Date Lab: Will his sweet plans win her heart?
7:30 p.m., Georgia Brown's, Downtown
Wade: I dressed a little bit nicer at work -- no one at work seemed to notice. I was 15 or 20 minutes early. I sat at the bar and read my magazine.
Dena: I checked in with the host. He told me my other half was over there -- which was a funny turn of phrase. I just walked over and introduced myself. I thought he was really cute. He had on a nice blue shirt and sport coat -- I think he was coming from work, because he also had a work bag that was casual. I could tell he was athletic.
Wade: She's quite tall -- almost as tall as I am -- and she was wearing flats. That was the first thing I noticed. She is very pretty. We went to our table, which was along this curved banquet.
Dena: We chatted awhile before we ordered. He is very big into food and almost went to culinary school, so he knew a lot. I don't like to cook. I like to bake. We started talking about the difference between cooks and bakers. Cooks are intuitive. Bakers like reading directions.
Wade: Based on the time she spent in Israel and when she got done school, I was trying to do the math in my head. I think she's 24 or 25. That may be a little bit young. I feel like I may be in a different place in life, but I don't know -- that could end up being a non-issue.
Dena: He looked and acted a little older, but I figured out from when he went to school that he is not that much older. He is also interested in photography. He was really jealous, because I told him I have a larger-format camera that was my grandfather's. He was encouraging me to shoot film because I have a great manual Nikon I used in high school.
Wade: We bonded a bit because of my aunt, who is a Buddhist monk. Dena does Buddhist meditation once or twice a week. I don't have a specific religion that I identify with, but I figure there is something bigger than just us.
Dena: A lot of Asian guys are Christian, and sometimes that is a bit of a difficulty. [But] he seemed open to hearing about Judaism and my interest in multiple religions.
Wade: After dinner, we went to Adour. There wasn't any hesitation from her or me to hang out a little afterward.
Dena: I heard myself fumbling when I was talking and was feeling self-conscious. It got better when we left the restaurant. I felt the performance part of the evening was over. We went into the bar area and sat at a little table. It was darker and a little bit more intimate.
Wade: At that point, we had eased into our groove. She was telling a story, and it got more exciting as she was telling it, and she got louder. At one point, she stopped talking; she thought she was talking too loud for the bar.
Dena: There were all these businessmen in a really fancy place. He was like, "You're fine. They wish they were having as much fun as us."
Wade: The Adour restaurant has macarons you can call ahead and pick up. [The day before the date], I called and asked if we could pick up a box sometime [that] evening.
Dena: I was a little full, but they were delicious. We were at the bar about 30 minutes. He suggested that we go walk around. We walked toward the White House. I had not been there at night. It was deserted and had beautiful illuminated fountains. He checked the time, and it was kind of late. He gave me a box of macarons -- that was really sweet.
Wade: We didn't say goodbye until after 11:30. I rarely stay out that late on weekdays in D.C. and didn't check to see what time the last [Metro] train was. We said a quick goodbye outside the escalators.
Dena: He got my number. We hugged, and he gave me kiss on the cheek. He called me 20 minutes later to see if I got home all right and to tell me he got on the train. I'd give it a 4.5 [out of 5]. I'd definitely go out with him again. [But] he's going up to New York this weekend, and I'm going up next week.
Wade: [I'd rate the date] a 4. Talking with her was very easy. I definitely feel like she is very attractive, but I'm not sure there was that much chemistry. It was more like a getting-to-know-you feeling. I will try to get hold of her this week before all the traveling begins.
-- Interviews by Nina Patel
Update: Dena and Wade went to dinner in Dupont a few days later. "It was definitely more relaxed without the fishbowl of being on Date Lab," he says. The two are planning to reconnect after Dena returns from her Rosh Hashanah celebration.