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Sunday, March 9, 2008

7:30 p.m., TUTTO BENE, ARLINGTON

Alexa: I got [there] first and was taken to the table. The host said, "I'll give you a good seat so you can see what he looks like when he comes in."

Joe: [I walked in, went to the host stand and] heard this, "Hi, Joe!" She was 5-foot-2, 5-foot-3, blond hair, wearing a black dress. Cute and a nice smile. I pretty much knew immediately it was going to be a fun night.

Alexa: He's an attractive guy. But a little older than I was expecting. He's got blondish hair; it's -- oh, I feel bad -- it's thinning a little. In terms of looks, I usually like darker, swarthier-looking men. I normally date guys right around my age or a little younger. [But] you never know until you talk to somebody. He came over. I gave him a big hug. I'm really friendly.

Joe: Whatever little nervousness I had, that got rid of it. She sings in a wedding band, and I play guitar. We both do training as part of our jobs, and we both have traveled and like to travel. The conversation flowed without specifically having to fall back on those things.

Alexa: He's fun, but I'm a bit sillier, I think. I swore a couple of times [and apologized]. He said, "I do that sometimes, too, but not when you first meet me." I'm pretty much who I am.

Joe: We got the waiter [to take pictures]. There's one where I was dipping her and one where she was trying to dip me. She seemed to be having fun.

Alexa: In a few, [Joe] was sitting down, and I kind of leaned down so our faces were next to each other, putting my arm on his shoulder. He kept reaching up [to] hold my hand. I didn't say anything to him about it. I'm not going to hurt his feelings. I was like, Oh, my God, it looks like we're making a love connection. I was worried that that was the picture that would go in [the paper]. After we ate, he said, "Well, we can go other places." I said, "Actually, I gotta get home -- I have a dog." I didn't think it was necessary to definitively say to him, I'm not interested. I figured if I said, "I really gotta get going," then, you know . . .

Joe: I think that if it weren't a matter of having to go to work [the next] morning or if the restaurant closed an hour later [the date would have gone on longer]. We hugged goodnight.

Alexa: Yeah, I think I hugged him; I guess I did. It was the awkward, trying-to-put-distance-between-you, he's-walking-me-to-my-car-I-hope-he-doesn't-kiss-me kind of thing.

Joe: I asked her if we could do it again, and she said sure. I gave her my card. Not asking for her number was probably a dating faux pas. I'm probably not as aggressive as I should be. I'd [rate the date] 4 [out of 5]. It wasn't an, Oh, I fell madly in love kind of thing, but I'd like to go out again.

Alexa: I was like, "Okay, well, thank you, and drive carefully, and catch you later." On a romantic scale, I'd have to give a 1, because there was none of that there for me.

Interviews by Elizabeth Chang

Update: Alexa e-mailed Joe the next day, signing off with, "Have a good week and take care." "That pretty much means, like, buh-bye," she explained. Days later, she e-mailed him again. She "wanted to let me know in advance that . . . she didn't say anything but nice things about me," Joe says.

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