Date Lab: She loves the Red Sox; he's a Yankees fan. Doomed?
7:30 p.m., Levante's, Dupont Circle
Ben: I ended up cabbing over and got there around 7:20. I grabbed a table inside and sat with my back to the door. I thought, I don't want to be looking up every time someone walks in.
Katie: I came home from work, changed, did my hair and took the Metro down there. The hostess said, "He's already here," and she smiled and then pointed to the table. I just walked over. I didn't know what to expect, so I saw him and I was like, Oh, he's cute. He had dark hair and a nice smile. I just sat down and said, "Hi, I'm Katie."
Ben: The biggest drawback to blind dates, besides thinking you might not have anything in common, would be that you'll meet your date and they're going to be a complete mess. But when I saw Katie, I thought, I'm the mess. She has these really nice, deep eyes. I don't have a strict guideline I follow, but she was exactly what I could have hoped for. I wouldn't say [the conversation] started flowing right away, but after a question or two, we kind of got into it. And once we got wine on the table, it always becomes a little easier.
Katie: When I filled out the [Date Lab] application, I was working in the sports industry, and he was saying that he's a news producer, and he does mostly political stuff, but at some point he'd like to get into sports. And since he knew I was from Boston, he asked if I was a Red Sox fan. I said yes. I had a bad feeling that he might be a Yankees fan.
Ben: I knew right away: Tread lightly here. But she was cool. She didn't hold it against me too much. We didn't get too much into work. Work is work, and weekends are weekends. I feel like she has that same mentality. It's refreshing when you can interact with other people that feel the same way. We ordered an appetizer, and then we didn't order our entrees for, like, 45 minutes to an hour. It was good to take the time and pick the right thing. Plus, if she wasn't in a hurry to order her entree, I figured she wasn't in a hurry to end the night.
Katie: He was kind of quiet, so a lot of times I felt like I had to start the conversation. Usually if I'm with a more outgoing person, I'm the quieter one, but I felt with him I was the more outgoing one. But I think it got a little more fluid as the night went on.
Ben: Maybe from the outset I was little reserved, but I think it was a matter of becoming more comfortable. It really wasn't awkward. We took all our photos [for Date Lab] at the restaurant. It was cool, but she's a little camera-shy, so we weren't going to get too crazy.
Katie: I don't really like to take my picture. I kind of was like, Let's get this over with. Definitely, personality-wise, he was [my type]. He kind of had a subtle sense of humor, and he made me laugh a lot. [But] I don't think there was any flirting.
Ben: She's really cool and down-to-earth, definitely someone I would normally pursue in real life. I feel like there was some flirting there. We had talked about whether we wanted to grab a drink in the area, and we'd talked about the kind of atmospheres that we like. I said we should go to Cafe Japone and sing some karaoke, but I was half-kidding. That's probably more of a third date than a first date. So we agreed on the Big Hunt. It's the kind of vibe we both really like. We wrapped up and headed out.
Katie: It was probably around 10 or so. It was really funny, because at dinner we were talking about Skee-Ball for some reason, and then the bar ended up having Skee-Ball. Not that the dinner was awkward, but it was a different atmosphere at the bar, which was fun. It loosened up a little bit.
Ben: We played a few games and then sat at a table. The conversation was less about background and more kind of "What things are you doing coming up?" and "Would you like to hang out again?" We were probably there [until] a little after midnight. We exchanged phone numbers. I [was] going out of town for a week, so we talked about trying to get together when I get back.
Katie: He walked me to the Metro, and we hugged. I think we'll be in touch. I would [rate the date] a 4 [out of 5]. I definitely had a lot of fun. I think it would be fun to hang out again.
Ben: We didn't run off to Vegas or Canada, [but] I think it was a 4.5.It was a very cool experience, and it was nice getting to know a very cool woman.
Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades
Update: Ben and Katie made soft plans to meet up, but they didn't work out. "I'm not sure if we will be able to make it happen. Perhaps the moment has passed us by," Ben says.