Date Lab: Blind dates just aren't for everyone

Sunday, May 30, 2010; W08

7:30 p.m., Founding Farmers, Foggy Bottom

Nathan: I'm pretty new to the area. Some friends at work kind of forced me to [apply for Date Lab]. I was [at the restaurant first], and I tried to grab a seat at the bar, which didn't work because it was so packed. So I ended up just going and sitting at the table for five minutes.

Emily: I've never been on a blind date. [I applied] a year and a half ago, so I kind of was nervous when I got matched up because I didn't even remember what I had said [on the application]. I had recently been broken up with, and as a morale thing some people at work were like, "Oh, sign up for this. This is fun." I drove, but then I parked too far from the restaurant, so I walked several blocks to get there, and it was windy, and I felt like my hair was poofy. I went in, and it was really busy around the host stand so I decided to just find the ladies' room and then come back. I need[ed] a moment to compose myself. One of the hostesses took me over.

Nathan: I was definitely taken aback. [She had] reddish strawberry blond hair; you don't see a lot of that. I'm not trying to be shallow or anything, but, you know, I'm glad she's attractive. She was wearing a kind of a red dress, I couldn't even explain it: kinda, like, fluffy.

Emily: I thought he looked younger than people I normally date. He had youthful features. Usually I've dated people who are older. [He looked] average in an approachable, regular-guy kind of way.

Nathan: We started talking right away; it was really comfortable. I work for a New York politician, and she's from New York, so we talked a little about that, and she's really into art, so we talked about how we're both drama geeks.

Emily: We [talked] about politics at least a little, [and] we agree in that area. I don't understand people who could date someone who disagrees in that area. For me, it's just too important.

Nathan: I don't know who brought it up first, but we're both pescetarians; we don't eat meat other than fish. We had the fried green tomatoes, and we both apparently absolutely love goat cheese.

Emily: It's not something that I look for initially when I date someone, but it's definitely a bonus. I guess from my upbringing, [food is] more than just eating; it's sharing.

Nathan: I have no problem with people that do [eat meat]. Neither one of us is, like, PETA animal-rights crazy; it's more of a health reason. It's easier when you have the same kind of reason for why you did it. She got the tuna steak. I ended up getting crab-stuffed ravioli. She's into drama therapy; she wants to teach. I think no matter what I end up doing in the future I want to help people. That's why I got into politics, so [it's] awesome that she wants to teach kids how to use drama as a social building tool. I didn't even know you could do that. I've always thought of myself as maybe dating a teacher or something. We're both hippies at heart. I don't have the long hair and hemp clothes, though she laughed when I told her I do have a pair of hemp shoes.

Emily: It was [an] uneventful, pleasant evening. I can't think of anything good or bad that stuck out for me. Recently a lot of things have happened in my professional life, and I just feel different than I did a year ago. And I felt like he was more in that zone that I've just gotten out of. We had a lot to talk about, and we related, but I really felt like we were just a little different.

Nathan: You know how you start talking to somebody you've never met before, but you feel like you've known them? I felt like that, and we found more and more connections throughout the night. I don't know if it was [a] crazy love-at-first-sight thing, I didn't really get that, but it was one of those things that I would definitely like to pursue further.

Emily: I think I learned from this experience that I really take a while to get to know people. Maybe I'm not the blind-date type. I don't feel like I can flirt with someone who I just met. I feel like it could have been maybe better, more fun, for him or for both of us if I'd been able to be myself a little more.

Nathan: I walked her back to her car, we exchanged numbers, and I think we might do something either this weekend or next week. She's got finals coming up, so I don't know. We did the hug, and I kissed her on the cheek, and that was it. I'm going to [rate the date] a 4.6 [out of 5]. It's between a 4 and 5, and it was on the high side.

Emily: [I rate the date] a good 4. No strong connection, but a good experience. If he contacted me I would definitely consider going out, but I don't feel strongly compelled to contact him.

Interviews by Elizabeth Terry

UPDATE: The two connected on Facebook, but Emily says she's met someone else, and while she'd be up for hanging out with Nathan again as friends, there "probably wouldn't be a romantic future."

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