Date Lab: A date with lip-to-cheek action
Darlington House, 8 p.m., Dupont Circle
Sterling: I got there about 10 to 8. I was just sitting there for a long time, feeling pretty nervous. I ordered a Scotch. Then I put in an order for calamari. Finally I was like, Is she standing me up?
Jamie: I had been at work, then I went to school, then I had to race to D.C. from Fairfax. Once I got into the city, I got turned around. I was frazzled when I got to the restaurant, about 20 minutes late. I hate being late. I was worried he was going to be so annoyed.
Sterling: I could tell she was anxious. I tried to let her know it wasn't a big deal. I liked the fact that she was apologetic and just didn't blow it off and say, "I'm late, whatever." She was really pretty. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give her a 9.5.
Jamie: I could tell he liked me, because right at the beginning, he said I looked nice. I'm pretty tall, so I did like the fact that he was taller. He looked like he exercised, too. His calamari order came out when I got there, so we talked for 30 to 40 minutes before ordering food.
Sterling: We're talking about backgrounds, our families. I told her I had a daughter who moved to D.C. from Texas a month ago. She is 6 years old.
Jamie: It made me feel so relieved, because I have a son. I find that it is one of the hardest things to mention to somebody else. A lot of times, people look at you like you have three heads or something. Then their eyes really stand out when I tell them that my son is 11. I am only 31, so I had him young.
Sterling: My stance on disclosing that information is that it should be done at the outset. Being a parent is not something I'm ashamed of; it's something I'm proud of. I admire how she's raising her son. She's in school, she's working and she's being a mom. That was the heaviest part of the conversation, if you could call it "heavy." We were laughing and having a good time. We were being especially immature with the [Date Lab] cameras.
Jamie: During dinner, he would take pictures of me when I had my mouth open, when I was talking or when I was eating. I would do the same. It kind of turned into a game of who can take the funniest picture. It lightened things up and de-stressed me. In one picture, I pretended like I was going to kiss his cheek but was still 3 or 4 inches away from him. Then, right when he took the picture he pushed the side of his face into my lips. It was funny.
Sterling: She definitely kissed me on the cheek. That is for the record. There was lip-to-cheek action on her part. Throughout dinner, she seemed interested in me. I could tell by her laughing and the way she was having a good time taking pictures of me. I liked it.
Jamie: Then he was like, "Do you want to go dancing?" He said he had some friends at 18th Street Lounge we could meet up with. I don't usually go downtown [on] weeknights. But I'd heard good things about the place and had wanted to go. It sounded fun.
Sterling: We got there a little after 10, so we had to pay the $10 cover. I got hers. For the first 30 or 45 minutes, we were independent of my friends because it was such a packed house. We ordered a round of drinks. We met up with my friends and then we all went downstairs and started dancing. It was reggae night. She was bobbing her head and said that she really liked the music. My dad's from Trinidad, so I'm really into reggae and calypso and that type of music. It was cool that she was into it. At one point, there was a small kiss.
Jamie: It was a quick kiss. I was having a really good time and enjoyed meeting his friends. I think that made the date more social. We probably danced on and off for an hour. Then I was like, "I need to get back. It's getting kind of late." It was around midnight. He was really sweet and walked me back to my car. We talked about music on the way. I said I liked indie music, which he seemed a little confused about. I told him I had some CDs in my car and asked him if he wanted to hear a song.
Sterling: I was like, "Yeah." She put in this guy named Mayer Hawthorne. It was kind of a jazzy, '70s feel. We were sitting there talking and listening to music. After a few minutes, I asked her to give me a call or text me when she got home. Then we realized we hadn't exchanged numbers. I gave her a kiss on the way out of the car.
Jamie: It was a little kiss on the lips. I'd give the date a 4.5 [out of 5]. He seemed like a nice, sweet, fun person. I really enjoyed his company. If he calls, I will go out with him.
Sterling: [I'd rate the date a] 4.25. The lateness was the only thing that bothered me, but it didn't really bother me. She was interesting, has a good job and is striving to do more. I also like that she can be goofy. I will definitely call her.
Interviews by Stephen Lowman
Update: Sterling called and texted, but Jamie has yet to respond. "She seems to have several irons in the fire," he says. Jamie told us she's been meaning to call back but doesn't get home until 11 most nights, "and then I think it's just too late." We hope it's not too late to salvage that spark.
Update #2: Jamie called Sterling back, so there is hope! They talked about getting together when her school semester is over, but right now "when friends ask me to do things it actually ends up stressing me out," Jamie says.