Date Lab
It's fourth and 10 for these Redskins fans. Will it take a Hail Mary pass for them to score?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

7:30 p.m., Proof, Penn Quarter

Alfred: I got there early and went with the hostess to a small table by the window. It was the winter's first snowfall. I thought it might be a good omen.

Lauren: I took the Metro and got [to the restaurant] about 10 minutes late. The first thing I noticed was that he wasn't dressed for a nighttime date. He had on a sweater and pants -- something you'd wear to your grandmother's house on Thanksgiving.

Alfred: Oh, my gosh, she was hot! First of all, I was very impressed that all of her teeth were there and pearly white. And she didn't have a weave, from what I saw. She was very bubbly. The restaurant was out of my normal price range; the fact that they had a cheese list made that clear. I was flustered by the wine list, which was 15 or 20 pages long, so I asked her to choose.

Lauren: The prices were pretty standard, nothing crazy. I ordered a bottle of Australian red wine and got the sweetbreads and hanger steak for myself. He was a little quiet [and] reserved. I tried to keep the conversation going by asking a lot of open-ended questions. I consciously didn't flirt, even though I'm a "Hey, we're at a nice restaurant -- let's get to chattin' and having fun!" type of girl.

Alfred: I wanted to present myself as a person with their life together, a strong figure. We went back and forth about the menu, about both being from D.C., Christmas shopping, sports. Sports is huge for me, and she's a Redskins fan all the way!

Lauren: Thank God for the Redskins! It was the only thing we had in common. I ran with it. I was surprised when he told me he was 26; it truly felt like he was 40. I wanted to tell him: "Come on, we're in our mid-20s! Loosen up!"

Alfred: I felt her holding back, also. It was like she was showing only her bubbly side. But I figured she'd open up as I got to know her. She did say she couldn't date a guy unless he had a college education. [That] bothered me, actually. I went to college -- I just don't discount someone who might be quality unless I know the whole story.

Lauren: Around the main course, he said he didn't really dance or go out much. That's where I was finally like, No chance.

Alfred: I come from very little in life, so I try to work as hard as possible. At one point, I made up an impromptu rap about how I can't dance.

Lauren: Okay, totally did not see that coming -- awkward! It was this stomping thing with a little song. Even though I'm a dessert person, I was ready for this to end. But when [the bill] came, he wanted to dispute it. It was $36 over our $125 limit, which is nothing.

Alfred: I work in the accounting business! I don't understand reckless charges, and I never did figure out why there was a handwritten number on the bill. She offered to split the $36, so I jumped on it. I was relieved not to have the money come out of my pocket. We walked to the [Metro]. I wanted to ask her if she wanted to go play some pool at Lucky Strike, but I froze. I asked for her number and put it in my cellphone.

Lauren: He's a nice enough guy that I didn't want to hurt his feelings; it would've felt awkward to say no. I'd say this date was a 2 [out of 5], and the restaurant added an entire point.

Alfred: It was one of my better dates -- close to perfect, a 4.9. A little kiss on the cheek might have made it a 5. I'll probably call for a second date.

Interviews by Jill Hudson Neal

UPDATE: Date Lab's disclosures changed Alfred's mind. "She kind of froze before she gave me her number, so I guess I should've known," he says. "After thinking about it, I probably won't be calling."

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