About the daters ...
Najy: Depends on my mood! And whether we went with tequila shots.
Sean: It might take a couple of beers. I’m a social person, but when it comes to strangers, I usually depend on my friends to introduce me or the other person to make a first move.
Najy: Cute but maybe a little rough around the edges. Smarter than me but not arrogant about it. Athletic but not obsessed with working out. Shorter than me by at least 2 inches. Dirty blond or brown hair.
Sean: Taller than me and likes to go to the gym. I like the tall, dark and handsome type. My type usually has tattoos and a little of a dark side. I also like a guy that can make me laugh and will listen to me when I talk. I have been on way too many dates where the guy doesn’t care what I have to say and [is] totally not engaged in the conversation.
Najy: Adopting a character at a party where I don’t know anyone. Intentionally misspelling something just to get a rise out of someone. Even a little potty humor now and again.
Sean: I love a guy who has both a dry sense of humor but also can be totally crass. Being edgy with your humor is amazing, but having the ability to mix that with witty and smart humor is a true talent and something I admire.
Najy: I'd love to date the male version of Tina Fey — a comedy writer, or a writer in general, who loves and appreciates food, some exotic traveling, and snuggling. Someone who likes being outdoors, but is content spending it indoors as well.
Sean: A social gay rights activist that loves to spend time with his friends and boyfriend. The type of guy that can make you laugh and feel like you are the only person in the room. He would be a great cook and goes to the gym on a regular basis. Oh, and he would also have to have a dog that he took running with him.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Bistrot Du Coin , Dupont Circle
Najy: I got there at 7:10, which gave me plenty of time to sit at the bar and have a drink. I had a champagne and passion fruit cocktail — basically the gayest drink imaginable. I actually texted a friend when I saw the drink menu and asked him what’s a manly drink to order, but almost everything was some kind of fruit and champagne cocktail, so I really had no choice! It was very, very good.
Sean: I was in a huge rush to get there, because I ended up working later than I thought. I got there right at 7:30 or maybe a little after. The hostess walked me over to the bar, and when he turned around, I liked what I saw. He was very, very cute and totally my type: tall, with dark features.
Najy: Immediately, any nerves I had were washed away. It was like: Okay, he’s definitely cute; we can check that box right off. ... Now we can proceed to the personality portion of the date.
Sean: We immediately started talking. First it was about why we decided to do Date Lab. Neither of us had ever been on a blind date and both of us had friends who talked to us about doing it, and after we’d had a couple of glasses of wine agreed to go ahead and fill out the application. But really, one topic just led into another; we kept going off on these tangents, and that made it so easy.
Najy: I could not stop talking. I think it was because I was nervous, and I knew I was doing it, but still, I could not stop. At one point, I even said, “Not to cut you off,” and then I cut him off. It’s not even like he wasn’t engaged or too shy.
Sean: I didn’t notice that at all. He was so funny, and we were laughing almost the whole time. We have very similar senses of humor. At one point, he asked me if I like fish, and I started talking about all the fish I like to eat. Then he said, “No, the band, Phish.”
Najy: Being able to laugh at the same things may be the most important thing, and he did laugh at my jokes — all my incredibly stupid jokes.
Sean: The time was flying by, they kept sending us free drinks from the bar, and we kept talking. And then we had the big meat talk.
Najy: I asked him what he likes to eat, and he said, “I like everything but fresh tomatoes and red meat.” And I was like: Okay, that’s pretty much everything on the menu. But I’ll take that as a challenge. I even got him to eat some of my cassoulet, which had red meat in it.
Sean: I got the salmon, and yes, I tried his stew thing. I survived, although I had to cleanse my palate with more wine. He wasn’t at all a jerk about it. It was one more thing to laugh at.
Najy: There wasn’t a whole lot of flirting, but it’s difficult to flirt with someone you just met. First, you have to find out if you even like the person. You have to converse — and we did a lot of that. I’d say we did more bantering than flirting, but there was an attraction. The photos were a little awkward, because I wasn’t getting a vibe off of him that I should put my arm around him.
Sean: I think the no-touchy vibe totally stemmed from having to take pictures in a crowded restaurant. I totally didn’t realize I was sending out that kind of vibe. I was definitely attracted to him, but as for a spark, I think we need further investigating. There was this incredible flow to the night. We kept finding out more things we had in common.
Najy: We talked about our travels, cocktails we like, what we do for work, where we work — which is basically one block from one another — and the TV shows we watch. He likes “30 Rock” and even mentioned “Strangers with Candy,” which is a huge checkmark for me. The only thing better would be if he said he was an Amy Sedaris superfan.
Sean: After we’d been there for three hours, it was getting late. I walked him to his car. We exchanged numbers and hugged. I immediately texted my friends who’d talked me into this and told them I had a really, really great time.
Najy: I usually don’t kiss on the first date. Does that make me old-fashioned? I thought about kissing him on the cheek, but the hug seemed like the way to go.
Sean: I wasn’t disappointed, since I never really kiss on the first date. I think it builds the excitement if you hold off on kissing and see where things lead. I’d give the date a 4.5 [out of 5].
Najy: I’d give the date a 3.95. We did joke around about coming to Bistrot du Coin every Wednesday, making this our regular place. I think we’ve only scratched the surface of getting to know one another. Next time, the talking I do should be more in the form of questions so I can find out more about him. I do want to see him again, maybe for lunch since we work so close to one another.
Sean: I would definitely meet him for lunch. Who knows, we may just bump into one another on the street. I guess I’ll have to be runway-ready before I even go out for coffee!
UPDATE: The next day, they texted about getting together for lunch but didn’t set firm plans. When Najy followed up a week later, Sean had reconnected with someone he’d been seeing before Date Lab. “I told him I didn’t think it would be a good idea to go on a lunch date when I’m starting to see someone. He was very cool about it,” Sean said. Said Najy: “It was no big deal. ... He’s a nice guy, and I’m happy to count him as an acquaintance.”
Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at email@example.com or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.