Date Lab: If she danced on the bar, would he join her?
Liz: I am good-looking, well educated, athletic, laid-back, and I know how to make and take a joke.
Matt: I’m tall, well educated, have a steady job and no debt. My big secret is that I like romantic comedies, enjoy spoiling people and try to throw in little surprises rather than always sticking with grand gestures.
Liz: A fairly tall, athletic, somewhat preppy guy with a college education and a stable job. He doesn’t have to be completely outgoing but can hold his own in conversation. Blue eyes and a nice smile are a definite plus.
Matt: Generally a mix of nerdy/active. I work out multiple times a week, but I can also geek out with my technology. Someone who’s comfortable going out on the town to the symphony or something low-key like bowling. Preferably someone who likes sports: watching and playing them.
Liz: TV shows and movies, politics, affection for both watching and playing sports, and enjoyment of trying something new.
Matt: I like to travel a lot as part of crossing off things from my bucket list, so someone who’s up for adventures would be great. I would hope that their outlook sounds like, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,” because I’m a pragmatist. I hope we could both play some tennis or take in sports games around the area.
Matt: I was nervous, not so much because it was a blind date ... it was just sort of worrying, like, What will it look like when the article comes out?I got there probably 10 to 15 minutes early. I went to grab a drink at the bar.
Liz: I was super nervous. It wasn’t so much the fact that this was for the paper — it was more just meeting someone new. I got there, and they said, “He’s right over there. He’s really cute; you shouldn’t be nervous.”
Matt: I immediately felt underdressed. She’s gorgeous, and she came in wearing a nice skirt and a nice top. She looked like somebody I might be intimidated by at a bar.
Liz:He looked like someone I would typically talk to if I ran into him in a bar, someone that would catch my eye. And he seemed warm and welcoming. I had dressed up a little more for work, but I didn’t look at him and say, “Wow, he’s wearing jeans; that’s terrible.”
Matt: It took a decent amount of time for me to settle up at the bar, so we made awkward small talk. When we sat down, we just jumped into the conversation.
Liz:I was relaxed once we actually started talking. It didn’t seem forced.
Matt: We talked about what would have spurred Date Lab to put us together and what would our headline be. I’m pretty certain I said I don’t date vegetarians. So we were pretty certain it would be, Would this meat-eater get along with this vegetarian?It’s not that I have a problem with the ethos of vegetarianism, I just feel like it adds a level of difficulty [to the relationship].
[Editor’s note: Liz’s application from 2009 didn’t mention that she was a vegetarian. No conspiracy here!]
Liz: I’ve been a vegetarian for two years. I told him sometimes I cheat.
Matt: She had lobster ravioli, and I had the Alaskan king crab legs. I ordered a Blue Moon, and they brought it to me in this feminine glass. [After that,] I specifically requested my beer come in a pint glass. It was a running joke.
Liz: He seemed somewhat conservative in his views, and that’s how I am. We’re both well educated, have good jobs. Normally, I date younger guys; he was joking around, but he made me feel a little cougar-ish.
Matt: Of course I was joking. I hope she didn’t think I was calling her old. We broke one of the primary blind-date rules and talked politics and religion. This was probably the most open and honest date I’ve ever been on. The jabbing back and forth and the innuendo — overt and unmentioned — were there. There was spark there.
Liz: There was definitely flirting, but I couldn’t tell if he was interested or just being nice. He was a little quiet. I’m kind of the type if there’s a song on, I’m going to get on a bar and dance. And I don’t know if he’s the type to get up there with me.
Matt: I don’t know that I’d jump up right away, but I’d get up and dance on a bar. I’m usually not that quiet. She suggested, “Hey, let’s find another bar.” We left the restaurant around 10:15, and we walked across the street to Gordon Biersch to ... catch the end of the Redskins game. It was super awesome that she’s a big sports fan. We ended up walking to Rocket Bar.
Liz: There were people there that were a couple sheets to the wind already, which was entertaining. We were just sipping and engaged in conversation.
Matt: We made it to the Metro station at maybe 11:30 or 11:40. She was making fun of me, saying, “You must not be that interested, because you haven’t asked for my number yet.” And I was like, “Well, I still have time, right?” And she was like, “You’d better do it now, or I’m going to rate you a 1 out of 5.” So we exchanged numbers.
Liz: We were trying to say goodbye on the Metro, and there were people coming and going. It was really quick, like, “Bye. Call me,” and we hugged, and he gave me a kiss on the cheek.
Matt: I’d [rate the date] a 5. I’m hoping she’s free next week. She lives in Germantown, and I live in Fairfax, which is a little bit of a geographic hurdle, but she’s interesting enough that I’d jump that hurdle.
Liz: I’d give it about a 4. I would go out with him again to see how it would be with us doing the planning instead.
UPDATE: They traded texts, but Mark says a voice mail he left went unanswered. That surprised Liz, who says “he made no effort to hang out again.” Seems it doesn’t matter: Matt’s now dating someone else, and Liz says, “I think really we just weren’t that into each other but excited at the fact that it was for Date Lab.”
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