Music writer Steve Bradley, 32, had never been on a blind date before Date Lab set him up with stage actress Teresa Spencer, 30, at Al Tiramisu in Dupont Circle. The couple dish on the inevitably awkward first meeting. (Jayne W. Orenstein and Alice Li/The Washington Post)
Interviews by Amanda McGrath

He says he’s “loyal, thoughtful … and can be interesting, especially over time.” She says she loves “Man Booker Prize-winning novels, dinners composed entirely of crudites [and] hiking in the Shenandoah” mountains. We sent them to Al Tiramisu near Dupont Circle to see if these two writerly types would hit it off.

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Our highly analytical tool for determining whether our daters will hit it off.

Teresa: He’s a really warm, open-looking guy. He’s very baby-faced. I’d have put him in his mid-20s — I was surprised to learn later that he’s older than me. He had this really fantastic professorial herringbone jacket. We had a laugh about how we knew so little about each other we didn’t even know where to start, so my first question was just, “Who are you?”

Steve: Any question I had for her she was open to. She was inquisitive and definitely high-energy. I write for a living; she’s done some ghost-writing stuff, so we hit on that. I went to school for film, and she’s an actress. It wasn’t hard getting to know her at all.

Teresa: As soon as he said, “I’m a writer,” I thought, Of course you are. I said so much in my [Date Lab] application about how many of my friends are writers and I tend to click with writers. A big attraction factor for me is if a guy can be creative and interesting with the way he uses language.

Steve: She’s outgoing and serious and smart. She’s more noticeably creative in what she does. She’s outgoing, and that’s something I look for.

Teresa: We ended up talking about the Jian Ghomeshi accusations that are going on right now. That spiraled into Gamergate stuff and then the accusations against Bill Cosby. Sort of heavy conversation topics for a first date.

Steve: That was my fault! It’s just current-events stuff that’s on my mind.

Teresa: He really impressed me — he had nuanced things to say. But I was impressed with how compassionate he was, and he was just really smart with thinking about the issues. I would label his stance as feminist — I don’t know if he would agree.

Steve: I respect the movement. I’m hesitant to call myself a feminist, but I guess I wouldn’t shy away from the term.

Teresa: We were, like, why don’t we walk over to the Big Hunt and have a beer and take more photos.

Steve: It was a nice way to sort of slow down the night. We were very aware of the unusual situation we were in; at the bar, the self-awareness was less obvious. We made a comment at one point that we were like characters in a novel aware that they’re in a novel.

Teresa: We ended up saying goodbye outside the bar so I could flag a taxi. It was raining, though, and I had my umbrella and was also juggling the [Date Lab cameras] and my yoga mat, all these accoutrements. I ended up hitting him in the face with my umbrella. He was a good sport about it, though.

Steve: We talked for a couple of minutes, hugged, exchanged numbers and left.

Teresa: For whatever reason, I don’t think we clicked in a romantic way, [but] he’s an interesting guy, and there are, like, three girlfriends I want to set him up with.

Steve: It was comfortable, and she was easy and pleasant to talk to. I’m not necessarily sure about the romantic side of it, though.

Rate the Date

Teresa: In the grand scheme of blind dates, I’d put it at a 4 [out of 5.]

Steve: A 4. There was no real awkwardness, it was just a nice, casual date. There’s room for a better date.


Steve checked in to see how Teresa’s latest show went, but so far, no plans for a second date.

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