Date Lab: He wants to help, but is he hijacking the date?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

7:30 p.m., Bangkok 54, Arlington

George: I scoped out the restaurant the night before [to] make sure the establishment was nice and see what the menu had. When I arrived [on the night of the date], I got there about 7 o'clock. I got a Pellegrino and sat and watched the TV.

Rachel: As I am heading toward the restaurant, my stomach is growling. I am really excited. I arrive at the restaurant at almost 7:30 exactly. The manager takes me to the table where my date is sitting. He stands up from the table and shakes my hand. He is very handsome -- the boy next door and Prince Charming wrapped into one. But I am generally attracted to men who are taller than me. I thought, Maybe if I wear flats the rest of my life, it will be okay. I am keeping an open mind about it!

George: She is cute, and I always tend to gravitate toward redheads. The conversation happened very, very easily. It was funny, because I started off with a kind of strange thing to begin with. I told her I had just resigned from my job that day. I made the choice that I wanted to be doing something different.

Rachel: He said he does this all the time. That's in stark contrast to me. I was at the same organization for eight years. I don't want to make light of his decision. He had this transformational moment earlier in the year when he witnessed this horrible accident. He feels like this has turned around his life completely, and now he is just trying to do good all the time.

George: We also talked about why we got matched up together. We seemed to have the music connection in common. She is a vocalist, a soprano, and sings opera. I talked about my background playing in the [high school] band and my musical training [on piano, trumpet and guitar]. She did ask some questions like, "Do you like cats?" I was like, "Yeah, I do like cats, but I am deathly allergic to them."

Rachel: I have two cats, so that was kind of awkward. We still have not ordered food. I would say we are about 45 minutes into the date when he pulls out a box of Godiva chocolates. I am like, Okay, wow. I open it. There is this nice little handwritten card that says, How would you like to see some good news in the paper for once? Inside the card it said, Let's donate our meals to the homeless shelter and grab coffee instead.

George: She was like, "Oh, my gosh! Of course we should do that." So I was glad she was game for it.

Rachel: I just feel like I am this materialistic weasel who just actually wants to have dinner. All I am thinking about is my poor grumbling stomach! He has this puppy-dog look on his face waiting for my reply, so of course I am like, "Sure, great!" He pulls out a mini-spreadsheet that lists all these menu items and how much they cost and this calculation about how we can spend our [$125] Date Lab budget on food for the homeless. The spreadsheet did allow some money for us, so we [ordered] an appetizer. This guy is basically like Mother Teresa in young, gorgeous-guy clothing.

George: I was worried about coming off as a real do-gooder. And I am not a do-gooder. This year has been a strange one for me. I witnessed a car accident earlier this year. This kid was crossing the street, and a car plowed into him. It was one of the worst things I have ever seen in my life. It put my life in perspective.

Rachel: We rush out of the restaurant with a stack of food. I follow him in my car, and we go to a homeless shelter in Arlington. We didn't get to interact with anyone [staying] there, but [the staff] was extremely gracious. It was a nice moment that I was happy to be a part of.

George: We went to Plan B, which was going on to get coffee and keeping it low-key. She talked about her family quite a bit. I thought that was really cool, because a lot of women that I date don't mention their families. Family is really important to me, and I am very close to mine.

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