Date Lab

Sunday, September 28, 2008

7:30 p.m., Vinoteca, U Street

Michaeleen: I applied for Date Lab at the beginning of the summer. Since then, I've met someone. We're monogamous: I wouldn't have a physical relationship with two people at the same time. [But] I am exploring having deep friendships with members of the opposite sex that may or may not evolve. I didn't want to regret not doing [Date Lab]. So I went. I got to the restaurant a little early and waited at the bar.

Steve: When I went in and told the hostess my name, Michaeleen was already there. She was a very pretty blonde. She had an engaging smile that made me feel comfortable.

Michaeleen: My first reaction was, Whew, someone good-looking. He was very hand-some and well groomed, but not metrosexual. He looked approachable and warm. The waitress took us to our table. I asked him about what made him want to try Date Lab, and we chatted about that. Then I told him I was going to have to look at the menu. I was hungry. Seven-thirty is a little late for me to eat.

Steve: She's really smart and easy to talk to. We're both swimmers. We both love the beach. We talked about those things for a while.

Michaeleen: We both have sons. I teach second grade, and his son is going into the second grade. Steve's [also] a yoga instructor. I enjoyed hearing him talk about doing yoga with children. [But] I didn't delve into all the really personal stuff. I don't want to know why he's divorced. If we went out again, then maybe. But not now.

Steve: I thought I'd want to see her more and get to know her better. [But] she lives outside of Baltimore. Without traffic, that's an hour drive from where I'm at. And I have an 8-year-old son. I'm committed to spending a lot of time with him on the weekends. Traveling a long distance for dating, that's just time away from my son.

Michaeleen: We stayed until almost 11. Our bill came close to the Date Lab budget, and Steve left extra [for the tip], which I thought was really classy. Then he walked me to my car. We were strolling down the sidewalk, and I asked him if he was seeing anyone. He said no. I told him I was. He seemed okay with that.

Steve: I was a little disappointed. It would have been nice to meet someone who was actually available. But they teach you to keep a neutral mind in yoga. So I just let it be and stayed in the moment. We left it as we'd stay in touch as friends. I would give the date a 4 [out of 5]. I enjoyed hanging out with her, and I think if she was available, it'd be nice to date her -- though I'd think about the distance.

Michaeleen: I'd give the date a 4. I'd like to see Steve again; I would enjoy his friendship with a touch of romance. [But] this is new for me. I was married for 20 years, and I never did the whole date-lots-of-people thing when I was younger. The man I am seeing is out of town, so he doesn't know about Date Lab. I am going to tell [him]. I do believe in being honest and up front.

Interviews by Kelly DiNardo

UPDATE: The two have emailed, but "I think we're going to be friends," Steve says. "She's still dating the other guy." Almost two weeks after their dinner, Michaeleen had still not told her boyfriend about Date Lab.

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