Date Lab: Think that hair’s a deal-breaker? Think again.


(Courtesy of the daters)
April 26, 2012
About the daters ...
First thingin the morning ...

Brian: I am a workaholic who rarely takes days off. I no longer set an alarm clock and prefer to just wake up when the time is right. Therefore, I have to first ascertain exactly what day it is and what important things I was going to do.

Shelly: Look outside ... what kind of adventure will today bring?

Your type ...

Brian: Brunette, skinny/athletic with a wild wit, thin morals and a disdain for outward displays of material excess. She’s got to appreciate the safety of an SUV but still care about the environment. She’s got to love sports, if only for the competition and/or commercial component. She better be cool with loud music being played past 10 p.m. She’s a strict organizer, but the thought of last-minute planning makes her heart flutter.

Shelly: I’m 5-9 and like to wear heels so he needs to be at least 6 [feet], if not taller. I like broad shoulders and athletic builds. I have a thing for redheads. Not flaming red but more of a rusty brown/auburn red. [The] Brawny paper towel man is my dream guy.

Your idea of funny ...

Brian: Sarcastically infused people watching. She knows situational irony and exploits it, delivering awkward-funny in her wake.


(Courtesy of the daters)

Shelly: I’m a little crass sometimes, so someone that isn’t afraid to be out there with their humor.

Interests to share ...

Brian: I’m a huge scuba diver; if she isn’t licensed, that would be our first vacation priority. Having a partner as dedicated to her career as I am to mine would allow us to work longer hours and at the same time feel committed to the other half.

Shelly: Looking for someone who wants to be adventurous and go hiking, rafting, trail running, camping, take weekend trips, go sky diving, but likes quiet down time as well.

About the date ...

7:30 p.m., Lilit Cafe, Bethesda

Shelly: I have a weakness for gingers, so I was just praying that he was going to be my type of redhead. I got there at, like, 6:36, so I just walked around the area and went in around 7:15. I got myself a glass of wine and picked a seat that was facing the doorway.

Brian: I was very excited to meet someone new. I Googled how to do a first date, and I Yelped the restaurant to make sure I knew what I was getting into. I got there just a little bit early.

Shelly: The restaurant wasn’t busy, so you couldn’t miss who the other was. He had his hair cut different than he normally wears it because he was going to an ’80s party — he literally had a flattop. So when he walked in, I was like, “That is awesome.” For real. I love individuality. [And] he wasn’t pasty. He has a tan skin complexion [and] this awesome, fluffy beautiful red hair. It was the perfect color.

Brian: She was right in the front window, and a wave of light came in and her whole table lit up. As soon as I saw her, I was like, “I want to sit at that table.” She’s exactly physically what I was looking for. She was tall, she had style, and she had that look. [Date Lab] knocked it out of the park.

Shelly: I just started laughing to myself like, Here we go, it’s game time. He smiled and I got up, and we went to shake hands but then went into a hug. We’re both extroverts, so we went right into a very candid conversation.

Brian: She had a wine already, and I had what she was having. We didn’t play the 20 questions game; we were all over the place with stories and anecdotes. It was the first time I’ve really blind-met somebody. Usually, you have a chance to talk to them on Facebook first or do due diligence, and then the conversation is preemptively boring because you already know the answers. This was cool in the sense that we didn’t touch on that kind of junk.

Shelly: The conversation was very upbeat, very lively, definitely very intriguing. We probably had two glasses of wine before we placed any sort of order for food. He didn’t even have to look at the menu. He was just like, “Do you guys have a hummus platter or something?” So they brought it over, and we nibbled on that while we talked.

Brian: Probably 30 minutes into it, we were going tit for tat. The body language loosened up; we were leaning back in our chairs having a good time. Honestly, I haven’t felt this comfortable for a conversation [since] maybe Thanksgiving dinner with the family. In most social settings, I have to dial it down. There are a lot of things I can’t talk about, being a business owner, with my peers. With her, it was exciting hearing about how she was excelling at work and that she liked what she did. I was able to open up and talk about how much fun I have on the job. So we took the commonality of aggressive professional careers and we were able to talk about our aspirations or goals, much more so than I was able to talk about on previous dates.

Shelly: As the night went on, there were a lot of times where we both would nod our head and laugh. We’re both very confident, both very independent, both very adventurous. He’s probably more into the party scene than I am. That’s probably something we differ on a little bit.

Brian: We’re both gym nuts, both outdoor activists, and we were going through the presets in our cars on XM and [we have] very similar tendencies. It was scary how compatible we were. It was like I was messing around with a pickax and I hit a gold vein.

Shelly: I love that he pulled his passport out of his back pocket. He’s definitely really into traveling, and I am, too. [But] I can make an adventure in my living room making a out of my own couch. He was right on the same page with that. It’s just about creating the most fun in the environment you’re in.

Brian: You know when you’re with someone and they’ve got the look? You’re connecting. She had the look. The comfort zone was, like, a 10. It was one of those things where you don’t push it because it was just there. It seemed right.

Shelly: The place was clearing out, so I said, “I don’t know about you, but I am starving.” He was like, “All right, go ahead and order. I’ll eat anything.” So I picked the chicken kebabs and the salmon, and we shared it. There was definitely flirting and some very playful banter back and forth. I was like, “Your hair, I can’t stop looking at it; it’s amazing.” And he gave me a number of nice compliments. He might have even said at one point, “I’m definitely attracted to you.”

Brian: We were so busy talking, we just let most of the meal go cold. We ended up staying until the place shut down. It was 10 o’clock. I walked her to the car, and I almost forgot to ask for her number because I felt that we were such good friends. We decided not to be Facebook friends and just be real-life friends. My fear is that I still consider myself young, and to find someone this compatible this quickly, I really need to take my time to make sure I do this right.

Shelly: We talked about how we both had fun and thought there was some chemistry there. I’m open to seeing what happens. I would [rate the date] a 4 [out of 5].

Brian: Let’s go with [expletive] 5.

UPDATE: Both were headed out of town for the weekend but had plans to get together the following week. We’ll check in with them again after this goes to press.

UPDATE #2: Says Shelly: “We had a GREAT second date ... Never a dull moment with us. Conversation is effortless and there is definitely a connection there.” To which we say: Hooray!

Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at datelab@washpost.com or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.

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