(Courtesy of the daters)

Two ambidextrous former sword fighters walk into a bar on a blind date. Is this the beginning of a bad joke or a sweet evening? Keep reading.

7:30 p.m., Rosa Mexicana,
Penn Quarter

Sara: I was extremely nervous. One of my biggest fears was that I would be put with someone snarky, who is out to get this person just to be really witty in the newspaper. When I got to Chinatown, there was a Chinese New Year’s Parade and a Bon Jovi concert, so it took me some time to find parking.

Steve: Date Lab is part of my Year of Saying Yes. Two of my buddies are pushing ourselves beyond our limits. When I first saw Sara, I noticed she had a very warm smile. I gave her a hug. I felt the need to break the ice as fast as possible. I gave her the box of chocolates. I thought I’d start the night with a positive: a small gift.

Sara: My first thought: He’s cute and the right size. I’m 5-1, and I guess I get intimidated by giant men. He was more my type. He had a small box of chocolates. So obviously he’s trying to be nice, and that immediately put me at ease.

Steve: Once we had the small talk out of the way, we found out we had both been theater majors. Sara is very easy to talk to. I ordered an Old-Fashioned, which brought up our love for “Mad Men,” which led to her telling me about her new job. So when we got a drink, we cheered to a new job.

Sara: It was eerie, the absurd amount of things we have in common. We both have done stage combat. Both have done sword fighting. We’re both ambidextrous. When you’re sword fighting, that’s a neat trick. We’re also big fans of “Mad Men.” He had a “Mad Men” New Year party. I am having a “Mad Men” birthday party.

Steve: After dinner, I suggested we go some place quieter. It was a little crazy at Rosa Mexicana with all the police outside for the concert. I had scoped out the area before the date, so I’d have a plan if we wanted to go somewhere afterward. We went to Red Velvet, then to the Poste patio for a drink near the fireplace.

Sara: He told me: “I’m having a great time and would like to keep this date going.” I think we both were surprised by how well it was going. He has great sense of humor. I can’t hold a conversation with someone who holds themselves too seriously. He complimented my outfit — we talked about the drama of picking something to wear. My friends were involved. His friends were involved. He told me I looked great. He was very chivalrous. If I got up to go to the bathroom, he stood up. He opened up the door. Bought me a cupcake. He led me across the street with his hand. So, he was funny, polite and cute — and my type.

Steve: She is very attractive. I am smitten with redheads, so that was nice. I feel like I initiated most of the physical contact. Put my hand on the small of her back when we were crossing the street. She said that was a gentlemanly thing to do. At the bar, I would lean in and touch her hand as we were talking.

Sara: He walked me to the garage and asked for my number. I was going to text it to him, but his phone had stopped working. He admitted he wasn’t very tech-savvy, so I fixed his phone by pressing two buttons. He gave me a sweet peck on the lips. He texted me to tell me he was on the train surrounded by Bon Jovi fans and to let him know when I got home okay.

Steve: I just got a smartphone! So I was glad she could fix it. I gave her a kiss goodbye, told her I had a delightful evening, and that I want to see her again.

Rate the date

Sara: I’d be happy to go out again!
I’d give the date a 4.5.

Steve: I’m very excited about seeing where this might lead and exploring a potential romantic spark. I’d give it a 4.5.

UPDATE: When we last checked in, Sara and Steve were planning to meet for a drink in Clarendon. “Sara does live far away from me, in Reston, and I travel via public transit,” Steve says. “That could potentially prove to be difficult, but I’d certainly say we had a great date, and I’d like to see where it could go.”

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