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Date Lab: As if dating weren't puzzling enough

Sunday, July 4, 2010; W08

In early June, thousands of intrepid puzzle-solvers hit downtown Washington for our third annual Post Hunt, a game in which teams must solve a series of brainteasers. Included in the throng were two Date Labbers.

11:30 a.m. Freedom Plaza

Molly: [The Post Hunt] was portrayed as this really huge, mind-boggling puzzle that I thought would make me so dumbfounded. [But] I wanted to try something new. I prefer activity dates over dinner dates, [which] can feel like job interviews. That can be a lot more daunting than solving abstract mind puzzles.

Jeremy: I was really nervous at first, but I was excited to do the Post Hunt, so I figured worst-case scenario, I'd do the puzzles and that would be fun. I got there right at 11:30 and met up with [Date Lab editor Amanda McGrath].

Molly: I called Amanda, and she was, like, 12 feet away from me, and [Jeremy] was already there next to her. He's a good-looking guy [and] not too tall. Even though I'm considerably tall for a woman, I don't go for very tall guys.

Jeremy: She was cute: tall and thin and in good shape. She was smiling, which is good. I have usually ended up with more petite, shorter girls. But she was definitely good-looking.

Molly: We started chatting about our plan of action. It seemed like we're both kind of competitive, analytical people.

Jeremy: [Molly] was kind of leading the charge, which was great. We hustled over to the first location. I think we solved that one right away. We worked pretty well [together].

Molly: We were definitely very focused on the Hunt [but] otherwise we were getting to know each other. We seemed to have a lot in common. He's very well educated -- he went to MIT -- and an engineering consultant. I'm a computer geek. We both do sports at least in some minor competitive fashion. I kayak competitively, he's on a kickball team, and he does some game called cornhole.

Jeremy: She seems a little nerdy, in a good way. She plays video games. That's definitely good. She's also a big football fan, which I thought was pretty cool. We had compatible personalities and similar social lives.

Molly: At 3, we had to go back to Freedom Plaza to get the last clue. We had no clue what [it] meant, but we saw a lot of people heading in one direction, and we were like, "Let's just follow them." Then we ended up going kind of off the map. We couldn't see any [Post Hunt] volunteers, so we were like, "Okay, game over." It was 3:30, a little early to go to the restaurant [where Date Lab had a reservation], so we ended up going to [a] museum.

Jeremy: At this point, we actually talked to each other more since we didn't have the puzzles to distract us. It was more relaxed, but we were still having fun. We walked around the museum for about 45 minutes or so, and we got to [Jaleo] at about 4:45.

Molly: We sat down, ordered a pitcher of sangria. Then we ordered five tapas to share between us and just continued to talk. He's very attentive and had interesting things to say himself, just overall a nice guy. I love nice guys. We had dessert and another cocktail.

Jeremy: I don't really think there was too much flirting. It seemed mostly friendly to me. But I don't really consider myself much of a flirt, so that probably had something to do with it.

Molly: On my end, I'd like to think there was chemistry. Along with being cute, fun and charming, he seemed very accepting and appreciative of my many quirks and nerdy interests, which just made it very easy to be myself. But I do have a long history of being pigeonholed into the role of platonic female friend. I'd have to get to know him before I decided if there's romantic potential.

Jeremy: I decided that while I did like her and had a lot of fun, it was just a friends thing. It's nothing specific. In general, I just think that [after] first meeting a girl, you have a pretty good feel for whether there's a [romantic] possibility or not.

Molly: It was about 6:30. He was saying how he goes to [Jazz in the Garden] concerts on Friday nights. I was like, "My roommate's been trying to get me to go." And he was like, "You should meet up with us on Friday." We got each other's phone numbers and walked out together and went to the Metro. We hugged and said goodbye.

Jeremy: I had a great time. She's fun to hang out with and really easygoing. I'd give the day a 5 [out of 5] but maybe for the romantic portion a 3.

Molly: I guess I'd rate it 4.5. I thought it would be a full day of awkward and forced conversation, but it was the complete opposite.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

Update: Molly and Jeremy and their friends had a good time at Jazz in the Garden. Although the two talked about hanging out again, they hadn't made solid plans as of press time.

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