Date Lab

Sunday, September 2, 2007

7:30 p.m., Tonic, Mount Pleasant

Naniette: The night of the date, the restaurant's hostess told Sam I wasn't there [yet], so I sat downstairs waiting for about 10 minutes, just text-messaging my girlfriends.

Sam: I was upstairs having a drink. After a while, the hostess walked me downstairs to Naniette, who was very attractive and pretty fit. She had good height-to-weight proportions and short hair, sort of like how Halle Berry used to wear it.

Naniette: He was an attractive man, nice build, taller than me, which is always a plus. But as soon as he walked up, he started talking. We sat down at our table and it was, like, boom, boom, boom, a constant barrage -- just a strange conglomeration of questions and statements, my favorite being, "What do you think of black licorice?"

Sam: I thought I'd try out a few unique questions that I'd used at speed-dating events. But I guess they're not really useful on normal dates. I didn't want to have any awkward pauses, so I just kept talking.

Naniette: He was smart, cute and sweet, but he came across as a bit socially awkward. He also seemed very nervous. I considered putting my hand on top of his and saying, "It's okay. Relax." He told me he'd lost a lot of weight with Weight Watchers, and kept it off, which is very admirable. Then he ordered a huge plate of tater tots and the pulled pork sandwich.

Sam: I felt very comfortable with her; she was interesting and certainly pretty, and we had a couple of things in common, like dancing and athletics.

Naniette: At one point during dinner, the manager came over. Sam told him that the restaurant had messed up last year's Festivus celebration because the Festivus pole had ribbons or something. Sam went on about it for, like, 10 minutes.

Sam: I can see how I dominated the conversation, which I feel bad about now.

Naniette: After a while, I think Stockholm syndrome set in. I just sat back and enjoyed the oddness of the date. I mean, he's a very cute guy, and I thought it might be worth it to try to hang in there. But he never gave me an indication that he was interested in me. There was no flirting, no compliments, no follow-through on anything I said. He mentioned that he salsa danced, and I said, "I love dancing!" But he didn't react.

Sam: I was thinking, "We'll have to go dancing at some point." But I guess I'm not too good at showing that. I thought we had good chemistry. The highlight was after dinner. She suggested that we use the leftover money [from The Post's dinner allotment] to buy shots for everyone at the bar! That told me she was playful and had a fun spirit.

Naniette: [Afterward,] he waited outside with me until I got a cab. If he'd offered to go to a coffee shop, I would've still gone with him -- maybe given it 15 or 20 more minutes. But we exchanged numbers, hugged, and that was it. I'd give the night a 2 [out of 5]. We were on different trains, but, you know, if he called me, I'd give it a second chance.

Sam: I'd give it a 4.5. There's not much more I would've wanted in a first date.

Interviews by Jill Hudson Neal

UPDATE: A week later, Naniette and Sam went salsa dancing but agreed to end the night as friends. "I was right the first time," Naniette said. "No spark."

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