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Date Lab: Are they Carville-Matalin or Olbermann-O'Reilly?

Sunday, October 17, 2010; W16

Filomena, Georgetown, 7:30 p.m.

Jon: [Before the date] I was exhausted. I just bought a house, so [my roommate and I are] fixing it up; we stayed up until 2 o'clock doing housework, which is stupid. After work, [a friend and I] had a few drinks. We met this group of people, and I kinda wanted to stay with [them], but I had to go off and do this date thing! Everybody was like, "Are you nervous?" And I'm like, "Not really, it's just a girl, I think I can handle it."

Briton: I was kind of curious. I love meeting new people. I don't have time to do a lot over the week, because I work and I'm a grad student. I've tried meeting guys at bars, but that never really works out, so I thought [Date Lab] would be a better way to meet people. I got [to the restaurant] about 10 minutes early and got a glass of Sangiovese while I was waiting.

Jon: I walked in and figured that was her before I talked to the host. The maitre d' introduced us. She looked attractive, definitely [my type]. I like brunettes. I was like, Wow, she stands out from all the rest.

Briton: We shook hands. He was a little taller than me, and he was very cute. He didn't look nervous at all, just happy. He was very nice; he paid for my glass of wine.

Jon: We had this gigantic, long table all to ourselves; it was really funny. She didn't seem shy; she didn't seem like she was nervous, really.

Briton: [The conversation started out] pretty standard, like where are you from, where'd you go to school, where do you work. He had lived in England for a year, which I thought was super cool. He had been to Egypt, so I was very intrigued by that. We [talked] about politics, which was fun. As busy and bustling and intelligent as this city is, it's pretty shocking how many people don't talk about politics. He and I are on opposite sides of the [political] spectrum, but [we are] both open-minded enough. We talked about the recent [primary] elections, Obama, the economy, and the Middle East and if what we've done [there] is effective or not. He was in [the Air Force], [so] he would clearly know more than I did. It wasn't like, I'm disgusted with how you're feeling, and it's so stupid. It was more like, I see where you're coming from, but I don't know if I agree. It was refreshing to be able to have a good conversation.

Jon: My friends were like, "Oh, my God, you're an idiot. There are things you don't talk about on a date, and politics is definitely one of them." I feel pretty strongly about my views, but I don't care if someone feels differently. We got into a debate, and she backed up her arguments; she's a pretty smart girl. [Laugh] You know, I'm a war-profiteering contractor [and she's] a bleeding-heart lib. I don't take it personally!

Briton: I don't know if we were flirting. I think we were just getting to know each other and having a good time. When my friends read this, they're going to, pardon my French, [expletive] a brick, 'cause they think I'm just the biggest flirt-bug there is. From my perspective, I think, No, we're just having a standard, quality time. I thought for a 24-year-old guy, he really seemed to have his stuff together.

Jon: I'm definitely attracted to her; I just really got no game when it comes to flirting with women. We really didn't finish eating until probably 10:30, and then we were both really exhausted [and] full beyond belief. She had a paper to write, so she was like, "We could split a cab to the Rosslyn Metro." I paid for the cab -- she said [earlier] that her worst date was [when] the guy went Dutch on her, so I was definitely paying for everything.

Briton: He'd left his cellphone at work, so he asked if he could give me his number. I texted him my number, and we hugged. I give [the date] a 4 [out of 5]. Everything was awesome, the restaurant was perfect, we had so much to talk about, but [there was a] lack of instant spark. I would probably go on one more date with him. I'm just not quite sure yet.

Jon: [I rate the date a] 5. Total 5. We were there for hours without a pause in conversation, so in all it was a good night. I'll probably text her or call her and say, "Do you want to get together this weekend and do something," [like] a group activity with my friends.

Interviews by Elizabeth Terry

UPDATE: Jon and Briton exchanged texts after the date, but their schedules have been uncooperative so far. Briton said they'd keep trying -- when asked whether she and Jon would ever get that second date, she responded,"I wouldn't doubt it!"

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