Date Lab: He’s nervous. Cue flying chicken.
About the daters ...
Desired superpowers ...
Allison: I would want to be a time traveler so that I could have breakfast at a beach cafe in Greece, eat street fare in Thailand for lunch, have an afternoon glass of wine in South Africa and enjoy a tagine for dinner in Morocco.
Chris: Fly very fast. Always wanted to fly airplanes, although I hate flying. The highlight of my life, next to the birth of my daughter, was when I went sky diving in Hawaii last year.
Desert island DVDs ...
Chris: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Godfather II” and “The Science of Sleep.”
Allison: “Coming to America,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Sixteen Candles.”
Your type ...
Chris: Can I say someone just like me? Mixed (black and white) and/or exotic with awesome curly or short hair and killer legs. Smart as all get-out (preferably smarter than me) with either multiple degrees ... or a kicka – – entrepreneur that was too smart for school. ... Eclectic, weird, creative and is devoted to city life. A willingness to drop everything and move to Spain (or wherever) on a moment’s notice. And is okay with the fact that she will never be the No. 1 woman in my life (that’s my daughter).
Allison: I like people who challenge me mentally, who are creative types but not flaky. Tall-ish is pretty hot, 5’11” and above, if possible. Great smile, dimples are a bonus. Athletic build, well-traveled, honest, fun, goal-oriented, family-oriented, a little edgy. I like it all — big heart, honest and open-minded.
Interests to share ...
Chris: Working out (i.e., running, yoga, cycling, P90X), traveling, reading, art museums, film festivals. Appreciation for nontraditional American sports like tennis and futbol. Volunteering.
Allison: Photography, the art of eating, salsa dancing, music, traveling, social entrepreneurship, just seeking out new things in general.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Eatonville, U Street
Chris: I had a little trouble sleeping the night before just thinking about it. I hadn’t been on a date in a while. Walking to the restaurant, I called a couple of my boys up just to help calm my nerves a little bit. I probably got to the restaurant right at 7:20, but I sat outside and waited. I didn’t want to seem too eager.
Allison: I was excited and nervous. I’ve done online dating, but I’ve never been on a blind date. I got there about 7:20 [and] went to the booth.
Chris: Right at 7:30, I went inside. [The host] was like, “Let me take you over.” And then I was like, “Wait, I’m not ready.” I had to go back to the bathroom and get myself together real quick. Then I came back out and said, “I’m ready; let’s do this.” He took me back out to the table, and Allison was already sitting there. I was like, Oh, man. She was gorgeous, definitely what I would consider to be my type. She got up and gave me a hug.
Allison: He’s not the typical look of a guy that I would date. He looks very much like he should play football; he’s kind of broad and a bigger guy. I usually like kind of tall, athletic, lanky guys. But he was dressed well, [and] he had a bright smile, so that was reassuring. As I get older, I realize that personality is really important, so I’m pretty open-minded, even though I know what I like.
Chris: We got a few pictures together, so I put my arm around her in the first few minutes. It was a good way to break the ice.
Allison: Right after I sat down I realized that one of my best friends’ grandma and her aunt sat down next to us. They’re close friends of the family. I felt really rude, but I had to go say hi to them so I excused myself and said hi and gave them hugs. He came over and introduced himself and they hugged him. They thought he was someone I was dating.
Chris: They actually ended up taking pictures of us. I had to get a picture so I could send it to my boys so they could see how gorgeous she actually was. Of course I had to tease her about it.
Allison: He was like, “You totally set this up.” Everything was really light. We were just chatting. We got some drinks and some appetizers, as well.
Chris: I started to realize exactly why [Date Lab] paired us up. She had been to Mexico, and I was in the Peace Corps in Mexico. She talked about living in Colombia and Spain and all the other places she had visited, and I was like, This woman loves to travel . Another thing is the value on education — she’s working on her dissertation right now for her second master’s, and I’m also working on my second master’s. Also, volunteering was a big connection point. I know that I’m one of those people that probably matches up better with someone who is similar to me, so I was definitely like, “Jackpot!”
Allison: I wouldn’t say we’re similar. We both travel, and we both are passionate about the work that we do, but I don’t really think that we had anything really specific in common. We have totally different interests — he loves sports, and I’m so not into sports. But I think there were enough commonalities that it was totally comfortable. Something I really liked that he did, that might have been uncomfortable for some, but he took my hand to say grace before we ate. It was a nice gesture. I got fried chicken [for an entree], and I let him try it, and while he was trying to cut the chicken breast, he flung chicken in my eye.
Chris: We got into this thing like, “You threw chicken into my eye!” It was very, very funny, very playful.
Allison: There weren’t sparks. I wasn’t really physically attracted to him initially and for there to not be that physical attraction and not to have anything noticeable that we had in common or shared I just felt like there wasn’t enough to consider it a romantic interest. He was really genuine, very upfront about the way that he feels about things, and he was very flattering. He told me several times I was really beautiful.
Chris: There was flirting. I wasn’t thinking, Oh, I have to get my hands on her — I was just so enthralled by the conversation — but I took every opportunity to put my arm around her for a picture. And she did touch my arm a few times, so I did pick up on that.
Allison: I don’t remember touching his arm, and I have a pretty good memory. I was totally comfortable with him, [but] I didn’t feel like I gave him any signs of interest. Randomly in the middle of talking about something else, he asked if I would go on a second date with him. I said, “Yeah, sure.” I told him that I’m more of a brunch person, and he was telling me about something they have at Crème on U Street, and I was like, “Totally, we can work that out.” That’s when he told me about his daughter. I was like, “Okay, that’s cool.”
Chris: I was contemplating, Well, am I going to tell her I have a daughter now? I realized, Okay, I might was well just tell her now and go ahead and let her process it. So I said, “I’ve got something to tell you.” And of course I said it in a way that I could have been saying “I’m about to do something crazy.” She was like, “Oh, okay, how old is she?” I said “Five months,” and she was like, “Five months?” I was feeling a little weird, because without context of the whole situation it’s like, “Wow.” But she was really cool about it. She was like, “Do you have a picture?” so I showed her a picture. That was a relief just to get it off of my shoulders.
Allison: It was nice that he cares about his kid enough to say, “This is someone I might like to date so I want to know upfront that you would be okay with me having a child.” If I was interested [romantically] I would have eventually wanted to know more, but really there was no need, because it wouldn’t matter if he was my friend if he had a kid.
Chris: We ended up chatting some more. I go to bed at, like, midnight or 1 a.m., and she’s in bed like at 10:30, so we took an “after” picture, and then we got up and we left.
Allison: It was about 10. He was telling me that on Tuesdays nights they had some jazz or something in Adams Morgan and that we should go out [after dinner]. I just told him that I had a lot going on with work and that I wasn’t going to be able to do that. Even if I hadn’t been tired, I wouldn’t want to lead him on. He was like, “Oh, I can walk you home,” and I kind of went, “ehhh,” and he just started laughing. I said, “Yeah, it’s the first date, and I don’t know that I really need you to know where I live.” He respected that.
Chris: I got her phone number, e-mail address, and I called her so she had my information. I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I immediately got on the phone and told people how great it was.
Allison: [I’d rate the date] a 3 [out of 5]. There were no sparks, but he was a really nice guy. I just didn’t feel like we would be a serious match.
Chris: Given that I couldn’t sleep [that] night either, I would certainly say a 5. I certainly think that we will see each other again.
UPDATE: Chris texted to suggest a second date, but Allison declined. “Since I already don’t think that our relationship would be anything more than a platonic one, I think it best to just not go out at all. I hope he doesn’t hate me, but it’s where I am,” she said. No worries; Chris wasn’t crushed. “Can’t win them all,” he said. “It certainly was great meeting her.”