awkwardly finish it.
Matt: I made the mistake of walking, so I was kind of a little bit damp when I got there in the D.C. swamp summer. I think the other guy saw [me], or they called him over, and then we sat down and hung out. He was a nice kid.
Alex:It was pretty awkward. I didn’t feel that bad, but it was like, “One of us is leaving in a few minutes.”
Paige: I got there right at 7:25, and I totally scoped them out. They were sitting together at a table outside — they looked like they were on a date. I was a little anxious because of the choosing one part. It was a fun twist, but it put a little pressure on me.
Alex: I thought she was really pretty. She has very, very nice hair, and she had on a nice summer dress. And she seemed very friendly. I was excited and hoping I would get to stay.
Matt: [She’s] blond, blue eyes. She was a cute girl. If she was in a bar, I would hit on her; put it that way.
Paige: They were both very cute. But Alex seemed a little more friendly, a little more open. They both stood up to say hi. There were only two chairs, so it was really awkward, but we just laughed because it was the first time for all of us doing this. We all shook hands, and I made the comment that I thought they were on a date. We went inside and had a photo shoot at the bar.
Alex: We took a couple of pictures, and then she turned to us and said, “I have no idea how to make this choice.” So she was like, “I’m going to cheat,” and asked us what we’d both been for Halloween the year before.
Matt: I just started laughing, “I’m done.” [Mine] was a slightly inappropriate costume.
Paige: Alex said he was Ted Mosby from “How I Met Your Mother,” which is my favorite show. Matt said he was Jesus. He totally didn’t want to tell me it, either. He said [he chose it] because it was an easy costume. I felt bad, but he told the truth, which is really commendable. I had sort of already made up my mind, but [Alex’s answer] kind of sealed it. I said, “I choose Ted Mosby.”
Matt: I was expecting to stay, but I was okay. I just got back from [Atlantic City] the day before, so I was kind of willing to not be drinking that night. We shook hands, and I said, “Have a great time,” and I went home, back into the D.C. swampy summer night.
Paige: It was fine; we were all game. Actually, having to choose one guy was a nice ice breaker, because we already had this shared experience.
Alex: The conversation was really easy. We talked about TV a bunch. She was a music major in college, so we talked about her experiences traveling for musical performances. And we talked a bit about work — about how we’re both trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up and are doing a bad job of it but both doing jobs we like.
Paige: He’s super friendly and has a really warm personality. There weren’t any awkward pauses, but I also don’t think there was any nervous talking, either. He brought up his mom three times, so he joked about that. [And] he said he’s really close with his five best friends and that he put on [his Date Lab questionnaire] how they planned an all-day scavenger hunt about “Star Wars” for a friend, which is a little nerdy. But just how much he cares about his friends — that was pretty cute.
Alex: It seemed like we had similar life perspectives. [And] I think we had very similar senses of humor. But I definitely thought it was cool some of the things that were different about us. That was also exciting for me. I just left a PhD program, so my life for the past year has been very academic. I’m very aware that I don’t want to be with somebody as academically oriented as I am. I think I bring enough of that.
Paige: I would say as we got more comfortable, we were definitely flirting. We [stayed] until everyone else had left the restaurant — 10:30, I think. We decided not to go out [afterward] because it was a school night.
Alex: We actually didn’t on the date talk about getting together again. I walked her to her car, and we traded phone numbers and we traded ratings. Or we tried. I told her as I was leaving that it would be above a 4, but she walked away without [giving] her rating. [Then] I texted her to get hers, but she said, “A girl’s got to have some secrets.”
RATE THE DATE
Paige: I would [rate the date] a 4, 4.5.
Alex: Five seems very presumptuous, so I’m going to go, like, 4.675. Also, she joked earlier on the date that a lot of times [Date Lab] girls are like “4.675” and the guy is like “3.” So I’m going to try to break gender stereotype.
Don’t worry. The Date Lab
Predicto-meter will return next week.
For stories, features such as Gene Weingarten, @Work Advice and more, visit WP Magazine.
Follow the Magazine on Twitter.
Like us on Facebook.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: Paige and Alex went out on two more dates, but things sort of tailed off after that. “He is a great guy, and we’ve had fun, but I am not feeling that we are the best match romantically,” Paige says. As for Matt, we promised to set him up on a regular Date Lab date very soon.
Tell us what past Washington Post story or person in the news you want us to update. E-mail