Date Lab: It only took us three years to get them together

Sunday, January 23, 2011

7:30 p.m., Trivia night at Rí Rá, Arlington

Holley: I was very excited. I was getting ready [and] sending snapshots of my outfits to my friends. [Then] I got dressed and headed out.

Alex: I was kind of nervous. I don't get nervous very often, but I guess that's what going on a blind date and having it published in The Post will do. I got to the restaurant just before 7:30 and sat down at the table.

Holley: I asked the hostess how my hair looked. She took me to the table where Alex was. There was a single guy at a different table that I wasn't very attracted to, so I was happy to see the true Alex. He stood up when I got there. I thought that was really sweet. [And] he was a hunk. He's tall, very nice smile. He had this kind of John Cusack innocence that I thought was really adorable.

Alex: Right off the bat, I thought she was cute. She definitely looked like my type. We shook hands and then just sat down and started chatting. One of the first things she told me that she felt like she had to get out of the way was that she doesn't live in D.C. She's been relocated to Brooklyn just in the past few months.

Holley: I wanted to be very clear about that, very open. I actually applied to Date Lab about three years ago, so when I got the e-mail I was like, "What?" I was totally intrigued. I thought that if we really hit it off, then we could make things work. I'm here a couple times a month. He was taken aback, but then he came to understand why I might be interested in seeing who he was, and he was okay with it.

Alex: By no means was it a deal-breaker. I don't mind trips to New York every once in a while. The conversation actually went pretty well, which is a little unusual for me. I'm typically a reserved kind of guy, not the most outgoing or talkative. The more we talked, the more things we found out we had in common.

Holley: It was kind of uncanny. We've both worked in public broadcasting. I showed him some pictures I had taken that afternoon at the Library of Congress, which is one of his favorite buildings. We talked for like a half-hour before even looking at the menu. Finally, we picked something. Then the trivia started, and I asked if he was a big fan of trivia, and he was like, "Actually I'm a huge fan."

Alex: I shared the whole story about how I was on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" We were so confident going into the trivia. We were like, "We're going to get first place." It didn't exactly go that way. The questions were a lot harder than I expected, and a lot [were on] pop culture, too. That's not my strong point when it comes to trivia.

Holley: We didn't win, but it was really fun. At the end, the bonus round was John Cusack movies, and in my head I was thinking, He's so John Cusack.

Alex: I felt like we were pretty similar in [our sense of humor]. We both were joking around, [and] she was sharing interesting stories. She was telling me about how one day in high school, she took a nap and woke up at, like, 7 p.m. and thought it was a.m. and drove all the way to school and banged on the doors. She was very open, and I appreciate that.

Holley: My only drawback was that he seemed a little reserved. It was very difficult to read if he was interested. We were in this standoff of "I'm not going to flirt if you're not going to flirt."

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