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For a stiff, 'buttoned-down' guy, he's pretty free with the pecking

Sunday, March 8, 2009

7:30 P.M., BLT STEAK, DOWNTOWN

Barry: I got to D.C. sufficiently early that I wandered over to Borders bookstore [before the date]. Then I went to the restaurant and sat down. Michelle showed up about 15 minutes later.

Michelle: First impression: nice-looking, but much more conservative than I am. It was a matter of body language and the way he was dressed. He was buttoned-down, stiffer. I could see he wasn't a casual, carefree fellow. But he's polite. He got up when I sat down, which I liked.

Barry: She's very attractive. Thin, nice figure, nice face, nice curly hair. I don't know if there was an automatic physical attraction, like, "Oh, wow, I desperately would want to date [this] person." But typically that doesn't happen with me anyhow.

Michelle: We shook hands, and I ordered a glass of wine. He made it clear that he did not drink. He joked that it was a deal breaker for me. I laughed and said no. But I do like a nice cocktail.

Barry: We didn't say, "Well, are you Jewish?" But the chef had made some appetizers, and we both asked whether there were pork products in them. We [thought], Yeah, either Jewish or Muslim. We proceeded to have a conversation about a wide variety of topics: the political situation, each other's families, how she was trained as an opera singer.

Michelle: He had nice manners, and he's obviously smart, [but] our characters are very different. I'm more adventurous, freewheeling. I was a model, an ad and marketing executive; I've been in magazine publishing, owned a real estate company. I like to take unplanned trips, to jump in the car and say, "Let's head west," and go. He's more of a planner, very precise. He's an attorney, so that's appropriate. I don't think he welcomes a lot of change, and I do.

Barry: I've been a public policy lawyer most of my life. If you have a law degree, probably you're not looking for a position as neurosurgeon or an electrical engineer. There's not going to be that jumping around. I found it interesting that she had a variety of stuff that she did. [But] I don't know that our senses of humor agreed with each other. I didn't read too much into it. I'd suspect that if you ask people that know me pretty well, they'd say it would be unlikely if anyone else on the planet has my same sense of humor. You know how dry Jerry Seinfeld's is? Jerry Seinfeld's is basically the Pacific Ocean compared to mine.

Michelle: I thought that he was a little lacking in the sense of humor department. We had the waitress take a few pictures. I think he gave me a little peck on the cheek in one. It looked like we were having a great time. We were just hamming it up for the photos. There wasn't any chemistry on my part.

Barry: For me, there was certainly some chemistry. And I didn't sense [a lack from her]. She was engaged; she was being polite. [On the other hand,] I didn't sense that there was chemistry, either. We had dessert, this chocolate sundae thing. Then I said, "Can I give you a ride home?" And she said, "Sure." It was probably around 10:45. I got her information in the car.

Michelle: He mentioned something that led me to believe he was interested in getting together again. I don't think I responded. I put my hand out and said, "Should we shake?" And he gave me a little peck, sort of half and half [cheek and lips]. I didn't want to give the wrong impression. But I didn't want to hurt his feelings by just turning away.

Barry: My impression was she found it slightly uncomfortable. I'd [rate the date] between 4.375 and 4.625. Will I ask Michelle out again? Yes. I don't know whether she has significant romantic interest in me, and I don't know if I have romantic interest in her. [But] I think she's pretty interesting.

Michelle: I'd have to [rate the date] a 2. It's not like he was a dolt or rude or weird. [But] he's not soul mate material.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

Update: Michelle got an e-mail from Barry the next day but was wary of responding. "I don't think I want to encourage it," she said.

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