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Date Lab: Does he pass the grandma test?

Sunday, May 9, 2010; W06

7:30 pm, Kellari Taverna, Downtown

Jason: I was a little anxious. I got there around 7:20. The hostess said, "Is there anything I can get you?" I said, "I would love a glass of water and Valium." She completely didn't get it at all. I thought, I'm going to totally flop, because no one is getting my jokes.

Amy: I woke up at 6:30 [that morning] and ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. I did not think about preparing for the date. I just had my things to do all day. I was a little late. [The hostess] walked me to a booth where Jason was sitting.

Jason: She's definitely very attractive. She was dressed very nice, cute shoes, nice hair. She is very good-looking.

Amy: [He was] definitely along the lines of what my questionnaire said: dark, curly hair and Jewish-looking. He was well-dressed and cute. He was smiling and stood up and shook my hand. It was a very good first impression.

Jason: Within 90 seconds, she said, "Sorry to do this, but my grandmother said I can't date anyone too old, so can I ask how old you are?" I said, "Well, I'm 30." She's like, "Okay, that's good." My grandmother [once] went up to a member of Congress and insisted this member find me Jewish girls to date in Washington. [So] we have the same grandmother, or our grandmothers are on the same wavelength. That was a great icebreaker.

Amy: We started with drinks [and] split an appetizer; we had baked goat cheese. I found it interesting that he is kind of an anti-foodie. I think he said something like, "If I didn't have to survive, I would not eat." That was a difference [between us] but not a deal-breaker.

Jason: We had a lot in common. We realized we both work on the Hill; we could talk business for days. Both of us are pretty committed to public service. She is really into sailing. I had taken sailing lessons when I was a kid, the culmination of which was capsizing a boat in San Francisco Bay. I pretended that I was extremely knowledgeable about [sailing] and threw out some sailing terms. At first she was, like, really impressed, but it became apparent I just knew the words but didn't know what they meant.

Amy: I knew what he was talking about, but I don't think he knew what he was talking about. But it made for a very funny story. If I am laughing during a conversation and continue it, that means I'm interested. He had some pretty crazy anecdotes. [Then] he initiated the photography. Not to say that I shy away from cameras, but I liked that he took the lead.

Jason: [The waiter] really wanted us to hold a lobster. It started crawling around. That kind of freaked us out a little bit. It was quite the scene. I should probably find a lobster stuffed animal to send her.

Amy: It was probably 10:30. He said, "Do you want to go somewhere else?" I was getting kind of tired, [but] I was having good time, so I said, "Why not?"

Jason: We had to pull out our BlackBerrys and figure out what was around there. There is no way two congressional staffers are going to get through a date without someone pulling out a BlackBerry. It was her idea to go to 18th Street [Lounge]. We sat out on the patio because it was a nice night but also because we wanted someplace a little quieter so we could hear each other.

Amy: I think there was definite chemistry. I don't think it was overt flirting; it was just engaging conversation.

Jason: I tend to be a little bit shy. I'm a little reluctant until I know someone to start flirting. I wouldn't say this is a love-at-first-sight kind of thing, but that is not necessarily bad.

Amy: I finished my beer and said, "I think I'm pretty tired." We wrapped it up around 12:15.

Jason: I offered to give her a ride. We were both sitting in the car so it was a little awkward, but we had a quick hug goodbye and a kiss on the cheek. We didn't exchange information. One of those things I am absent-minded about. But we have each other's work e-mails and know where each other's offices are. I know how to get in touch with her.

Amy: [I'd rate the date a] 4.5. It was a good date to end a really good weekend. I'd definitely get together again.

Jason: I would give it a 5 [out of 5]. I would not say I am completely head-over-heels in love, but I thought it was really a great date.

Interviews by Nina Patel

Update: A week later, the two wanted to go kayaking but because of chilly weather opted for dinner and a movie, instead. They're planning a future kayaking date.

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