Date Lab: When Gene Weingarten plays matchmaker


(Photograph courtesy daters)
April 5, 2013

When we think of natural matchmakers, the first person who comes to mind is our own Gene Weingarten. Who better, right? So we asked Gene to read Robb’s application and then choose a date for him. “This was an easy one,” Gene said. “Robb is funny, sophisticated, appealingly cynical and perhaps a leetle too pleased with himself. Jackie is funny, sophisticated, appealingly cynical and seems quite capable of handling a dude who is perhaps a leetle too pleased with himself.”

Let’s find out how pleased Robb and Jackie were with each other on their date at Thunder Burger & Bar in Georgetown.

Robb: I think we were both a little apprehensive.

Jackie:I was relieved when I saw [Robb]. He was definitely handsome, well-kept. Definitely something I would go for.


Robb: I thought she was cute. Kinda tall, has long, dark hair, which is similar to what I’ve dated in the past — so maybe I do have a physical type. We ordered a couple of drinks.

Jackie: I’ve gone on some hilariously terrible blind dates before, and this was pretty easy. We seemed to have the same sense of humor.

Robb: At first, it just felt a little tense and awkward. I felt like I was trying to fill a lot of silence with conversation. We obviously had stuff to talk about, [but] the conversation felt a little one-sided at times.

Jackie: There was a point where we both had mentioned exes, and I said,
“I don’t think you’re supposed to talk about that on a first date.” So then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a list of topics to avoid. Things like the weather, Michelle Obama’s bangs. Ex-lovers was number one. My father, unless he was an astronaut or a fighter pilot. It was pretty funny.

Robb: She’s a pretty active runner, and I’m a cyclist myself. I thought that was pretty cool, that she likes to be active, get out, be outside; I’m the same way.
I feel like she opened up a little bit more as the date went on, and I got to see a little bit more of what she’s about.

Jackie: We had enough in common where we could keep a good conversation going and had a lot to talk about.

Robb: I didn’t really feel like [chemistry] was there. I got out of a relationship a month or two ago. My head is still in that weird space. [But] I’ve been on dates where there was more chemistry, more possibility that something could come from it. [Still,] I was like, We’re already out; let’s keep this going. We went to the Passenger.

Jackie: That’s kind of more my scene anyway. We had a drink. The waitress came and asked if we wanted another round, and at that point I said no, because I was driving and had to get up early. So we finished and left.

Robb: She offered me a ride, which was cool. I’m very bad at wrapping dates up. Do you go for the handshake, do you kiss her, the high-five? It was getting kind of awkward, and she was like, “Are you going to ask me for my number?” So I got her number and gave her mine.

Jackie: No, there was none of that [a hug or kiss]. It could have been the awkwardness of being in a car. But I wouldn’t have initiated it. That would have been on him.

RATE THE DATE

Robb: I’d give it a solid 3 [out of 5].
I think she’s an interesting person. She was fun to talk to. I liked hanging out with her. But I just didn’t feel any romantic sparks. That said, I could see us being friends.

Jackie: I’d give it a 4. I would hang out with him. Even if it’s not another date,
I feel like he’s the type of person, if I were at the 9:30 Club and sent him a text, it wouldn’t be weird. I got the impression it wouldn’t be for him, either.

GUESS WHO SET YOU UP

Robb: Oh, no kidding! I love Gene Weingarten. Oh, wow. I’m honored; that’s incredible.

Jackie: I don’t know him off the top
of my head. ... I think he made a great choice, actually.

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UPDATE: Jackie texted Robb but “never heard back from him,” she says. “Which
was kind of surprising! But it is what it is,
I suppose.” Robb says: “I sort of, um, ignored [her text]. I’ve been out on a couple of other dates since Date Lab which had a lot spark and chemistry and ... I just didn’t feel that with Jackie.”

Curious?

Tell us what past Washington Post story or person in the news you want us to update. E-mail trents@washpost.com or call 202-334-4208.

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