Date Lab: Proof of the power of a few good compliments
7:30 P.M., CAFE PIZZAIOLO, ARLINGTON
Lauren: I got there a little bit before 7:30. I live around the corner, so it wasn't hard for me to get there. I was nervous and excited, and I had totally built the date up in my head.
Todd: I went home after work, showered and changed. I got there about five to 10 minutes late -- you know how the Metro runs. She was sitting there waiting for me. I was pleasantly surprised. She was really pretty, and she had a professional look about her. I definitely found her attractive.
Lauren: He was about 15 minutes late. He wasn't familiar with the area, so it was fine. We shook hands and sat down. I thought he was very cute and very handsome. I liked that he was put together. With his little sweater and a collar popping out, he was looking nice. I was attracted to him. One of the first things we started talking about was wine.
Todd: She's been to Italy and did a wine tour over there. My specialty is more California and French wines. She had to school me on Italian wines. The conversation was pretty good. We bounced around from what we do to family stuff to things that we hope to do in the future.
Lauren: Apart from wine, we don't have much in common. He's from Kansas, and I'm from California. Our backgrounds and what we do now are different. But we were having a very good conversation.
Todd: She might have been a little more nervous about the situation than I was. At certain times in the conversation, she would ask, "Are you having a good time?" I was, like, "Yeah. This is fun." It was like she was a little concerned and wanted to make sure everything was all right.
Lauren: I was curious! I kind of wanted to know how the date was progressing for him. I thought there was some chemistry. There was flirting, but it was subtle.
Todd: There was definitely flirting at the restaurant. Like, I mentioned something about how I used to row and do triathlons and stuff like that. But once I started grad school, I stopped doing physical activities because time was not really a luxury I had. I told her I gained 50 pounds over the course of grad school and that I had lost it over the past five months. She was like, "Oh, yeah, you are looking pretty good." As the night went on, she dropped a couple times how cute she thought I was. I complimented her, too.
Lauren: We were finishing up, and I think I was the one who asked him if he wanted to continue the date and grab a drink somewhere. We ended up popping over to Freddie's Beach Bar. I didn't have it planned, but I like Freddie's a lot. And they have karaoke on Tuesday nights.
Todd: The night had already been kicked off -- we had three bottles of wine between us at the restaurant. She mentioned grabbing another drink, and I was, like, "Yeah, let's not go home." We walked to Freddie's and ordered drinks at the bar. We kissed a little bit. I think I just kind of made a move into her. At a certain point, you can tell when someone is obviously into you. I've had urges to give lessons to some of the girls I've kissed before, but there was no instruction necessary with her.
Lauren: He was a good kisser. Then I convinced him to get up and sing. He did [Kansas's] "Dust in the Wind." He was confident. He was good.
Todd: Luckily an older lady went up before I did, and I was like, "Yes! Someone as rotten as me!" I am tone-deaf. [Lauren] got up after me and did Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." She stumbled over a few words, but she knew what she was doing. We talked for a little while longer, then left sometime between 12:30 and 1 [a.m.]. I got her number, and we kissed goodbye.
Lauren: I am going to give the date a 4.5 [out of 5]. He was very kind and thoughtful -- a gentleman. I texted him [the next morning] and thanked him for a wonderful evening. I also joked with him about having a hangover.
Todd: I'll give it a 4.5. The date had a loose, relaxed feel. We don't have anything formally planned, but we are definitely hanging out again. My hangover was okay. I remembered to drink three glasses of water before I went to bed.
Interviews by Stephen Lowman
Update: Their plans to meet up the following weekend were thwarted by December's record-breaking snowstorm, but they hit up some karaoke-free bars a few days later. And when Todd's flight out of town was canceled, Lauren invited him over for Christmas Eve dinner.