Date Lab: They wanted to 'gay it up.' Did they succeed?

Sunday, December 5, 2010;

8:30 p.m., Carmine's, Penn Quarter

Jeff: I was generally anxious. I had never actually done a blind date before, so this was going to be unique for me, but I was excited. I ended up getting there about five to 10 minutes early, and they sat me down. It was only about three minutes before he showed up.

John: I was excited. My first impression was he kind of looked like a cute nerd, which is cool because I consider myself to be one as well -- a nerd, that is.

Jeff: He's good-looking. He's a good height. He has an earring on his eyebrow, but it wasn't one of those punk ones; it was more just, "Hey, I have a piercing." I thought that was pretty cool. We talked about the menu and what to order. I was just going to be cool and get a glass of wine, but he was like, "Hey, do you want to get a bottle?" And I was like, "Sure, what the hell." So we drank that, and then we ended up ordering the calamari, but they [brought] us salad instead. It wasn't a big deal. We ate it anyway.

John: I was trying to avoid all of the standard questions, but somehow they all came up eventually. It turns out we both work for the [federal government] and we lived four blocks from each other.

Jeff: [John] actually jumped in more quickly than I did, which was good because I would have went a little more the conservative route. He was able to just kill a lot of the awkwardness. We ordered the entrees.

John: Most of [the conversation] was pretty light. We did exchange coming-out stories, so that was a little bit serious. He came from a small town, and I grew up in a relatively small town also, so there wasn't much of a gay scene in either place.

Jeff: We talked about traveling and about working out. I did ask him about the piercing, and [he said] it was a way to just kind of tell people, "Hey, I'm gay." That's the same reason I'm doing something like [Date Lab]. People read it, and someone you know who is maybe a B or C on the list of people you know, it's like, "Hey, read the article, now you know I'm gay." About halfway through dinner, we got a second bottle of wine.

John: I don't consider myself hugely funny, but I think we were pretty similar in terms of sense of humor -- I guess kind of maybe a little mix of sarcasm and silliness.

Jeff: We did dessert. He just ordered it. He was a lot more the decider, which was good. I really liked that aspect of him. There wasn't a lot of flirting at dinner. On first dates, I'm usually not very flirty. This isn't a club; I'm not going to come up and hit on him. But I think we had a general attraction toward each other.

John: We pretty much closed down the place.

Jeff: There wasn't a question about going out after [dinner]. It was just like, "Yeah we're doing it." But would I have initiated it? Probably not. That's usually how I am on a first date -- I'm going to take it slow. But we didn't and that was great. I actually liked that a lot more.

John: We went to Hotel Monaco, but they were like, "We're closed." So we talked about what's the most ridiculous thing we could do. I think I suggested Secrets, and he was like, "All right, I'll totally go."

Jeff: It's a gay strip club. I don't know anyone who goes to Secrets on a first date. We just did that to gay it up. We danced, we had drinks; it was nice.

John: [At] Secrets, I guess that's where the flirting was happening. I was able to take him out on the dance floor a bit. We were the only people on the dance floor, but that's never stopped me before. I started to try to rave a little bit.

Jeff: I have no idea what time we left, probably about 12:30 or 1 [a.m.] We took a cab and went home. There was a good-night kiss.

John: I would probably [rate the date] a 4 [out of 5]. I think we'll probably try to get in touch and see where things go. It was a fun evening.

Jeff: Just to not give his ego too much, I'll [rate the date] a 4.5. We did hit it off. We did things we probably shouldn't have done -- the two bottles of wine, going to Secrets -- and it was a good time. But then again, if I never hear from him again, I guess I'd be okay with that.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

Update: Looks as if this one might end at the first kiss: They've texted and talked, but busy schedules have delayed a second date. A week later, the two had tentative plans to meet. "But if that doesn't flow, it probably won't ever happen," Jeff says. "If not, it was a fun time."

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