7:30 P.M., ROSA MEXICANO, CHINATOWN
James: The day of the date, I booked it to the restaurant by foot, probably with two minutes to spare. The hostess brought me to the table. But Amy actually beat me. She's kind of the girl next door. My initial impression was of Boof, [the character] in "Teen Wolf" with Michael J. Fox.
Amy: I was like, "Oh, this guy is cute." He was clean-cut and had glasses, which is the quintessential dorky cute. He sat down, and off the bat we were talking.
James: We started with the standard questions: where you're from, where you're working, living. She just graduated and moved out on her own, which is all very normal. The conversation was very, very easy. And within 10 or 15 minutes we were taking absurd shots with the [Date Lab] camera. She was pretending to down a spoonful of salsa; I was pretending to down the whole pitcher of sangria.
Amy: I went to Virginia Tech. He was like, "I went to Dartmouth." I was like, "You're a lot smarter than me." But I didn't feel from him like I was beneath his level intellectually. We were talking about how in college he never finished the language course he needed to graduate, and that's quite similar to my experience in math. It was probably 45 minutes before we ordered our entrees.
James: I pleaded with the administration, and they were nice enough to let me pass. [Amy and I] were going back and forth with embarrassing stories. It was good light humor, poking fun at each other. I wore headgear back in the day, and I mentioned that I was big into video games early in my life, and Amy kind of ripped on me about that. And I might have slipped up and mentioned that I might have watched a few romantic comedies.
Amy: He is a fan of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" [like me]. I guess that's a guarded secret.
James: Intellectually, we had a lot of back-and-forth. But we didn't talk a lot about our interests. And I'm not that much farther ahead than she is, but I guess I was looking for, "I want to do this and this and this and be here in 10 years." She might have that lined up and just not said it. [But] we never got past the fun banter.
Amy: I had a really good time, and he seemed to have a good time, so obviously there was some connection, some chemistry. There was a little [flirting], a little teasing with "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and so forth. At one point he came across to my side of the table to take a picture, and he had his arm across my back. And he told me I smelled good, so that was good.
James: I don't think there was a particular point like, "Oh, this is definitely not going anywhere." It was just slowly but surely [realizing it]. Part of it might be that I've dated the girl next door before, and at this point I'm looking for something else, maybe someone who looks a little older and has been out there on their own for a while.
Amy: We got the check and headed out about 10:30. He got a cab for me, and we hugged goodbye. He text-messaged me later, and I texted back, suggesting we have a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" date. He agreed. When I came home, my roommate said, "You're beaming!" I'd rate the date a 4.75 [out of 5]. I'd love to hang out with him again.
James: I'd give it a 3.5. I could definitely see myself hanging out with her again. I just don't think it would be on a romantic level.
By Christina Breda Antoniades
Update: Amy texted James to meet up one night, but she didn't get a response. He says he got the text too late, and "it sort of fizzled." Now he's seeing someone.