Date Lab: Will this photographer, and dad, get the picture?


(Photograph courtesy of daters)
July 17, 2013

He’s a photographer with a 10-year-old son who is familiar with Washington but new to living here. She’s an area native working in health policy, earning a PhD for fun, and with a strong sense of adventure. We sent them to Cedar in Penn Quarter.

Erika: I wasn’t expecting anything having read a lot of the other reports, so I was just kind of going into it open-minded.

Bill: I’ve actually never heard of Date Lab, and a friend of mine said, You should totally do this. You kind of go into all dating at this age, like, at best you hope for [is] someone you can be friends with and just sort of be open to having a nice time and just sort of getting to know someone interesting.

Erika: We met at Cedar restaurant. I bike-shared over, so I got there rather quickly. He drove, so he had trouble finding parking. I think the restaurant was as excited as we were. It was kind of funny watching them hover.


(Photographs of beverages by Bigstock; Gene Wilder, left, in “Young Frankenstein” © 20th Century Fox Licensing/Merchandising by Everett Collection; Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia” by Everett Collection; Legos by Associated Press; Rosie the Riveter and Martin Luther King Jr. by Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Bill: It was a favorable first impression. She’s really very lovely and very attractive.

Erika: I apologized for having a drink already, which was no problem, and he promptly ordered one.

Bill: We just bonded pretty quickly. We sat there talking, and the waiter kept coming over, and it was like, Yep, still haven’t looked at the menu. We talked about family and where we come from. I’ve been here for a year and a half after commuting for a long time, and she’s been living here forever.

Erika: Having seen D.C. change, the good and the bad and the whole area’s population change and things like that, it’s interesting for me to hear from someone who’s new to the area.

Bill: She’s clearly really smart and really open and curious about the world. I think this thing with her getting a PhD for fun, it seems like it’s really typical of her, just constantly pushing her own limits for fun. We had actually been to some fairly obscure areas of Costa Rica, and we talked a lot about our similar experiences in these random places that we both happened to have been.

Erika: He is a commercial photographer for political campaigns. He really enjoys his work, and I think it is so amazing when people know from the time that they are 6 or 8 or 10 that they want to be a photographer or a veterinarian or an actor or a doctor, and then they’re able to go and do that.

Bill: I’ve always thought I’d never end up dating somebody who didn’t have kids, just because it’s such a huge, central part of what runs my life. And she didn’t have any kids, and at first I think that kind of concerned me a little bit. When you go on a date with somebody who has kids, you both kind of get it: If the phone rings, and it’s one of the kids on either side, you’re going to take that call. But she seemed to get it and be really comfortable with it.

Erika:I really appreciated how important that relationship was to him and how he took care of it, and that’s always nice to see. At a certain point in your life, you expect people to have children and ex-wives and ex-girlfriends and that sort of thing, so that went very well. The conversation was flowing, so we went around the corner to the bar at the Hotel Monaco and had another drink.

Bill: We sat down at 7:30 or so, and when we kind of realized, okay, so we both have things we have to do tomorrow, that was midnight. It was almost like the date sort of ended a little abruptly. I dropped her off at home, and in terms of saying goodbye, it was kind of a polite kiss on the cheek.

RATE THE DATE

Erika: I’d definitely give it a 4. I’d be delighted if he contacted me again, but if he didn’t, I had a great time, and it was a great experience to have.

Bill: I didn’t feel really strong, like I really want to be sort of romantically inclined with this woman, it was more like someone I really liked and would love to be friends with. I’d have to say 2 (“not romantically interested”), maybe 3.

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UPDATE: Though the two exchanged e-mails the day after the date, travel plans put an end to the conversation. Bill headed to the West Coast for work, and Erika went overseas. “We haven’t been in touch since then,” Bill says. Now back in the country, Erika says, “I was surprised — we both had a good time — but these things happen.”

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