Date Lab: Will pre-date scare tactics keep her on edge?

March 13, 2011

About the daters

First thing someone would notice about your home …

Michael: How nice and clean it is.

Lisa: The stripper pole set up next to the china cabinet.

Dating history as a TV show …

Michael: A guy who hasn’t really been single since the summer before college. He’s had two long-term relationships. Single life took me by surprise in D.C., but I am loving going out and meeting new people.

Lisa: Girl seems to be cursed with falling for co-workers, which is wonderful while it works out but terribly awkward post-breakup. After first real heartbreak, girl makes rash decision to take a job in Seattle. Having learned that she cannot run away from her problems, she returns to the East Coast.

Your type …

Michael: No one taller than me (5-7). Doesn’t wear a lot of makeup. Blond or brown hair. Gorgeous smile. Athletic and can keep up with me.

Lisa: I’m attracted to someone who is adventurous, clean-cut but not overly fratty.

How you hope he/she differs from you …

Michael: Not as wrapped up in work. Has a large family. I’d cook, and she would clean.

Lisa: I hope he cooks! I love a good debate. I like it when someone both challenges and respects my belief system.

Brag a little…

Michael: I am basically willing to try anything once. My adventurous nature spills over into the kitchen, where I work on creating my next great dish. Nothing makes me happier than seeing all my friends happy because of something I did.

Lisa: I’ve done and experienced a lot for only being 25: I studied abroad in Costa Rica and Italy, and toured Turkey for two weeks last year. I’m self-sufficient, well read and I love a good challenge.

The date: 7:30 p.m., P.J. Clarke’s, downtown

Lisa: Before I left the house, my roommate read me terrible comments people had made on old Date Labs. She was doing her best to get in my head and freak me out. By the time I left for the date, I was pretty nervous.

Michael: I went to the restaurant [and] waited by the bar, drinking a glass of water. I was ready to go, no big deal. It was maybe five minutes later that the hostess came over and told me that she had arrived.

Lisa: I thought he was attractive. He dressed and put himself together very well. And from the get-go, he was polite and engaging.

Michael: She had a good smile, and it seemed like she was excited to be there. I thought she was very pretty. The hostess took us over to the table, and we just started talking. We ordered a bottle of wine. We laughed about the whole situation and how it came about and why we signed up for Date Lab.

Lisa: This was my first foray into getting out there and meeting someone in D.C. I tried one online dating thing this summer, and it was just weird. We had our menus for probably 15 minutes before we ordered an appetizer. The conversation was flowing easily from the beginning. I felt relaxed.

Michael: She asked what I was looking for in a sense of humor. I told her that I was looking for someone who could watch episodes of “The Office” over and over again and still find it funny. She said she fit the bill. She also talked about how “The Bachelor” is her guilty pleasure. I told her that it was kind of embarrassing but that I liked the show “Parenthood.” It’s kind of a girlie, family show. She likes it, too.

Lisa: Yes, we had lots of things in common. We even both worked at ice cream shops as our first job out of high school.

Michael: We were getting along well. Nothing was awkward like you’d expect on a blind date. She ordered the shrimp and grits, and I got the surf and turf.

Lisa: He seemed very ambitious, very curious. I am definitely impressed by his political work. That is something I am interested in and, living in D.C., is something I follow. He knew what he was talking about and was very passionate about it. I think we connected on that level, as well.

Michael: She was really outgoing and open. It didn’t seem like anything I could bring up would be off topic or uncomfortable. We were there about two hours. Our bottle of wine was finished. I asked, “Do you want to get another drink here or somewhere else?” She suggested going somewhere else.

Lisa: It was around 9:30. I didn’t want the night to end. He said ChurchKey was one of his favorite bars. I told him we should definitely go there, because I liked it, too. Dinner went over [the Date Lab limit] by $20. I offered to split the bill, but he covered it. We caught a cab, which was nice because I was wearing heels.

Michael: We sat down at the bar and each had a beer. We talked about what we like about D.C. and what we don’t like about D.C. Both of our families are not here, which is something we both relish but are also kind of sad about. We also talked about cooking.

Lisa: He mentioned that he hosted Thanksgiving and cooked the turkey. I started laughing because I’m like, “I’m the one that brings the beer because I cannot cook!” He even makes his own ravioli. That’s very cool.

Michael: We left after our beer, probably around 11. We both said that we had a good time. I said that we should probably do this again, and then I asked for her number. We hugged. She went in a cab, and I turned around and walked home.

Lisa: I’d say the date was a 4.5 [out of 5]. It was very good. I’m definitely interested in him. In the cab home, I called my roommate to tell her I was on my way home and that she shouldn’t have scared me before the date.

Michael: I’d give it a 4. I’m an overachiever, so nothing ever gets a 5 in anything I do. When I was there with her I was like, This is fun. I wasn’t thinking about where else I could be or what else I could be doing. I’ll give her a call.

UPDATE: Looks as though they won’t be sharing a homemade ravioli dinner. “I was sick for, like, a week after the date,” Michael said. “I just never got around to calling.” The brushoff hasn’t brought Lisa down, however. “It’s possible he had no intention to call after the date and just asked for my number out of courtesy,” she e-mailed. “It’s all part of the adventure of dating: You never really know!”

Older than 50 and looking for love? Date Lab’s looking for you! Apply now at washingtonpost.com/datelab. Find out what else we’re up to at facebook.com/datelab or follow us on Twitter @datelab.

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