Date Lab: Is he just good at first dates?

Sunday, June 13, 2010; W08

7:30 p.m., Annie's Paramount Steakhouse, Dupont Circle

Andrew: I was excited. When I walked in, I must have had a clueless look on my face, because they knew exactly who I was and what I was there for. They showed me to my seat.

Kate: I was a little nervous. A lot of my friends were giving me advice [such as], "Don't say anything too personal." I'm more an open person, so I was thinking, I'd better be more reserved than I normally am.

Andrew: They walked her over and introduced us. She's 5-9, very nice hair, very attractive. And she had a presence about her. She exudes a self-confidence, and she seemed really happy to be there.

Kate: He was tall, [and] I liked the way he looked. It was a good first impression. [But] I felt a little awkward. I kind of sat down and was trying to figure out what to do with my coat and umbrella and purse. I was thinking, "I need a drink, but I don't know what I want." It was unusual for me to feel so discombobulated. But he just sat and waited for me to get my act together. Then we started talking right away.

Andrew: I think things started off very well. I hate starting off with job interview-type questions, but you have to find out about each other: What do you do, how many brothers and sisters do you have, where are you from? We had a natural rapport.

Kate: We ordered drinks right away, and the waiter suggested the calamari, which we both enjoyed. He has a civil engineering degree, but he always had a talent for building, and that's something I like. I've had a varied career; I have advanced degrees. [But] I've always wanted to go in the direction of finding something I love to do, and I've found it. We talked about how we're both really happy where we are -- it's not so much what you've done but where you are now.

Andrew: She's got a twin sister, and she made the comment that her sister is her soul mate. She's very close with her family, and I really liked that. And we talked a lot about traveling. She'd been to quite a few states, did a little bit of international traveling, lived in several places up and down the East Coast.

Kate: He lived in Antarctica for six months. He had all these interesting experiences. [But] he wasn't bragging, which is good. I don't like pretentious travel people.

Andrew: As long as someone has a passion, that's all that matters. She's very adventurous. [And] she's a very happy, outgoing person, so I think she'd be happy pretty much doing anything. Those are the kinds of things I look for in a person.

Kate: [The conversation] was light but serious at times, too. We were laughing a lot. There's something about him I really like, and I'm not sure I can put my finger on it. There is something there that seemed definitely worth getting to know.

Andrew: [There] was maybe a laid-back, subtle chemistry, [but] not the overt fireworks-spark kind. I didn't feel the romantic rush. [But] I enjoyed her company, [and] I don't like to jump to a quick conclusion. I look more for the compatibility factor. Many of my relationships have started out more on a friendship basis. And I kind of prefer it that way.

Kate: I like to flirt, but I was trying to be more reserved than I usually am, so I wasn't really flirting. [But] there was the potential there. I looked at my watch, and it was 10:30, and three hours had flown by.

Andrew: It was nasty out, so we didn't have much opportunity to walk around, which I think would have been nice.

Kate: We walked to the Metro. [Then] he gave me his card and [said he] was hoping we could get together.

Andrew: We were sitting [on the train], and I put my arm around her, [but] it was kind of hard to hug, so [we] basically just [said] goodbye.

Kate: I'm going to give it a very solid 4. I don't mean this in a bad way, but I get the sense that he's really good at first dates. [He] seemed comfortable, and his openness put me at ease and made me look forward to the evening with him and wonder whether a second date would be fun.

Andrew: I'm usually pretty comfortable meeting new people, I don't come across as nervous, and that probably puts the other person at ease. I'd rate it [the date] a 4 [out of 5]. [She's] somebody I'd like to get to know better.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

Update: Andrew didn't have Kate's contact information and hadn't heard from her. She has Andrew's digits but says her schedule has been too hectic for her to call. So far, it's a missed connection.

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