Date Lab: She loves cars. He'd rather ride shotgun.
7:30 P.M., Spezie, Downtown
Heather: [Date Lab] was kind of a New Year's resolution to try something different. I left [Virginia] around 5:30, because you never know if you're going to hit traffic. [Then] I had to try to find a parking spot. I'd say I walked into the restaurant around 7:15. I'm always early.
Doug: I wanted to be closer to my new co-workers, so when I found out they were Date Lab fans, I said if they helped me with my application, I'd submit it. It was a fun bonding experience. I had to stay a little late at work [the day of the date], so I ended up rushing home to get ready. I didn't want to be dressed more formal than her. I left my office around 6:45, so was pretty impressed to make it only about five minutes late. She was seated at the table just waiting for me.
Heather: He definitely looked like someone who was in a government field. Hair parted on the side, button-down shirt with a little sweater, kind of a preppy look. That's just the vibe I got from him. In my opinion, he was just an average-looking guy.
Doug: She had a nice smile and was very cute and had a nice sense of style. There's no doubt about the fact that she's attractive. But for me, I don't think there was a lot of physical chemistry. It's just one of those things.
Heather: [We] shook hands and just started talking. He ordered himself a drink. I just stuck to water the whole night; I'm not a big drinker. We talked for maybe 20 minutes before we ordered. This was the first time either one of us had been on a blind date. [We] talked about jobs, we both love soccer, we both enjoy "Star Trek" and British comedy, all the "Monty Python" stuff.
Doug: There were definitely some awkward moments -- we have such different lives that [early on] it was hard to think of the next thing to say -- but I'm pretty outgoing and asked a lot of questions. She has a really cool job working to design satellites. I think the fact that an attractive girl can be in a job like that, in what I assume is a predominantly male profession, is very impressive. And her passion for cars and stuff like that was really different. I was joking with her that if we went to the racetrack, she would have to drive, because I would probably damage the car.
Heather: He's not a car lover like I am. I guess you could say he lost some points there. I'm taken aback when I find out somebody doesn't like cars. I minored in motor sports in college. I studied racecars, engines, aerodynamics. Motor oil runs in my blood, I guess. He seemed like he really enjoyed his job, and he told me about how he was interested in environmental policy. His political leanings were a little different than mine. He mentioned that he's a Democrat, [but] I don't like to talk politics, especially on a first date, so I just kinda left it where it was.
Doug: She indicated she was a Republican, [but] I don't let my political leanings keep me from being friends with people. She may have been concerned because that's my job, but I try to keep work at work. She's a really interesting person, but I didn't really ever feel like we had any romantic chemistry. We finished our entrees, we had dessert, and I had a glass of port, just 'cause I'm a 50-year-old man trapped in a 25-year-old man's body. I walked her to her car. It was really windy, and she was wearing really high heels, so I offered her my arm so she wouldn't fall. As we were approaching her car, she almost took a dive, but I managed to keep her up.
Heather: I gave him my number and we hugged, and he gave me a kiss on the cheek, and we parted ways. The engineer in me wanted to [rate the date] 3.14159, but I'm going to say a 4 [out of 5]. He was really easy to talk to, but the physical thing, I don't think that was there.
Doug: I give it a 4 out of 5. I would definitely be open to hanging out with her again, but since there wasn't too much chemistry, it would be more as friends. I want her to take me racing. I'd get shotgun.
Interviews by Elizabeth Terry
Update: Doug and Heather traded friendly Facebook messages but have no plans for a second date.