Date Lab

Sunday, June 10, 2007

7:30 p.m., Grillfish, Golden Triangle

Chuck: I got to the restaurant before her, but I didn't see her come in. The host introduced us. I was happy -- she's really a beautiful girl, very natural, and had on great shoes.

Tara: I'd come from having an after-work drink with a friend, who told me to be nice. [Laughs.] When I walked in, I saw a guy standing by himself by the door, but he didn't grab my attention, honestly. He was handsome in a generic kind of way. The host introduced us, and we shook hands. Thankfully, Chuck didn't have feminine hands. I hate that in guys. We went to our table, and he slid in next to me on the banquette.

Chuck: I felt very comfortable around her right away. Her accent was cool: sort of British, [but] like she'd gone to a British school in Thailand, maybe. Her being Asian didn't faze me -- I'm from a mixed-race background, and I've dated multiple people who were Asian, here and out in San Francisco, where I lived for three years.

Tara: I've never dated an African American guy before, but his race never registered. I was more nervous about him being named Chuck. Growing up overseas, I assumed a Chuck would be this Midwestern guy who sat at the bar in a football jersey, yelling at the TV and pounding back beers. But my preconceived notions were completely wrong, I'm happy to say. He was very sophisticated.

Chuck: We're both into wine. She suggested a Malbec -- I chose one from Argentina from 2004.

Tara: We ordered the portobello fries, which [when they arrived] looked horrible but turned out to be very good. He didn't let the look of the food stop him, which shows an openness to new things. He told me the cool story about how his parents met. His American father was in the seminary when he traveled to Uganda, where he met Chuck's mother. She was in a convent at the time. I was like, "Whoa!"

Chuck: She seemed very curious about my travels in Africa, and I loved her stories about growing up in Thailand, Australia and Japan. We both agreed that it's best to travel for longer than a week to really get to know the place. During dinner, we also discovered that I used to work for her consulting firm. We don't know the same people, but her face was like, That's a problem.

Tara: I don't want to date another consultant, especially one that has such close company ties. I probably put the brakes on at that point -- not that there were any real sparks flying, anyway.

Chuck: We were getting along well, but I didn't feel anything. To be honest, I'd re-kindled a relationship with an old friend about a week earlier. I didn't tell Tara -- past or present relationships didn't come up -- but maybe I had that in the back of my head. [After dinner,] we walked to the Metro together, and, as soon as we got onto the platform, my train came. She gave me her card and a quick hug. I'd give the date a 4 [out of 5]. I didn't leave thinking, I can't wait to see her again.

Tara: [I'd rate the date] a 4. Maybe I have these real high, romantic notions, but [this felt like] more of a friend thing.

Interviews by Jill Hudson Neal

UPDATE: Chuck and Tara e-mailed for a few days, but at this point, "the trail is probably cold," Tara says.

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