Emboldened by the matchmaking success of our first guest cupid, Armani the monkey (whose daters ended up smooching on the street), the Date Lab editors enlisted local astrologer Misty Kuceris, hoping she, too, would perk up our divine-to-disaster date ratio. Given only a bunch of birth dates, Misty chose and predicted success for Nori and Long. "These two have their Venuses located in the same sign, so communication is important" to each, she said. She also thought they'd click intellectually, "respect each other" and be risk-taking enough "to really be serious when they said they wanted to participate in Date Lab." It sounded heavenly, but would the stars align?
7:30 P.M., RESTAURANT 3, CLARENDON
Long: Before the date, the ground rule I set for myself was "leave the sparks at home." I didn't want to be disappointed. Also, I tend to get nervous when I have a "romantic" date. I walked to the restaurant. It turned out we both did. On the way, I actually saw her. I wanted to say, "Excuse me, are you Nori?" But Asian girls walking in Clarendon aren't unusual, so I kept going.
Nori: Inside the restaurant, he turned to me, and we introduced ourselves. I knew by his name that he was probably going to be Asian. I don't find many Asian guys attractive. It's like going out on a date with my brother. But I was trying to keep an open mind.
Long: She's fit, so she has a nice body. She has a pretty face and a nice smile. I hate to sound racist, but I kind of go for lighter-skinned Asian girls. But I was totally willing to find out more about her. Looks are the first to go, so intellect is extremely important.
Nori: They sat us down, and we talked really easily -- about basketball, about work. He talked about how he and his parents migrated here, and I talked about my background. It was fairly general -- like you're just having an everyday conversation with somebody about things that are sort of interesting but not really a shared passion.
Long: We started talking about the Seattle SuperSonics and all the members who used to be on the team; she knew who those guys were. And she knew all about the World Cup -- where they were played [in past years], which teams. It's not that we had a lot in common, but we could talk about a lot of subjects. I got over the looks question very quickly. She's got such a tremendous intellect. That overshadows anything else.
Nori: He talked more than I did. I felt like there was this underlying compulsion that kept him talking. Maybe he was nervous. Then there were a couple of odd moments. When they brought a bread basket, he's like, "Oh, here's more carbs for you." I did a little double take. And when they brought our entrees, he was talking, and I started eating. When he finally started, he said, "You must really like yours, because it's almost gone." I was mildly offended.
Long: She has a hearty appetite. It was a total compliment. And the fact that she finished eating so quickly allowed us more time to talk.
Nori: We had dessert. Then I did some muggy photos, and I'm like, "Hey, how come I'm the only one doing it?" I don't think he heard me.
Long: I'm a little more sedate. But she didn't pressure me into making goofy poses, so I felt at ease.
Nori: Two and a half hours went by quickly, but there was no chemistry. It's definitely the ethnic thing, being too much alike as far as external features. [If not for that,] it's possible I'd have been attracted based on his background and things he was interested in. It was 10 p.m., and the restaurant was closing. He mentioned something about going for coffee. I was like, "No, I need to catch up on my sleep. I've had some late nights." And, honestly, I have. I recently bowed out with someone I was attracted to because of being tired.
Long: We walked out, and I said: "I had a great time with you. You're a wonderful person. May I give you my contact information?" I leaned forward to give her a hug and she leaned forward also. It was one of those hugs where your shoulders touch and your hips are five miles apart, but I didn't expect more. I hadn't approached the date as romantic. The whole evening, the R word didn't come into play. But I would rate the date a 5 [out of 5]. I hope she calls.
Nori: I'd give it a 3. I would go out again to play volleyball or sports. I think we have enough in common generically to be able to do that. But not a date-date.
Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades
UPDATE: In retrospect, Misty thought maybe she overstressed the role communication would play in Nori and Long's budding relationship. "Next time, we need to focus on how passionate it gets," she said. When told how her match had been made, Nori, an astrology skeptic, laughed and agreed with Misty's assessment. Long, meanwhile, wasn't fazed. "I don't discount" astrology, he said. "It definitely has a big place in Asian culture."