Date Lab: Will rock-climbing inspire romance — or just nerves?


(Courtesy of the daters)

About the daters ...

Dating history as a TV show ...

Rebecca:  I’ve been with the same guy since college, and have suddenly found myself single and thrust back into the world of dating. It’s exciting, scary and I’m learning a lot about myself as an individual!

Seth: Each episode, he seems to be matched up with yet another bad connection, full of heartache and hilarious outtakes, until one day he finally meets his match. Starring Bradley Cooper as Seth (yeah, right) and Scarlett Johansson as “The One.”

Your type ...

Rebecca: I gravitate toward tall guys with dark brown hair, who are a little scruffy. Active guys are super attractive. I’m studying to be a counselor, so I see someone who can communicate well and is willing to listen as a must (but being a counselor does NOT mean I always want to talk about our feelings!).

Seth: Warm smile, petite, adventurous, open personality, passionate, easy-going.


(Courtesy of the daters)
Interests to share ...

Rebecca:  Hiking, tennis, generally being active. A desire to try new things — like taking me rock climbing or white-water rafting! Someone who’s into volunteer work and giving back to the community.

Seth: Rock climbing, biking, snowboarding, museum-hopping, hiking, traveling, cooking.

About the date ...

6 p.m., Sportrock, Alexandria

Rebecca: I’ve never been rock climbing before, though I’ve done a rock wall at my gym. And I walked in, and the walls were really high. I was like, “Oooooh! I have to climb that!”

Seth: I got there about a half-hour early. I spend a lot of time rock climbing, but I hadn’t climbed much in the last month, ’cause I messed my ankle up.

Rebecca: The instructor was like, “Oh, well, Seth’s over there,” and pointed, but there were probably 10 guys over in the area where he pointed, so I still had no idea who he was. So, I went to the restroom and came back, and Seth was standing at the counter. He was cute! Not to be superficial, but I like guys who are a little taller, but other than that, he is my type in a lot of ways.

Seth: I thought she was really cute. She had a warm, friendly smile, and that’s one of the big things I look for. I feel like you can tell a lot about a person from their smile, so that sucked me in. She checked in and got her harness and shoes, and we met with Adam, the manager who was acting as our instructor for the day.

Rebecca: It turns out [Seth] goes there all the time, which was a little intimidating but also really cool, because I like guys who are active.

Seth: It was fun. I got to see that she has a really playful side and her being a little nervous because it was her first time out there. One person would climb, and then when they came down it’d take 15 minutes to unhook, and then the next person would hook in. So, we got to know each other a little bit then. Adam definitely took a little distance when we were taking our time getting roped because we wanted to talk some more. There was little bit [of flirting] here and there.

Rebecca: Seth was a pro. [But] I think [rock climbing] set more of a friendship/outdoors-buddy tone. And I know I was nervous, so for me that was very distracting.

Seth: Once we were done ... we just jumped in [her] car and went to [Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Alexandria]. We definitely got to talk more at the restaurant. It was just the two of us, with nothing else going on.

Rebecca: We got wine. We apparently have very similar taste in food, so we got two meals and split them. Literally, I was looking at the ahi tuna, and he said, “We should get ahi tuna.”

Seth: We both talked a little bit about our background — where we grew up and went to school. And we spent a lot of time talking about just our interests and passions. It was refreshing to have a conversation with a stranger that didn’t automatically revert to, “What do you do for a living?”

Rebecca: We had a lot in common, but the flow of conversation was a little jerky. As we were sitting and talking, I was realizing there are a lot of very attractive things about him. But there just wasn’t any sort of spark.

Seth: I thought it was very comfortable. I think there certainly was [a romantic vibe]. We were both so full after this meal, but we just couldn’t stop eating this cake. At one point I had to take a break, and she got an extra couple spoonfuls of the cake, so I was teasing her about that.

Rebecca:He was friendly, of course, but I didn’t really pick up on any flirting. I really read that he also felt more of a friendship for me. But I have misread that in the past.

Seth: A little before 10, we finally called it quits. We both have to work pretty early in the morning, so we probably should’ve left earlier. It was good, though.

Rebecca: We walked out together. He gave me a hug. He started to cross the street to walk over to the Metro, and I was sitting in my car, and he actually turned around and did a little run back and asked if I wanted to hang out again. And I gave him my number. I would go out with more of an idea of, “Let’s go on a hike or something outdoorsy and hang out.” And I would go into it more as a friendship thing, and if something happened from there, that would be fine. There could potentially be a different vibe when I’m not so nervous.

Seth: I’ll give it a 4 [out of 5]. It was just really refreshing to spend some time with someone who’s really attractive and shared a lot of the same interests. I definitely was not expecting to see that.

Rebecca: I would say probably a 3.5. He was such a great guy, but there wasn’t a romantic vibe, and I felt really uncomfortable through a lot
of it.

UPDATE: Both had a busy couple of weeks after the date, but they chatted by phone and, as of press time, were planning a weekend hike in Great Falls.

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

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