Date Lab: Well, he didn’t end up in the trunk of a car ...


(Courtesy of the daters)
May 31, 2012
About the daters ...
Dating history as TV show ...

Ross: Guy goes on a million dates, but can’t quite find the right tattooed, smoking, wild girl. Trusty bulldog sidekick is the show’s main attraction.

Erin: Girl joins online dating site following a breakup. Awkward comedy gold with a few decent dates — followed by more awkward comedy gold.

Dream date ...

Ross: Christina Hendricks, as a zoologist/memoirist. She works with megafauna in Africa, while still being connected to the Internet. She hunts down rhino and elephant poachers and is celebrated.

Erin: Nature photographer who has a big, shaggy dog for a pet, loves to cook, and listens to Otis Redding.

Brag a little ...

Ross: I have great legs and taste in music. I can cook a good meal for a lady. I have a great head of hair.


(Courtesy of the daters)

Erin: I’m pretty laid-back, smart, always up for an adventure, and I can make some tasty vegetarian chili.

Interests to share ...

Ross: Animals (I love my dog, probably too much, but it’s too late now), music (live), movies, easy conversationalist, liberal, open-minded.

Erin: Music, a love of the outdoors, a general interest in helping people or the environment, and closeness with family.

Best date ever ...

Ross: Dinner at Vegetate (RIP) and a show at Black Cat, Ben’s afterward.

Erin: A date made me dinner from the garden, we ate outdoors and then drove to watch the sunset (which we didn’t actually get there in time to see) on top of a mountain where you could see all the major peaks in the area and just talked.

About the date ...

7:30 p.m., Coppi’s Organic Restaurant, U Street

Ross: I went into it like I would any blind date. Which is to say it could be anything from a complete disaster to, more likely, two reasonable people going out who may or might not connect.

Erin: I was equal parts nervous and excited. Walking in was awkward. Wasn’t sure where I was going in the restaurant or who I was meeting. The waiter walked me to the bar.

Ross: In some ways, she looked like my type. If one of my friends was trying to set me up, there’s a distinct possibility they would pick her. Of course, some of my friends have set me up on dates that made me want to strangle them!

Erin: I was a little surprised. Ross had a little gray in his beard. I can’t remember what I put in the application, but I’m not a beard person. Other than that, he looked a bit like my type, kind of alternative.

Ross: In this town, there’s a certain group of templates of how people look and act. Erin hit part of one — the same way I fit into one as well: the nonprofit, sort-of-lefty, environmental do-gooder template. Not crunchy, because D.C. is too conservative to be crunchy. That’s good that we both fit into that. It gave us plenty to talk about.

Erin: Ross is very easy to talk to, a very good conversationalist. It seemed like we didn’t run out of things to talk about. We talked a lot about music; he’s pretty knowledgeable about it and had very interesting things to say. We agreed that pie is superior to cake. We talked about dogs, family. Some movie talk.

Ross: She is from New York, I grew up in Chicago, so we talked about the differences between those cities and D.C. The conversation was very interesting, and I was enjoying her company and what she had to say. [But] the very orchestrated nature makes it hard to take risks, and I like to take risks, even in conversation. And there’s a bit of a prisoner’s dilemma there. You don’t want to look like a jerk and say something that you know may be taken out of context when people read it in the paper. There’s more of a hesitancy and playing it safe in the date — on both of our parts. [It’s] hard to find attraction in that. I personally don’t find that interesting. And I’m sure many women probably don’t find that interesting in a gentleman.

Erin: It was definitely a friendly vibe, [but] I never got any overt romantic vibes. He was kind of my type, [but] I’m fairly active, and I guess I tend to go more for guys who seem to be, as well. I didn’t get the impression that was something Ross cared much about.

He did mention an ex-girlfriend early on in the date, and not that that is awful thing to do, but it doesn’t really seem like a good sign when a guy mentions an ex about 15 minutes into a first date. But really, it wasn’t a big deal. It just was not romantic from the beginning. I just didn’t see us being more than friends; I don’t think he did, either. At one point, I even thought I should set him up with one of my friends. They would get along. I did not tell him that.

Ross: We got wine and some eggplant thing, [and later] we had pizza. There wasn’t any chemistry or flirting, really. [It] was best summed up as nice time, great conversation, but friendly. Erin is very cool and lovely. But that spark wasn’t there, no fault of hers or mine. I don’t think she’d be surprised to read that. [We left] around 11.

Erin: We walked to the Metro. We high-fived, I got on my train, and he went to catch the bus. It was a good night, but I don’t see a second date. We didn’t exchange numbers. I’d give [the date] a 4 [out of 5]. It was a fun way to spend the night.

Ross: I’d give it a 3. It’s one of those things that ultimately, you and the reader kinda hope in the back of your head that this woman is completely nuts and she’s going to do something insane so it will be really interesting! But that wasn’t the case. Erin is lovely, really. So while I didn’t end up in the trunk of the car, I met a lovely, fun person. I guess in order for it to be a great story, something would have to really go awry — and it didn’t.

UPDATE: No second date for these two — and no surprise. “Both of us had filled out the questionnaire on a lark and didn’t really expect much from it,” Erin told us.

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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