Date Lab

Sunday, October 29, 2006

7:30 P.M. | Butterfield 9 | Downtown

Neville: Anyone who knows me knows I'm always late. But I made an effort to get to the restaurant first. I was trying to get the upper hand. The other person has to be brought to you.

Jennifer: I pulled up pretty close to 7:30. Neville had already been seated. You know how the tone is set by the first move? The hostess brought me to the table, and, literally, Neville started giggling.

Neville: From the first glance, it was like, It ain't happening . There was an awkward moment -- mutual disappointment or surprise or whatever. Physically, Jennifer was fine. But I wasn't expecting a white girl.

Jennifer: I assumed he knew I was black. Both of my parents are African American. When I sat down, he started with the rapid-fire questions: Where did you grow up? Were you class president? He was fixated on the early years. Hopefully, he didn't see me roll my eyes. Normally, people don't ask you about high school when you're in your forties.

Neville: She went to [Winston] Churchill. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's not Washington. It's the metro area. Natives take a very hard line on that.

Jennifer: We talked about our interests and hobbies. We were looking for a common point, but I'm not sure we found it. He'd talk about golf, and my eyes would glaze over; I'd talk about my dog, and he would sort of yawn. It wasn't out of rudeness, just our interests were so different.

Neville: She's not a sports fan. She doesn't really watch TV -- no "Laguna Beach" or "Entourage," no "Wire," no "L Word." She's a classical music fan, and my three top musicians are Prince, Teena Marie and Jay Z. I'd be surprised if she's heard of any of them.

Jennifer: Of course I know who Jay Z is. I have very eclectic musical tastes.

Neville: I commented on how she looks like Reese Witherspoon. Now, being white isn't an issue for me. But that would've been a prime opportunity to point out, you know, "I'm not white." [She didn't.]

Jennifer: I don't know why someone in Race A couldn't look like someone in Race B. I thought to myself, He looks like Al Roker . But I didn't tell him that. One interesting topic: He said he liked younger women. I prodded, and he confessed the last person he dated was 21. I'm not lying!

Neville: She good-naturedly chided me about that. I'm not offended. I know who I am. A year ago, I went to Budapest with a woman who I've never seen again. I'm all about life's adventures. But she wasn't clicking on my humor. She had this quizzical look, like, Where are you coming from ? She went to the ladies room at one point, and I sent a female friend a text: You're safe.

Jennifer: We were there until 10 p.m. He was the one who said, "So, you ready?" and I said, "Yeah." I'd give the date a 2.75 [out of five]. I will say he was pleasant. Really nice, very funny. I like to laugh, and he was a good, hearty laugher. In a different setting, we'd have liked each other more.

Neville: I'd peg it at a 3. Jennifer's nice, cute, intelligent. But there was no electricity. I didn't know the whole night that she was black -- [not that] it would have made a difference. Culturally, she's a white girl. I may have to go back and talk to the hostess, though. She was a sista with dreadlocks. Definitely my type: young, cute and skinny.

Interviews by Jill Hudson Neal

UPDATE: Both daters report they haven't seen each other again. Shocker.

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