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Sunday, April 6, 2008

7:30 P.M., CAFE DELUXE, BETHESDA

Erich: I got to the restaurant first. I waited where the hostess was, then went into the bar area. Sarah was a little late. I'm thinking, Uh-oh, am I going to get stood up?

Sarah: I was using my Garmin navigator, and it told me it was only going to be a 15-minute drive. Erich was really good-natured about [my being late]. He had action-hero looks, which I've gone for before. But I'm in a different place now. Because of guys I've [dated], I associate that look with a certain kind of vanity.

Erich: She was a cute girl. It was a relief. I've had some bad dates when someone's said, "Oh, I'm average," and it turns out that they're over 200 pounds. I don't care what personality you have; if you're that big, it's not happening.

Sarah: He started firing away about his background information, like he had a lot of things in his head that he wanted to get out. Erich's from Canada; he's lived in a lot of different places in the United States and abroad. All of that was interesting. But he seemed really nervous.

Erich: [At the bar], I took like one or two pictures, and she took one. And then [some other customers] got mad and said, "Can you turn off the flash?" We laughed; I think that was a moment.

Sarah: We bonded over their snarkiness. But I kept saying, "I'm wondering if we're going to get seated." I was waiting for him to make a move about it; I didn't want to take the lead. But he wasn't taking charge. Finally, I asked if we could get seated.

Erich: We had a lot in common. We like to go out, travel, work out. Before school starts, she does her basketball thing, and the kids go, "Wow, you're good."

Sarah: I knew there was nothing romantic between us when I ordered [my steak] rare and he ordered his well done. That's metaphorical for me -- you're not willing to try the authentic flavor of something. [And one thing] he said was: "I'm glad that you're not hideous." I was like, okay, I don't know if that's a compliment.

Erich: I said, "You were what I expected, a cute-looking girl." Then I didn't know if that was enough, and I said, "You're not hideous or anything like that." Maybe she took it the wrong way.

Sarah: We were sort of the last people in the restaurant. He offered to walk me to my car, and I said it wasn't necessary. I didn't want to put him out, and I didn't want to prolong an awkward goodbye. He said let's exchange numbers, so I gave him [mine]. I was expecting him to hug me, but he didn't make any attempt.

Erich: After she said no walk to the car ... that just killed my game. That's where you give the hug. You talk for a little bit; then you close the door for her. But before she goes in, you give her a hug. I'll say [the date was] a 4 [out of 5]. We had a pretty good time. I'd like to go out again.

Sarah: I'd give the date a 2.5. I'll be happy to hang out again, but I don't feel compelled to seek him out.

Interviews by Elizabeth Chang

UPDATE:"Crazy week; I'll get back to you," Sarah texted after Erich called. But she hasn't. "Usually it's not my style to say I'm going to do one thing and do another," she says. "I just really don't feel interested."


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