Date Lab: Maybe we should've found someone goofier-looking?

Sunday, September 5, 2010; W08

7:30 p.m., Daily Grill, Dupont Circle

Tom: I've never been on a blind date before. I took a cab [and] ended up getting there 15 minutes early, but I just went in anyway. I sat down and checked out the menu.

Carie: I was definitely excited, but I was really nervous. I'm usually late, but I got there probably five or seven minutes early, and Tom was already there. I remember putting down [on my Date Lab application] that I like cute but goofy-looking boys, so I was like, Oh, my gosh, they could match me up with anybody. But he was really cute -- a little short, but that's okay. I was like, Phew, he's normal. I didn't know if I was going to give him a handshake, but he stood up and gave me a hug, so that was nice. It broke the tension.

Tom: She had a very pretty face. She was a brunette, which is my type, and she looked very sweet. I thought, This is not going to be as awkward as I originally thought. We started with two cocktails, and then we ordered an appetizer. Then we ordered our main meals and each had another cocktail.

Carie: With working in a restaurant, a lot of my friends just let me do the ordering when we go out. But I really like that he took the reins in ordering. He was like, "Let's get this; this is my favorite," and with the drinks, he kind of took the lead with, "I'm going to get this kind of drink." That took some nervousness off.

Tom: We started with all the normal questions: where we went to school, what we do, how long we've been in D.C. She was easy to talk to, and we got along great from the start. [But], usually, I can tell right from the start if there is going to be chemistry, and I could tell I was going to be in the friend zone. There wasn't any unique personality trait or feature that I was instantly attracted to.

Carie: He was wearing dark jeans and a button-down black shirt, so at first I wasn't sure if he was, like, a hipster or what his scene was. But the more we talked, [I learned] he kind of goes with all of those groups, which is really kind of refreshing and nice. I think our personalities matched up a lot.

Tom: We [both] like to go out and be social, attend happy hours, be with our friends.

Carie: He wasn't bragging, but he was telling me his interests -- he played soccer and lacrosse -- and then he told me about where he was traveling. You could tell he had gone all over the place, which I thought was really cool. And then he was telling me about how he has a rap video on YouTube. He's really passionate about music, which I thought was a really attractive quality. He was definitely outgoing, seems like a leader in his group.

Tom: I do have a video. We just did it for fun; it's not meant to be serious. There wasn't too much flirting. I don't know if there was necessarily that chemistry to start flirting. The date ended up being less serious and less romantic than an actual date.

Carie: I definitely think there's some kind of chemistry there. He'd make references like, "Next time, we'll do this." But I'm not sure there was romantic chemistry, necessarily. I think that would have to be something we explore a little more, maybe next time. We exchanged phone numbers at the restaurant.

Tom: We left the restaurant around 9:45. We went next door to Public bar. The setting was a little more intimate, [so] it got a little bit more romantic. But at the same time, it was still as friends and just getting to know each other.

Carie: We were outside on the roof. It was definitely more relaxed, a little bit more of a flirty conversation there. I think we were there till 11:30. I don't have to work until 10:30, but I felt kind of bad that for him that we might be drinking on a school night. I was like, "I think it's time to go." He got the Metro, and I walked back to my apartment.

Tom: [We left it] like, "If you're doing something fun this weekend, give me a ring." I'll [rate the date] a 3.5 [out of 5]. It was surprisingly a lot more fun than it was awkward.

Carie: I think it was a really solid 4. It turned out to be the best possible scenario, especially for a blind date.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

UPDATE: Carie and Tom talked and texted after their date. A few weeks later she had plans to join Tom at his housewarming party -- with a few friends in tow.

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