Date Lab: Will two biology students find they share a certain chemistry?


(Courtesy of James and Leandra)
February 20

These two science students, biology undergrad Leandra Bitterfeld, 21, and biotechnology master’s student James Ulrich, 25, have a lot
in common, but what about chemistry? We sent them to the Oceanaire Seafood Roomto see how they’d react to one another.

Leandra: I’ve read The Post my entire life, so I filled out a Date Lab application on a whim.

James: I started subscribing to The Post for school, kind of. I thought [Date Lab] could be fun.

Leandra: I was on the Metro, and I saw a guy about my age who was dressed in a blazer and a button-down, and he got on probably two stops after me. For whatever reason, I was like, That’s my Date Lab date. It wasn’t. I got off the Metro, and he stayed on.


(PHOTOGRAPHS OF STEPHEN COLBERT, LEFT, IN 2012 BY LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS; BILL CLINTON IN 2010 BY BARBARA KINNEY/GENEVIEVE DE MANIO PHOTOGRAPHY/ASSOCIATED PRESS; DOLPHIN BY BIGSTOCK; EAGLE BY RICKY CARIOTI; TOM HANKS, LEFT, IN “FORREST GUMP” BY ASSOCIATED PRESS; JOHNNY DEPP OF “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN” BY PETER MOUNTAIN © DISNEY ENTERPRISES; BICYCLES BY ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG; TRAIN BY BIGSTOCK)

James:When I started getting ready, that’s when I got nervous. I’ve never been on a blind date before.

Leandra: He was already seated at the table, and the host brought me over. I was so nervous walking to it, and right away all the nervousness went away. He smiled right away.

James: I thought she was really cute. She said, “Oh, can we hug?” And I said yeah. So that was a good first impression.

Leandra: He was cute, for sure, taller than I am. That’s always good.

James: I think we hit it off right away. Nothing forced ever had to come up; it was pretty natural.

Leandra: He wants to go to med school, and I’ve thought about med school, so it was a similarity and at the same time a difference.

James: I did bio undergrad, I have a master’s in genetics, and now I’m getting a master’s in biotechnology. She’s getting her undergrad degree in biology, so we had stuff to talk about.

Leandra:It was really cool to be with someone who has the same academic and career interests as I do.

James: I think she’s traveled as much or more than I have.

Leandra: I just got back from a semester in Copenhagen, right before Christmas, and he had been in Holland for a year. I think both of us really just love experiencing new cultures. I told him about my trip to Morocco, and he had been to Tanzania three times. He volunteered there.

James: We pretty much talked the whole time, and it never got awkward. She’s really fun and outgoing and easy to talk to.

Leandra:We took a little while to order. I think both of us were really curious about the other person.

James: She’s actually probably the first person I’ve met here who’s from D.C. So that was interesting. Most people aren’t very excited about where they’re from. But she was into it, which is nice because I love the city.

Leandra: We didn’t talk politics at all, which was great. He just seemed like a really understanding person and an open person and someone who wants to learn from everything around him.

James: She talked about skiing and surfing. She’s really outdoorsy, really outdoorsy. That’s great.

Leandra: We were really, really comfortable. He had school the next day, and I [had] work in the morning at 8. We had to go home and try to sleep.

James: We both walked to the Metro. We were going in different directions on the same line, so it was awkward in a cute way, having to wait on opposite platforms for our Metros to come. I could see her smiling from across the whole two tracks. That’s like something out of a movie.

Leandra: I was excited. I definitely texted my two best friends.

James: I remember leaving thinking, Wow, I’d really like to know more about this girl.

Leandra: I gave him my number, and I’m waiting for him to text or call me.

RATE THE DATE

James: 4.5. I am really excited to see her again. Last week is the last week of our semester, so I don’t how quickly I’ll be able to do that. It was a lot of fun.

Leandra: 4.5. It was really fun. I had a great time. I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I hope he texts me. I’m excited about it.

APPLY FOR DATE LAB AND CHECK OUT THE ARCHIVE

UPDATE: Between classes and schoolwork, the two have been texting and met up again for drinks around U Street. Leandra enjoyed the date, saying there was plenty to talk about. James agreed that it went a lot like the first date, in a good way. He says he’s looking forward to seeing her again.

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