Eli: A lawyer and a news/politics junkie. Moved here with the vague intention of doing something good for humanity.
Laura: I write about politics for a living, and I love to get into heated debates with people about random topics such as whether a cheesecake is technically a cake or a pie. I always win.
Eli: I’m tall, athletic, smart and (I think) funny. I’m a good storyteller. I’m a manly guy, but I am a romantic at heart. I love kids and dogs, and I have impeccable grammar.
Laura: I have a very dry wit, I’m up for any kind of adventure, I have a great job that I love, and I’ve got dance moves you’ve never seen.
Eli: If a girl has soft, pretty eyes, I just melt. I also tend to go for the petite/athletic body type. And I love girls who are mentally quick and are able to banter with me.
Laura: Really smart, really witty (this is a necessity), fun to dance with, has a big heart. I tend to be attracted to guys who are tall, dark-haired and athletic.
Eli: I’d like her to have a general awareness of the world and what’s going on in it. She should also have a sense of purpose in life that extends beyond making money. Finally, I’d hope we could share an interest in travel and physical fitness.
Laura: I love ’60s soul and blues music, traveling to places I’ve never been and absorbing the local culture, being on boats, discussing great books, experimenting with cooking, really bad romantic comedies and reality show competitions, tennis, volleyball, fishing, and deep, memorable conversations.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., The Heights, Columbia Heights
Eli:I was probably more nervous than I am before most first dates. But I was excited. I got there right at 7:30.
Laura:I had no idea what to expect, so I was pretty nervous about it. I showed up maybe five or 10 minutes late. I felt really bad about that. The host took me to the table, and [Eli] stood up and I think we did the shake/hug, awkward, don’t-know-what-to-do thing.
Eli: She’s tall; she’s got an athletic body. She’s got dark hair, dark features, very attractive. She was definitely the type I would usually go for.
Laura: He’s very, very handsome. Probably not my type, or at least not what I normally go for. He was very big and muscly. I tend to go for guys that are maybe skinnier, lankier and, I don’t know, maybe artsier. I pegged him as maybe a jock from the Northeast.
Eli: We actually started off trying to figure out exactly why we had been matched up. That started a more free-flowing conversation. She’s a reporter, so she’s used to talking, and I just talk a lot, so I never felt like there was any awkwardness.
Laura: We’re both into sports, and we both read a lot. He’s clerking for a judge, and my dad and both my brothers are lawyers, so we seemed to have a lot in common on that front. The conversation flowed really easily. He’s a smart guy; he’s really funny and he had a lot to say.
Eli: We split a sampler platter, and then I ordered the duck for my entree and she had a steak. Then, we ended up getting into a freewheeling conversation about politics and current events. I’m something of a news junkie, so I tend to follow that stuff closely.
Laura: We talked a lot about politics, which is something I try to stay away from on first dates because I work in politics. And we ended up getting into a bit of an argument about things that are happening — we talked about the contraception debate. It got kinda heated. I was a little surprised. I guess I had pegged him [as] just kind of like a beefy, basketball-playing guy. I wasn’t expecting him to know so much about women’s issues.
Eli: As the conversation really got flowing, it became apparent that we not only had things to talk about, but that we were also interested in what the other person had to say.
Laura: We both talked about how we like people who are informed, and we like people we can have intelligent conversation with. [But] normally when I’m looking for someone to date, I end up going for people who are not as into politics as I am, or maybe are into different things: artsy things or anything besides what I do or talk about all day. So that kind of ruled out a romantic spark for me a little bit.
Eli: I definitely think we matched up well in terms of humor. It’s hard to discern whether there was flirtation or not when you’re sitting across the table from someone on a first date, but I definitely felt like there was a flirtatious vibe. In terms of chemistry, for me, the ability to carry on a conversation about real things is really important, and we were doing that the entire evening. And we were laughing. So, on all those measures I felt there was definitely chemistry.
Laura: I was definitely having a good time, but it was more for me just kind of having a friendly conversation with someone. I didn’t feel like I was being overtly flirtatious. He’s awesome, he’s very good-looking, he’s charming, he’s funny, he’s smart — he’s got the whole package. [But] I tend to go for guys that are more offbeat.
Eli: We split a peach cobbler. They were basically closing down the Heights, and I think we sort of mutually decided to go someplace else. So we went to the Raven, and we talked about books. ... We’re both really into reading and writing, so we talked about our writing projects that we’re ashamed to share.
Laura: I’m really into music, I collect records, and I always end up hanging out with and dating people that I can geek out about the Rolling Stones with for hours. He’s not really into music at all. I asked him what kind of music he listens to, and he said, “They call it the Top 40 for a reason.” That kind of made me laugh. That’s something that’s totally foreign to me. Honestly, there is a person who is in my life who I have feelings for at the moment, and I think hearing that comment from [Eli] made me appreciate the other guy more. I was thinking, “I’d love to hang out with this guy again as a friend, but it’s not going to go anywhere.”
Eli: I think we were there for 45 minutes. It was getting pretty late, and we both had work in the morning. We left, we exchanged numbers, we gave each other a hug goodbye, and that was the end of the evening. We didn’t make any set plans [to go out again].
Laura: On a fun scale, it couldn’t have gone any better. The date was a 5 [out of 5]. But that doesn’t mean I want to date. Romantically, it was more of a 3.
Eli: I’d definitely [rate the date] a 4. It was a really fun evening. It definitely exceeded my baseline expectations for what a blind date would be.
UPDATE: They traded a few rounds of texts, but when Eli asked about hanging out again, Laura said she was giving things a go with the other guy. “I was disappointed, [but] you can’t expect people to put their lives on hold for a blind date,” he says. “She was really fun to hang out with. … I guess the timing just didn’t work out for us.”