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Date Lab: When in doubt, find common ground

Sunday, May 16, 2010; W06

7:30 P.M., AUSTIN GRILL, PENN QUARTER

Matt: I was excited for the date. I tried to make it so I really didn't have any expectations. I got there about five minutes before she did.

Kristen: I was exactly on time. The hostess knew I was from Date Lab right when I walked in and took me to the table. I wasn't all that nervous. I figured I could easily make conversation with just about anyone.

Matt: I didn't have a strong impression of her either way. It wasn't: Oh, my God, this is horrible, or Oh, my God, she is incredible. She has pretty eyes and a nice smile.

Kristen: We shook hands and kind of half-hugged. He was fit and attractive. I wasn't disappointed. But I was more interested in finding out who he was than what he looked liked. He was like, "Let's get the D.C. question out of the way: What do you do?"

Matt: When she said she was a government contractor and she works with the Marines, and here I am this social worker, I thought, Oh, boy. I thought maybe [Date Lab] had put two opposites together. But it turned out not to be a point of contention at all.

Kristen: I think he saw where I was coming from. He said he was a social worker, and I thought that was really, really cool. At the beginning, we were just sort of chatting and getting to know one another. We ordered drinks. I got a beer, and he got a margarita.

Matt: She seemed a bit reserved at the beginning, so I was a bit concerned. I am the type of person who is smiling and laughing all the time.

Kristen: That's pretty accurate. I was kind of nervous, just because I feel like I can be a little over-the-top. So I was worried that, if he was timid, I was going to have to dial it back. But he was really easygoing. I didn't have to pretend to be someone else.

Matt: She said that she biked across the country to raise money for this organization [called Bike & Build] that provides affordable housing. I had done the same thing only two years before her. We knew mutual people, and it was a fun experience to share between the two of us. She warmed up pretty quickly, and everything was good.

Kristen: When he said he had done Bike & Build, that's what put me at the most ease. We seemed to connect on a lot of different levels.

Matt: She joked about how her friends and co-workers have to remind her that she isn't a dude. She is a huge Redskins fan [and] was talking about how she is fighting her way to get into some fantasy football league, just so she could prove herself as a true pro-football fan. I found this all hilarious and admirable.

Kristen: I'm a tomboy, I guess. I'm definitely one of the guys.

Matt: We were having a good conversation, and we were having fun, but there was no flirting. We were there until about 10. I kind of got the vibe that she wanted to call it a night. I was like, Whatever, that's fine. [But then] we walked outside, and she was like, "If you want, we can grab a beer or something." I was like, "Sounds good."

Kristen: We each had a beer [at Iron Horse Taproom]. We were laughing a lot. I don't think it was overly flirty. I'm not a flirtatious person by nature.

Matt: When we finished our beer, she said, "I'd be down for another." I was like, "This has been good, but perhaps we will continue this another night." I think I would have stayed a bit more if I was more interested. I wasn't bored, but I was tired and ready to go at that point. I paid for the beer. I'm a little old school at times and always try to be a gentleman.

Kristen: He did look a little tired. He was nice enough to walk me to the Metro. Unfortunately, right as we were saying goodbye, his bus pulled up.

Matt: It was a rushed goodbye. I told her that I would like to get her number. That's when she quick[ly] gave me her card. Then it was like, "Great! I had fun! Thanks! Goodbye!" That was it. I would say it's a 3.5 [out of 5]. She's very fun. She is not preppy or dainty or anything like that, and, speaking from a guy's perspective, that's refreshing. We had a lot in common, but I don't think there was much of spark on either end.

Kristen: I told him to call me so I could save his number. I sent him a text that I had a good time. I would give it a 4.63. He was a really outgoing, nice, good-looking guy, but I didn't really feel any vibes coming from him.

Interviews by Stephen Lowman

Update: All quiet on the communication front. "I just haven't been that interested in making contact," Matt says.

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