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Sunday, February 10, 2008

7:30 P.M., VIDALIA, DUPONT CIRCLE

Lisa: I was determined to have as much fun as I could possibly have. I got to the restaurant early, so I went to the bar to calm the nerves.

Joel: [When I arrived,] they were like, "Oh, your date's at the bar." She was better-looking than I'd expected. with girl-next-door looks. But typically I go for someone with longer hair and more petite. Although she certainly was in no way big. I'm extremely picky.

Lisa: I thought he looked like Wentworth Miller from "Prison Break." And he looked friendly -- not aloof or overly serious -- so that helped me feel comfortable. We went to the table and started talking immediately.

Joel: We ordered appetizers, both experimenting with frog's legs. She said she's usually not adventurous in food. I like to try different cuisines, so it was something I noted.

Lisa: He kept saying, "ribbit," which was hilarious. [Religion] came up very early on. My friends and I were taking bets on what he'd be like, and I'd said "a Jewish lawyer from New York." He said, "You've got two right." I don't date based on religion. But it's a nice plus. We talked a little about growing up in a Jewish family.

Joel: I don't look for Jewish women, even though I'm Jewish. A lot of the generalities of Jewish women don't fall in line with what I'm attracted to. One is that they talk a lot. We talked about the Jewish thing way too long. Then we were totally not talking about jobs, and she just segued into it, offering what she does even before asking what I do. That was kind of a turnoff.

Lisa: I'm fairly passionate about my job. But that was a small part of the conversation.

Joel: On paper, she's ideal. She's this amazing person, from the islands, Ivy League, an MBA, ran a marathon. But I'm usually attracted to someone a bit quirky. It felt like she was extremely polished. And there were times where I tried to get words in and I couldn't.

Lisa: I probably did talk more than he did. For me, it was a really good thing, because I've been told that I don't talk much on first dates. In the back of my head was, "Wow, I'm not afraid to talk to him." And he definitely made me laugh. That's really important.

Joel: I don't think we gelled in that regard. Maybe she's a serious person. Maybe it was being in a nice restaurant and first-date jitters.

Lisa: I was into using the camera for all it was worth. I'd say, "Do something silly," and he was totally into it. Maybe there was chemistry; I have a hard time telling on a first date.

Joel: We shared a dessert. I wasn't feeling an extreme yes and definitely not an extreme no about her. But she said it was past her bedtime. I offered to drive her home. I'm guessing we got there at 11.

Lisa: It was pretty late for me; that's an indicator that I was having a lot of fun. We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses. My assumption is that he's interested in at least getting together to determine if we're better off as friends. I'd give the date a 4 out of 5. I'd be willing to see where it takes us.

Joel: I'd rate the date a 3.5. I want to see how things go outside the microscope.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

UPDATE: Lisa e-mailed Joel saying she had a good time. Joel says the message was witty; he'll request a second date ... soon.

DATE LAB IS LOOKING FOR singles. Go to washingtonpost.com/datelab for details.


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