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Date Lab
Was it the restaurant -- or was it just him?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

7:30 P.M., Eli's Restaurant, Dupont Circle

Assaf: When I got to the restaurant, I wasn't wearing [my yarmulke]. I don't normally, [just] around the house and when I go to synagogue. I'd never been to Eli's, but I'd heard of it; it's the only kosher restaurant in D.C. Inside, I saw a few family friends. One was there with his wife, who was pregnant. Sitting there, I got more comfortable, and I was thinking my date was Jewish and her reaction to the kippah would not be too averse. So I put it on.

Stef: I was a little bit anxious, knowing he had an Israeli name and that we were going to a kosher joint. Though I'm Jewish, I'm not going to temple every Friday night/Saturday morning, and I don't keep kosher. So I was nervous that (a) I didn't fit in there and (b) I was going to end up meeting this guy who has a totally different lifestyle. [Inside, the women were] all wearing skirts and have multiple children, because that's what Orthodoxish people do. I'm wearing my skinny jeans, my boobs are hanging out, and I'm going, Oh, this is mortifying. Assaf was waiting at the bar. Sure enough: He's this small little Jewish kid wearing a yarmulke.

Assaf: She's a nice girl, very beautiful. We sat down and started talking: what does she do, what do I do, what is she interested in. I was telling her about my work, overseas trips I've had with my company; she's telling me about trips that she had. She'd spent 40 days [traveling] around the country with high school kids.

Stef: We had a hundred-whatever dollars [from Date Lab] to spend at this deli, basically. I had a bowl of soup and potato latkes, and he had some kind of chicken thing. So Assaf did something really nice: He suggested using the rest of the money to buy sandwiches to distribute to the homeless people at Dupont Circle.

Assaf: She seemed interested in doing that at the beginning. I thought we could prolong the date a bit. But as the night went on, we found out that we don't have too much in common. [We both run,] but it seems like her running is something she does for exercise, while I try to always run with someone or as a part of a team. I'm from Israel, and she was telling me she had never been but was planning a trip this winter. I was hoping for a bit more of a connection to Israel. All my family is there, and I go there once a year.

Stef: At one point, he kind of made a suggestion about me having kids one day. And I said that basically there's a lot of things I want to do before. His take was, What can't you do with kids? Why wait? I'm going, Dude, I'm 24; I'm not ready.

Assaf: I kind of had kids on my mind [after seeing my acquaintance in the restaurant]. I'm [almost] 26, and I do have some pressure and some personal desire to have kids in the near future. I know that subject put her off. Her answers were a bit short.

Stef: I was out by 9:30. He was like, "Do you want to go for a walk?" And in my head I'm going, To my car, yeah. I said, "I have to be at work in the morning." We walked out, shook hands, "See you later." [On a scale of 1 to 5,] I give the date a 1.5. Not my type.

Assaf: I would give it a 3. She's fun to hang out with and very nice, very friendly. I don't know if I'd go on a date again. But if she wants to go play soccer or go running or something social, I'd be into that. [After she left,] I went to Dupont Circle and distributed the sandwiches. There was one homeless man who said, "Sometimes I get the Sunday Magazine and I read Date Lab. So, thank you very much for the sandwich, and I look forward to reading about you in the article."

Interviews by Elizabeth Chang

UPDATE: Stef says she may call Assaf about her school's career day, "but that's the extent of it."

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