Date Lab: A matchmaking year in review

Last year, 102 local singles took a chance on our matchmaking skills and braved 51 blind dates. Here are some memorable ones...
By Amanda McGrath
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Over the last year, 102 local singles took a chance on our matchmaking skills and braved 51 blind dates. Here, a look back at some superlatives from 2010.

Best match

On paper, Daniel, 26, and Anna, 27, were looking good: both dedicated marathoners who liked travel, didn't put much stock in material possessions and had great smiles. But there's always a risk; as Anna said, "Runners can be strange people, and I have met guy runners who are just bizarre." Fortunately, Daniel wasn't. She thought he was attractive from the get-go and was drawn to his laid-back manner; he called her "gorgeous" and "dynamic," and found her ability to move from wine to PBR charming. The engaging conversation kept them out long past bedtime on a Monday night. Things went just as well out of the Date Lab spotlight -- seven months later, they're still together.

(Can two marathoners go the distance? June 6, 2010)

Worst match

Kajka, 37, and Kevin, 39, shared penchants for biking and traveling. She was suits-and-pearls during the week but let her adventurous side out on the weekends; he was a scientist by day and a motorcycle-riding musician by night. But their date was doomed from the introduction -- she's a hand-shaker, he's a hugger. Kajka was unamused by his garage band hobby, got uncomfortable when Kevin put his arm around her for a photo and wasn't feeling the physical chemistry. "She mentioned that she's usually attracted to guys with shaved heads and tattoos. I'm pretty sure she wasn't being sarcastic," Kevin said. By the time they got on the Metro to head home, she'd mentally checked out: "There was a guy sitting down in front of us playing chess on his iPhone, and I was just staring at that because Kevin was talking and I wasn't listening anymore." Needless to say, there was no second date.

(And we hang our heads in matchmaking shame, April 25, 2010)

Best bad idea

With karaoke, the potential for disaster is off the charts. But Todd and Lauren, both 26, threw caution and dignity to the wind when they followed up dinner with a round of off-key warbling at Freddie's Beach Bar. A little kissing and a lot of liquid courage persuaded Todd to sing "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas; Lauren followed up with a rendition of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." Despite the next morning's hangovers, we salute their willingness to risk embarrassment in front of strangers (and The Washington Post).

(Proof of the power of a few good compliments, January 24, 2010)

Most adventurous date

We're big fans of the classic dinner date, but the most interesting stuff tends to happen when our couples head to a second location. Some go to bars; others head for concerts or salsa dancing. John, 26, and Jeff, 27, however, took a more risque route. The two "cute nerds" were hitting it off, and after a few bottles of wine, decided to take a trip to Secrets, a gay club that features nude dancers. We take it from the saucy make-out photos that they had a good time.

(They wanted to 'gay it up.' Did they succeed?, December 5, 2010)

Most direct date assessment

Pier, 22, and Jeremy, 24, just weren't connecting -- divergent interests, awkward silences. So when Jeremy mentioned some girls who dropped him after what had seemed like successful dates, Pier decided it was time to be honest. "I told him in the middle of the date that I did not know why we were put together," she said. "I thought, I don't want him to look at this when it's published and say, 'Pier did the same thing to me.'" They finished dinner and went their separate ways.

(The fine line between conversation and interview, March 7, 2010)

Worst thing to bring to your date

Some participants show up with a friend in tow (nothing like an "I wanted to make sure you weren't a serial killer" to get things off on the right foot?). They're usually quickly shooed away, but Joe's date with Lisa turned into a family affair when her sister and sister-in-law took up bar stools at the same restaurant where the couple, both 33, was having dinner. "They were like 'Yeah, we came in, and we started doing laps around the bar so we could see what was going on,'" he said. Joe was a good sport about the spying sisters and charmed all three.

(He manages to charm her -- and her spying family, August 29, 2010)

Best idea for a New Year's resolution

Xavier, 24, told Amanda, 23, that going on a blind date was one of the items on his list of 101 things to do before he dies. So go ahead, make a New Year's resolution to fill out our application. 2011 is feeling like a lucky year for us.

(Is a personality match enough? December 26, 2010)


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