About the daters ...
Will: When I’m in [a] fun place with a large group of friends or people I like.
Shaw: I just love being with the people I love, with no worries to distract us. Unless we are at a sporting event, where me and my friends tend to get a bit nuts.
Will: Blond hair and blue eyes ... those features stand out to me; however, I really like well-spoken and well-rounded people who can keep my attention.
Shaw: 6-foot-2 and up. Lean, muscular but not bulky. Little bit nerdy with a good job. Yankees fan (I just can’t date Red Sox fans; I’ve tried).
Will: Travel, cooking, biking, sports, arts and concerts ... but open to new things. I’d also be intrigued by a different outlook than mine; it’s good when both sides are heard.
Shaw: Love of sports. Passionate about any and all kinds of music. Tapas and wine, or steak and Scotch for every dinner. Optimism. Love of traveling. Appreciation of the little things and staying in some Saturday nights.
About the date ...
6:30 p.m., ZooLights event at National Zoo, Woodley Park
Shaw: I’m a very private kind of person, so [Date Lab] was completely out of my comfort zone. Once I got there on time, it was, “How the [heck] am I going to know who this person is?” So I just sat down and decided that he would find me.
Will: I thought I saw Shaw. She looks like the type of girl I’d go after, and she was walking alone and holding her phone. So I walked outside and said, “Hey, are you here with Date Lab?”
Shaw:He’s really tall and I was sitting on a bench so I was, like, looking at his belly button. Immediately I thought he was so cute. [And] he’s the kind of guy that I could actually wear heels around, which I appreciate.
Will: We started walking and talking right away, going inside the exhibits. It was very comfortable right away.
Shaw: It was definitely that nervous, not-too-deep conversation like, “Where are you from?” He’s really nice and really outgoing, [and] he’s such a gentleman. I was shocked when he kept opening doors for me. I was like, “This doesn’t happen here.”
Will: I really wanted to see the reptile house, because I was terrified of snakes when I grew up. So I told her, ... “It’s going to be a big step for me.” It was pretty cool. We came across some pretty freaky snakes.
Shaw: We had to go through it twice. We were walking by it again, and he was like, “Let’s just go in again.” I thought that was really cute, very endearing. The zoo was fun. It was freezing, though, so once we saw everything we decided to go to dinner.
8:15 p.m., Ardeo+Bardeo, Cleveland Park
Will: We dove right into the menu. I told [Shaw], “You pick out the wine,” because she said she liked wine. I’m pretty daring when it comes to food. She told me from the get-go, “Well, I can’t eat shrimp or scallops, because I’m allergic, but I’ll eat anything else.” I was like: Okay, good, she has no fear.
Shaw: At dinner, we really opened up. I had been kind of iffy before that on him; there was so much distraction at the zoo that I had no way of knowing if we had anything in common. But dinner was awesome. He’s the more animated one. He likes talking, and I like listening, so it was kind of perfect. [And] he wasn’t trying to put on a front. He was just goofy and fun and laid-back. We went through the wine kind of quickly and then we started drinking whiskey. It was my idea, actually. I just like it.
Will: I think our conversation touched on just about everything, except we never really talked about work or politics. She’s really into sports, which is really cool. I’m not nearly as into music as she is but we really seemed to hit it off when it comes to music.
Shaw: The moment I knew that I liked him was [when] we got on the topic of Tupac versus Biggie. He took a strong stance, and I took a strong stance. We were on opposite sides, but that was the moment that I saw something in him. [And] I always ask people, “What are your five favorite bands or artists?” The first thing he said is Led Zeppelin. That’s the first thing that I always say. When he said that I was like, “Whoa, awesome, wow.”
Will:She seemed to be pretty stoked about that. Finally, I think she said, “My record label . . . ” That’s when we started talking about our jobs. She started talking about how it’s a passion of hers. And I was like, “I like to travel, and in my industry I’ve gotten to live in New York and work in a couple of awesome hotels.” We had so much stuff in common. We definitely were flirting with each other.
Shaw: The chemistry definitely progressed at dinner. He was very complimentary, like, “They did a perfect job picking my type.” I get awkward when people are nice to me so I was kind of like, “Thanks!” We were too full for dessert, but we lingered over the whiskey. It was maybe 11:30, and neither of us felt like going home.
Will: We went right next door to a bar because I wanted to see the end of a football game. We hung out for a little while and watched the end of the game.
Shaw: Then we went to another bar, and this guy out of the blue walks up to us with two shots and he was like, “To Date Lab!” I walked down to the end of the bar and was like who are you? How did you know that? I wasn’t angry -- we were laughing. He wouldn’t answer my questions.
Will: Finally, I figured out the general manager of the restaurant was in the bar, so he must have told somebody. So we thanked him. [Next] we went to Maddy’s. It was a cool little bar. We sat down and just hung out at the bar and talked a little bit more. Then the guys told us, “It’s time to go.” So then we started walking around Connecticut Avenue and Dupont for a while. We were sitting on a stoop in front of the Scientology church just talking. We hung out there for maybe 30 minutes.
Shaw: We turned to this guy at the bar, and we were like, “We really need you to take a picture,” and this other strange person comes up takes a picture of us on his iPhone, sends it to us and walks out of the bar. We were like, “This is a weird place, we have to get out of here.”
Shaw: It was 2 in the morning. So we went home. [But] we kissed at the end of the date. We didn’t plan a specific time to go out again but I’m pretty confident that I’ll hear from him again.
Will: She was fun, talkative, adventurous, tall, blond — she hit on just about everything I like. I’d have to give [the date] a 5 [out of 5].
Shaw: I feel like it was a 4.25. I liked him.
UPDATE: Two nights later Shaw and Will rang in the New Year together. A third date followed, and a fourth was in the works when we went to press. “It’s going well,” Shaw tells us.