Date Lab: One person's D.C. scene is another person's Brooklyn

Sunday, March 14, 2010

7:30 p.m., Oyamel, Penn Quarter

Matt: I had a little bit of a busy day at work but dipped out early to go home and change. I didn't want to be in boring work clothes all night. I was able to make it down there a little early. I showed up probably about 10 minutes before Suvi.

Suvi: I was slightly nervous. When I showed up, Matt was already sitting at the table. He was wearing an oatmeal-colored sweater. I am not very dressy at all, so I was happy I didn't see someone sitting there in a three-piece suit. He had a good smile and seemed very friendly. He wasn't an eyesore.

Matt: [The hostess] walked Suvi over. From the name, I anticipated that she was Finnish or a Dane or Dutch. I sort of anticipated this tall, blond person, and she more or less fit that description. She seemed like a nice, attractive, kind person. But I wouldn't say my heart was leaping out of my chest. We shook hands and started chatting right away.

Suvi: When I sat down, he was, like, "Suvi? Is that Northern European?" I was impressed that he guessed that. He then picked Finnish, which is correct. The first hour was a relatively serious conversation. We jumped pretty quickly into what kind of work he does. We talked a lot about energy sustainability. It was pretty academic and dorky.

Matt: It was very much a D.C.-politics kind of conversation. We then talked about all the places both of us had been. I had been living in the Netherlands for a couple months, then Honduras and Hawaii. It was two hours, maybe, before we ordered.

Suvi: He kind of just took the reins and ordered ceviche [for the appetizer] and a few small plates. There was no rush to get in and get out. It was a lot of leaning back, chatting, [but] there was no overly romantic vibe.

Matt: The ceviche sat on the table for 20 minutes before we touched it. Food was low on the priority scale. We were just trading stories back and forth. No one was cracking jokes, though. She said she is getting ready for med school.

Suvi: He asked the easy question: "Why do you want to be a doctor?" I dished out probably the most banal, most tedious answer, like I was talking to an admission counselor. I feel terrible! I should have been a little bit more engaging. I then rattled on about health care for too long.

Matt: She is very talkative, and she is very driven. I am looking for someone who is more interested in the moment and what is going on right in front of them. I have a lot of friends who work in restaurants and music here in the city, so I am usually out and about -- 18th Street Lounge for reggae night and U Street for jazz.

Suvi: He called himself a hipster at one point, but it was pretty apparent he showers. I articulated what I do more as hobbies. I am a subscriber to the National Symphony and recently started playing the violin.

Matt: We were there until probably 11ish. After the restaurant, we hopped into a cab. We hugged. The cab took her back over to her place, and I continued up to some friends' place before I went home.

Suvi: No plans; no phone numbers. I was in the school of thought where if he wanted to ask for my number, he certainly could have, but I wasn't running to give it out.

Matt: I would say the date was about a 3.5 [out of 5]. It was an enjoyable time; I wasn't blown away. I am used to dating people who have a bit more down-to-earth appeal. I would usually date someone who is a little more into the local D.C. culture and not that D.C. bubble politics kind of culture.

Suvi: I would give it a 3. I like to think it wasn't a painful experience for him. There was nothing romantic on his part. I wasn't putting that out there, either.

-- Interviews by Stephen Lowman

Update: Not so much as a Facebook friend request. Suvi says they had a nice time, but if she and Matt had wanted to get together again, "we're both outgoing enough that [contact information] would have been exchanged at the date."

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