Date Lab

Sunday, March 23, 2008

7:30 p.m., Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert, West End

Chanel: I left my house early but got completely lost. I called the [Date Lab] contact to say, "I'm not standing him up!" When I finally got to the restaurant -- 40 minutes late -- I was so relieved.

Curtis: It's so ironic that she was late -- I'm always the Late Guy. She was very pretty and had this big smile. I thought, "Okay, Washington Post, I can work with this."

Chanel: When he stood up, I was like, Only 5-9 or 5-10. What can I say? I like feeling like a little woman next to a big man. The host seated us at a very small table -- we could literally touch the people to the left and right. That didn't help ease our nerves. But then Curtis started cracking jokes -- and I didn't stop laughing the whole night. Once we got relaxed, we kind of tuned everyone out.

Curtis: There was a good vibe between us. She has a cute, teasing sense of humor that I liked. She suggested that we order for each other to see if we could guess what the other person would like. Being from the Northwest, I'm partial to seafood, so I went for the salmon for her.

Chanel: He picked the perfect thing. I ordered the flatiron steak for him. He's a man -- I figured he'd want some meat.

Curtis: We're in the same kind of business, but we didn't talk about work much. We talked about our families. Turns out, both of our mothers were elementary school teachers.

Chanel: He's close to his mom -- that's a good sign. And he owns his own business. He's a go-getter and totally infatuated with politics. I could learn from him.

Curtis: In the middle of dinner, I got a call from my friend Nate, who was in town for a conference. We'd already planned on grabbing a drink [later that night], so I talked to him real quick about where to meet. After I hung up, I said, "So, you're coming with me, right?"

Chanel: It felt natural to say yes, so we settled the bill. We were walking to my car [when] he told me he didn't drive. It kind of shocked me. I'm not picking a 33-year-old guy up for our dates.

Curtis: I do drive -- I just don't have or need a car now. I live and work in the city.

Chanel: Did I tell you that he's really blind? When we were walking into the bar at the Sofitel, he started walking toward this guy like, "There's my boy." It totally wasn't. I was like, "Um, you need to invest in some Lasik."

Curtis: I broke my glasses a few days ago. I thought I could play it off. That'll be getting fixed, like, ASAP.

Chanel: His friend was nice, but he immediately starts bragging about some committee he's on about how to solve diabetes in the black community. Not my thing at all at 12 o'clock at night.

Curtis: Nate's a lobbyist, a policy guy. I could tell the momentum of the date was starting to wane, so we said goodbye to Nate and headed out. I took her number. I'd give the date a 4.5 [out of 5]. I'm hoping there'll be another one for that .5 bit of improvement.

Chanel: It was a very good date, a 4.5. He's very interesting, and the height thing isn't such a big deal. His not having a car, though? We'll have to work on that.

Interviews by Jill Hudson Neal

UDATE: Chanel and Curtis have been talking regularly, and another date, she says is "in the works."

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