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Date Lab lets the celebrity capuchin from Rockville fill in as guest matchmaker to see if a monkey can set up a successful romance. Video by Whitney Shefte and Alexandra Garcia/washingtonpost.comDate Lab Discusssion

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

HOPING TO PROVE that we are, in fact, more skilled than your average primate, we turned to Rockville celebu-monkey Armani, who used a highly scientific process to match up Ginger and Matt. (We won't get too technical, but it involved shredding selected photos with his teeth and making hoo-hoo noises -- while wearing a tux, naturally.)

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And, no, we didn't tell our daters ahead of time. We may be losing our jobs to a monkey, but we're not stupid.

-- Christina Breda Antoniades

THE DATE: 7:30 P.M., LA TASCA, ARLINGTON

Ginger: Before the date, I sent my sisters a text message that said, "I'm officially going to be sick." I was nervous. I got to the restaurant late, and there was this old guy outside with a piece of paper in his hand, looking lost. Normally I'd help him, but I was afraid it was my date, so I just walked past.

Matt: [I was inside;] I'd gotten to the restaurant first. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was happy to see Ginger. She had a gorgeous smile; she's very cute. She gave me a hug and sat down.

Ginger: I got a good vibe from him right from the beginning. He seemed really happy and friendly. And I could tell he worked out. I said, "I'm so glad you're normal."

Matt: We ended up getting a pitcher of sangria and the meat tapas sampler, and talked about our families. I'm a local, but she got transplanted to this area. We both like classic rock and enjoy going to concerts and being out with friends. I told her a lot of funny stories from my fraternity days.

Ginger: My impression of frats is pure debauchery and that they're disrespectful to women, but the way he described it sounded a lot more innocent and just a fun part of college. We definitely laughed a lot. I will say that neither of us was very sarcastic, and sometimes I can be pretty sarcastic. We might have been holding back. I think we both knew that we found each other attractive. We talked about getting together again.

Matt: I was definitely holding back; I'm very sarcastic. When we took pictures, she was putting her arm around me and vice versa. There was definitely chemistry. We had dessert at about 9:30. I'd mentioned that Virginia Tech was playing [basketball], and she asked me if I wanted to watch it someplace.

Ginger: We walked across the street to Whitlow's. He wasn't paying any attention at all to the game. I said, "I'm totally distracting to you," and he was like, "No, no, it's okay."

Matt: I was definitely more interested in talking to her than watching the game. I don't think either one of us wanted the night to end. It just seemed very natural.

Ginger: Around 1:30, everyone was clearing out, and we were like, "Let's go." He walked me to my car. I had a ticket, the second one I've gotten in a week. He was like, "Okay, we're going to take that [expired county sticker] off, because that's why you keep getting tickets." He had a pocket knife and went in there and scraped the old decal off.

Matt: She gave me a hug. Then it seemed like we both wanted more. So we kissed for a little bit. I'd rate the date a 5. I definitely want to hang out again.

Ginger: I would give it a 5. I really can't think of meeting a complete stranger and having it go any better than that.

UPDATE: In the days following, the two exchanged text messages and talked about a second date. "We both definitely want to see each other again," says Matt. Even after finding out their cupid was a capuchin.

ON THE WEB: Go to washingtonpost.com/datelab if you'd like Date Lab to set you up.


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