About the daters

Your dating history as a TV show ...

Tom: Boy meets girl; girl rips boy’s heart out!

Aby: The new hit “Friendzone” would be about a girl who has dated her fair share of great guys but has yet to find the one who gives her butterflies and a run for her money. Think a combination of “My Boys” and “Friends.”

Your idea of funny ...

Tom: Someone who can make a joke about the moment.

Aby: It’s hard to find a man who knows how to banter. I’ll laugh at a “that’s what she said,” but I also want someone who can make fun of himself.

Interests to share ...

Tom: Movies and a few TV shows. She should be interested in wine-tasting, skiing and travel.

Aby: I love skiing and snowboarding. I also love my job. I really enjoy that I get to make a difference in patients’ lives.

How you hope your date is different ...

Tom: She should be outgoing.

Aby: I always hope to meet someone who can teach me more about things I know nothing about or thought I would never want to know.

7:30 p.m., Cafe Pizzaiolo, Arlington

Tom: Traditionally, I’m not very punctual, so my brother was like, “You gotta be on time for this, and I mean military time, 15 minutes early.” I got to the restaurant and was just sitting there [waiting].

Aby: I walked in, and there wasn’t really a hostess stand, so I scanned the room, and I saw this gentleman [who] looked about my age. I took a step toward him, and he stood up, so we walked towards each other and shook hands and introduced ourselves. He looked friendly, kind of preppy, which was nice. He seemed a little bit younger-looking, and I would probably describe him as cute.

Tom: I was thinking that I’d give her a hug, but she put her hand out for a handshake. I thought she was cute. I wasn’t really disappointed [in her looks] or blown away. Somewhere in the middle. Maybe closer to [the latter].

Aby: [Our] first conversations were a bit awkward; we jumped into some different random topics before we dove in. We liked a lot of similar genres of movies, but he was teasing me about movies I hadn’t seen. I said, “That’s not fair; you’re a film major!”

Tom: I was kind of giving her a hard time. I had to watch movies all the time [in college].

Aby: I started talking about how I like to dance, and he said, “I like to dance, too,” then he demonstrated a dance move that he does at clubs. He was sitting at the table; it was just a quick little move. It was funny; I liked that; it showed a little personality.

Tom: The whole time we were talking there weren’t any awkward silences. I didn’t want to talk too much, didn’t want to be the guy jawing on at all times.

Aby: I would say that I initiated a lot of the conversation. Once we got on a topic, he was great at jumping in and telling me stories, but I think that I was kind of keeping [things] flowing. He wasn’t quite as overt with his outgoing funniness as perhaps I like to be. For the most part, it was pretty much getting-to-know-you questions, versus a lot of flirting.

Tom: [There was] maybe a little bit [of flirting], real subtle. I usually don’t come on too strong. I probably got a little more interested [in her] as time went on. I saw more commonalities, and we agreed on a lot of things in all of the topics we talked about.

Aby: The restaurant was closing, and we hadn’t finished our wine, [but] the waitress said, “Please stick around; I don’t mind.” So we finished our drinks. At the end, we didn’t have as much to talk about, [there were] larger gaps of silence. So we were finally like, “Let’s get the check.” We walked out, and I was looking for cabs, [but] I wasn’t really seeing any.

Tom: It was after 10, and she had to work really early. I offered to give her a ride, and she was like, “No, I don’t want to burden you,” and I was like, “It’s all right.”

Aby: Typically, I would want to take a cab home since I just met him, but it was late and it was very cold.

Tom: I dropped her off, and she said she had a good time, and then she gave me a hug.

Aby: I can’t remember if we did hug. I think we did. It was kind of quick. I just kind of jumped out of the car. We didn’t make any formal plans to see each other again or even any informal. I’d probably give the date a 3 [out of 5]. It was an average date. I think probably on paper we sounded like we would get along, but in person I don’t think we were quite a connection. I really was hoping for someone more outgoing, initiating conversation and kind of leading the date, but I kind of felt like it was a little bit of the reverse.

Tom: I guess I [rate the date a] 3.8. I felt some attraction but not too, too much; it was more about the conversation than physical stuff. I think I would [contact her again]. She said that she liked dancing, and I said that I liked doing that, and she said I didn’t strike her as the type. I’m up for anything. I had a fun time.

— Interviews by Elizabeth Terry

UPDATE: A few days later, Tom texted a congrats to Steelers fan Aby after a Pittsburgh playoff win. But so far, that’s the only contact; both say that if they got together again, it would be as friends only.


Witty extrovert seeks tall, quirky guy to give her butterflies. Is that you? Apply now at washingtonpost.com/datelab. Find out what else we’re up to at facebook.com/datelab or follow us on Twitter @datelab.