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Sunday, May 20, 2007

7:30 P.M., Gerard's Place, McPherson Square

Tom: I got lucky on the Metro, so I was at the restaurant 25 minutes early. I'd brought a book by a friend of mine, about Papua New Guinea. I used to live there and thought it would be a good conversation starter.

Lucie: I cycled from work. The hostess brought me over to Tom. He was a good-looking chap. Tall, nice hair, blue eyes, nice smile. You know right from the start if there's potential or not. There was potential.

Tom: She was an extremely beautiful woman -- and French. She had a smoky French accent but also a hint of an English accent, which was phenomenal. And she was wearing an amazing top with a plunging neckline.

Lucie: He'd been sitting so he could see what was going on in the restaurant, [but] he changed positions so he'd just be looking at me. That impressed me.

Tom: Our conversation was pretty typical in some ways: "Where do you live?" "What do you do?" But we had loads in common. We both used to work in international development. We're both really into the environment. We talked about foreign films, places we'd been.

Lucie: There was foie gras on the menu. That's an ethical dilemma, because they force-feed the geese, but it's also very good. I was curious to see if he would order it. This is an important test. I'm French; we take our foie gras very seriously. He passed. We both ordered it.

Tom: I think it's difficult to understand humor when it's not your native language, but it was easy to joke around with her. There was definitely chemistry. The food was excellent, [and] she was insisting that I drink quite a bit of wine. I think she was trying to get me drunk.

Lucie: It's not a strategy I employ. But I think we tasted all the red wines. [When the bill came, it] was over $200, more than [the $125] allotted from The Washington Post. He was a gentleman and paid. I believe in equality, but it's nice when a man pays the first time.

Tom: We'd been there for at least three hours. I asked her what she wanted to do. She suggested we go get martinis.

Lucie: We went to 18th Street Lounge. [But] we had drunk so much that we couldn't finish the martinis.

Tom: [Afterward,] we stood outside and joked about going to Atlantic City and getting married or flying off to the Virgin Islands. [Finally, I hailed a cab.]

Lucie: If he had truly asked me to go to Atlantic City, I would have gone. We got along really well. We tried to put my bike in the cab; it didn't fit. [So] he gave me a quick kiss -- a lady doesn't divulge the details -- and I biked home. [On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being horrible and 5 being great,] it was a great date.

Tom: The date was a 5-plus. And that doesn't even include her playing footsie with me under the table. She was one of those rare women who can do it all.

Interviews by Kelly DiNardo

UPDATE: The frisky couple e-mailed once, but when Tom didn't ask her out again, Lucie didn't push it. Turns out both were already seeing other people.

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