7:30, La Tomate, Dupont Circle
Eric: I got to the restaurant about five minutes early. The waiter seated me, and I ordered a glass of wine. When Sarah walked up, I stood up and shook her hand. I thought she was very pretty. She has a nice smile and definitely keeps herself in good shape.
Sarah: I didn't know what kind of guys do Date Lab. I feel like it's something that girls would be more willing to do. When I met Eric, I thought, Cool. He's not some dorky guy who is weird. He was cute. I sat down and ordered a glass of wine. I knew we were going to have a good time because we were having a hard time looking at the menus. We were talking so much.
Eric: We had a lot in common. We both like the outdoors. She just went backpacking in Lake Tahoe. I had just gotten back from some alpine climbing in Colorado. She was in the Peace Corps and lived in Albania for a few years and taught elementary school. When I was in grad school, I taught at a high school in Maine.
Sarah: We shared a Caprese salad. I was glad he was okay with it. Sometimes people are funny about sharing food. He talked a little bit about where he worked. He gets to go on these really cool excursions. I normally would have asked him more about it, but I was conscious of not being all about work. Since I've been in D.C., people are always talking about work. That really irks me. We're more than that. We also ended up bringing up more outside interests.
Eric: We'd been at the restaurant for about two hours and I mentioned that it would be kind of cool if we took some pictures [for Date Lab] around the neighborhood. The "Real World" house is a half-block from the restaurant. We walked past the house, and the cast was all out there. We asked one of them to take our picture.
Sarah: We walked around and talked for a while. Our conversation never felt awkward. Then we went to Russia House for a drink. He paid for drinks there, which I thought was nice.
Eric: After we were finished with our drinks, I suggested we walk down to the fountain in Dupont and take some pictures.
Sarah: We went into Kramerbooks, and I asked him if he wanted dessert. We shared a chocolate mousse. He looked like he was going to offer to pay for dessert, too, but I did. He walked me home and asked for my number. He gave me a hug goodbye. When I was in bed, he texted me to say that he had a really good time and to give him a call to hang out sometime.
Eric: I would give the date a 4 [out of 5]. I've been on some blind dates that were awful and awkward. This was the best blind date I've ever been on, but meeting some random person through the newspaper is a little weird. I would have to get to know her better, outside of [Date Lab], to see how the romance is. We'll see how it goes. I have her phone number and she has mine.
Sarah: I'd give the date a 3. It was so great because it got me out of my same circle of friends. He's so nice and I had fun. I would love to hang out with him again, but my gut reaction is that we'll just be friends. There wasn't anything wrong, but I didn't have those nervous butterflies in my stomach.
-- Interviews by Kelly DiNardo
UPDATE: Eric and Sarah have traded Facebook messages about getting together for a bike ride or a 10K race, but neither plan has panned out. "We have a lot of the same interests, but I think we're just going to be friends," Sarah tells us.