Date Lab: Can this nice guy actually finish first?
7:30 P.M., LEVANTE'S, DUPONT CIRCLE
Matt: I was very relaxed. I got there pretty early and got a seat by the door. It was a guessing game: Who was it gonna be? At one point, a woman walked in carrying a gift. I thought, Oh, no, she brought a gift? But it wasn't [Catherine].
Catherine: I had picked out my outfit a few days before, and then I put it on, and it didn't look good. So I was running around changing clothes, second-guessing my fashion choices. I was very, very nervous. I called a cab, [which] dropped me off at the wrong place. But I was only about 1 or 2 minutes late. I walked in, and [the hostess] pointed to a table, where Matt was sitting.
Matt: She had a black skirt on, high heels, a black blouse. She looked fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised.
Catherine: He was very tall, very cute, really my type. I'm a very huggy person, but he put out his hand first so we just shook hands, introduced ourselves and then got right to talking. He was going a mile a minute. He's just extroverted, which is great for me, because if I'm interacting with an extrovert, I become more extroverted.
Matt: We just asked questions back and forth: Where are you from? What school did you go to? She matched my energy, and she was very open right away, which is how I am, too. We didn't order anything for the first 30 minutes, and then we got a bottle of wine.
Catherine: When the waitress brought the wine out, he was, like, "I've only done this once, and I made a fool of myself." He swirled it around and tasted it, and he kind of made fun of himself about that. He had this self-deprecating kind of humor, which I appreciate. We both have younger sisters, and we're both polar opposites of our sisters, so we talked about that. We're interested in other cultures. And we both love "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." There were probably five minutes where we were just quoting it and singing songs from it.
Matt: We discussed the pros and cons of dating at the bar versus through a matchmaking site, and we both agreed that this is a lot better. It felt good that we were on the same page with that.
Catherine: He cooks, which is awesome, because I do not. I was saying [that], and he gives me this perplexed look. I was, like, "I've probably scared you off." And he was like, "No, I was just looking at your eyes." I thought, Maybe that's a line. But he [said] he was trying to figure out what color they are so he could tell [Date Lab]. Then he was, like, "Wow, I really blew making that a romantic line."
Matt: I really liked her eyes, actually. They're blue. There absolutely was chemistry. Definitely flirting.
Catherine: There was one point where it was so cute. We were talking about pickup lines, and I disclosed that I actually have a line that has worked. If I'm with a guy that I'm interested in and we're talking really close, I simply point out our faces are really close together, and without fail the guy goes in for a kiss at that point. So he looks at me and says, "Catherine, I think any guy would go in for a kiss, whether you said that or not." He made it very clear that he liked me. There was no guessing.
Matt: I don't tend to play any games. I'm very upfront. We literally stayed until the restaurant closed, and it being, like, 10:30 or so and it being a weeknight, we kind of decided to cut it off there.
Catherine: I gave him my business card and wrote my phone number on the back. We left the restaurant, and he took my hand. I love holding hands, so I thought it was wonderful. He said, "What are you doing this weekend?" and I said, "Saturday I'm free," and he said, "I'd love to take you out Saturday. I'll give you a call." There was a goodnight kiss. I have a bad track record of dating cocky jackasses, to be frank, and I need a change of pace. He's earnest and open and a welcome departure from the norm.
Matt: I gave her a hug and told her I'd call her for a second date. She got in a cab, and I got on the Metro, and that was it. I like her maturity. And she's very down to earth. I don't feel like she's really high-maintenance or I have to really impress her.
Catherine: I will [rate the date] a 4.5 [out of 5]. I think a 5 kind of implies that I know everything there is to know about him, and the truth is I want to get to know him better.
Matt: I'm going to have to actually go out on a limb and [rate the date] a 5. It was one of the best dates I've ever been on.
Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades
UPDATE: Matt and Catherine got together for a second date, but there won't be a third. "We both agreed that we were looking for different things," Matt says. "I was looking for more of a relationship, and she's really busy with her job to manage that." Catherine concurs.