7:30 P.M., ARDEO, CLEVELAND PARK
Emily: I was able to walk to the restaurant, so I got there first, right at 7:30. The bartender brought me over to my table. I was thinking, What is he going to look like? Is he going to be a normal person?
Ryan: I got the Metro early, [but] it turned into the Metro ride from hell. There was an emergency, so at every stop I sat for, like, 10 to 15 minutes and, just to add insult to injury, the entire Metro car didn't have [air conditioning]. [At] the stop before Cleveland Park the doors wouldn't close, so we all had to get out. I got a cab, and he didn't have AC and refused to roll down the window. So I was slightly frazzled by the time I got to the restaurant.
Emily: They brought him over. He was very tall, I think 6-4, and very attractive. He has a friendly face. As soon as I saw him, I knew that it would be fine.
Ryan: If I can define someone as "cute as a button," I think I'd classify her as that. She just has this warm smile, and you can tell by looking at her that she's a happy, energetic person. The first thing I thought was, I'll bet she's a teacher. We sat down, and the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm really nervous," and the first words out of my mouth were, "I'm a big mess right now." But as soon as we started talking, that all went away.
Emily: It was Restaurant Week, so the waiter came over and explained the whole menu. [Ryan] mentioned that he played the guitar. I play also, so I asked him what [kind of music]. He mentioned country. It's not very common in this area that people like country music.
Ryan: We both started out hating country music but then ended up liking it. She likes to cook a lot and does a little baking, and I don't cook as much, but I bake a lot. So there was this weird symmetry between us. I'm a runner and she's not, but for me it's not that big of a deal. I don't think it's as fun if you find people who do everything that you do.
Emily: He was talking about how he was a really nerdy kid, really tall and skinny and played the trombone in the marching band, which I loved. I played the clarinet. I was like, "Oh, you had 'ugly kid syndrome.' " He had never heard of it before. So I explained to him that it's a great thing.
Ryan: I don't think we took any pictures until after dessert. It turns out our waiter was, like, a budding photographer, so he was going like . . . paparazzi [with the camera provided by Date Lab]. [Emily and I] were touching each other during the pictures. There was definitely a minor amount of flirting.
Emily: It was pretty PG. I probably would have liked there to be a little more [flirting]. I think that we were both very aware that this is going to be published. He suggested that we take pictures somewhere else. I suggested [Nanny O'Brien's], the bar next door. We headed over and got a drink. I think I was trying to flirt a little bit more [there].
Ryan: The conversation was very light at the restaurant, [but] once we got to the pub, I guess we got comfortable enough that we [tried] more serious conversation. We talked about religion, about death, about blind dates and relationships, and we alternated between that and talking to the guy next to us.
Emily: I really was attracted to [Ryan's] ability to talk to anybody about anything. It was obvious listening to him talk to people around us that he is very friendly and open.
Ryan: The fact that she really seems to enjoy her job as a teacher, I really like that about her. It takes a certain person to be able to do that job, and I seem to like those people. I think we stayed [at the bar] a little over an hour. The Metro was on her way home, so she walked me there. We exchanged telephone numbers and briefly talked about maybe taking her two-stepping or going out to dinner again.
Emily: We hugged goodbye. I'd [rate the date] a 4.5. He's somebody that I would be interested in dating.
Ryan: I think I'd [rate the date] a 4. I wasn't completely 100 percent blown away, but we have so much in common and got along so well [that] it's worth pursuing another date to see what is there.
Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades
UPDATE: A week later, Emily and Ryan had texted and talked on the phone and made plans to see each other again. But after a second date of minigolfing, both agree their future holds more potential for friendship than romance.
HE'S A CUTE, upbeat 30-something prone to witty banter. Are you the creative boy-next-door he's looking for? Sign up at washingtonpost.com/datelab.