Date Lab: She doesn't like to kiss and tell, but ...
7:30, Annie's Paramount Steak House, Dupont Circle
Amber: I went home after work to grab a pair of heels, so I was a little late getting there. When I first walked in, the host wasn't anywhere in sight. I looked around, and I saw this guy sitting alone. He was a bigger guy and sweating and consumed by his BlackBerry. I thought, Really, Washington Post? Then the host grabbed me and took me to the correct place.
Eric: I was sitting at a booth and attempted to stand up. We had a cordial handshake. I thought she was really, really cute. She had really pretty eyes and a cute smile. She had a darker, exotic complexion, which I find attractive. From a horribly superficial standpoint she was definitely my type.
Amber: He's got this tall, dark, handsome thing going on. I told my friend I'm a follower of the "no-shave-to-behave" policy [on first dates], and I wish I had brought a razor. I sat down, and there was this slight moment where neither of us knew what to say. I just jumped in and asked if he was a Peace Corps volunteer because I thought for sure [Date Lab] would set me up with one. He wasn't, but it kicked off the conversation. We've both spent time abroad.
Eric: We had both bummed around different cities. She's traveled a lot, and I lived abroad for a little bit. I told her I went to Le Cordon Bleu. She asked me if I cook every night. I said most nights. She said she was a little embarrassed that she only had Lean Cuisine in her freezer. I assured her that it's okay; I still have frozen pizzas in my freezer.
Amber: He was talking about culinary school, and he was talking about steak. He said he was afraid they were going to set him up with a vegan hippie chick. I thought, Oh, crap, I'm an ex-Peace Corps volunteer who used to be vegetarian, but I told him, and it was fine. And I enjoyed listening to him talk about food and culinary school. There is something about a guy who can cook that is sexy.
Eric: She used to be a bartender, so we talked about our experiences working in bars and restaurants. She said that she was a horrible, horrible bartender. She had a funny story about how when she didn't know how to make something, she would give them a Bud Light, on her. When you have a couple people with that background, there's a definite camaraderie over the partying, the hijinks that go along with that scene.
Amber: It was fun to swap horror stories. At first, it was very formal, [but as] we started telling stories, it got more flirtatious. We were chatting and chatting. The waitress kept coming over. We ordered an appetizer more out of peer pressure. We didn't really eat dinner. We sort of drank away the tab.
Eric: We talked about where our families are from. We're both sort of mutts in the ethnic sense. The conversation just flowed really smoothly and was pretty lively. We had the [Date Lab] cameras, and after a few drinks, we were getting trigger-happy with them. The bartenders took a few photos, and then we moved to the bar. We saw people at the bar and decided they looked lonely, so we bought them a drink.
Amber: We sort of made friends with the people in the steakhouse. We were sitting at the bar with all these regulars, just talking. When we left, the place was pretty much empty.
Eric: I had bought tickets to a show at the Black Cat [before I agreed to do Date Lab]. I asked her if she wanted to go.
Amber: We wanted to dance, so we headed over to the Black Cat. He held my hand when we left the restaurant, which I thought was really sweet.
Eric: We went to will call, and the guy said the show already ended, so we decided to go to the bar and have a couple more drinks.
Amber: We were there for an hour or so. The bar was closing down, and people were slowly making their way home. He lives nearby, so we grabbed a cab together. He was talking about things going on over the weekend. I think he was trying to find out if I was interested in hanging out again. He got my number, and we made tentative plans to hang out [that] weekend.
Eric: I definitely want to hang out again. I would give the date a 4.5 [out of 5]. It was a pretty awesome date. It was pretty close to being a 5.
Amber: I feel like I shouldn't kiss and tell, but he did kiss me at the end of the night. It was really sweet. I would give the date a 4. It was a really great time.
Interviews by Kelly DiNardo
Update: Amber and Eric went on a second date ... and a third ... and a fourth. And at press time, they were planning to celebrate her birthday together. So, are they headed for relationship territory? "I think we're both really interested in each other," Amber says. "I feel like it's going in that direction."