About the daters ...
Eddie: I’m independent, in shape, healthy, goal-oriented, funny, creative. [I] own a successful business, a motorcycle, and am well traveled. This winter, I am going to Ghana with my brother, which will be the 12th country I visited in the last year.
Kulsum: I’m really smart, honest, will laugh at all your jokes. I love trying new things and care about making a difference in the world.
Eddie: It’s funny when someone gets that you don’t have to be funny ALL the time.
Kulsum: I want someone who will make me laugh, but I’ll pretty much laugh at anything.
Eddie: It wasn’t a first date, but I surprised an Argentinean girl by taking her to a Matisyahu concert. According to her, she fell in love with me that day, and we dated for several months.
Kulsum: One year for my birthday, my boyfriend at the time surprised me with boots and camping gear, and we went on a three-day backpacking trip through Pine Creek Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
Eddie: Being outdoors, photography, travel, hiking, cooking, preferably non-religious spirituality. Someone happy, mature and has time for a relationship.
Kulsum: Piano, board games, cooking, running, traveling, reading, gardening
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Matchbox, Capitol Hill
Eddie: I honestly had low expectations about how this would work. I am a very unique person with very unique preferences. I rode over there on my motorcycle, which always gets me focused, and listened to some good music. Once I sat down, the waitress immediately came up and starting telling me all the drinks specials. I wanted to wait until my date arrived, but she ended up bringing over two wine samples because I had mentioned I might want to order red wine later. She really wanted me to drink.
Kulsum: I got home around 5, went for a run, showered and biked over to the restaurant. The hostess led me to the table. [Eddie] got up and gave me a hug. My first impression was, Oh, he’s cute. He has pretty eyes, and I thought it was nice that he got up and hugged me and he’d already asked the waitress for a wine recommendation.
Eddie: She was just really gorgeous. Very well-dressed. She had a nose stud, which is [a] weak spot of mine.
Kulsum: We started comparing interests, and we kept hitting on similarities. We both like travel, yoga, hiking, nature. It seemed like we had a lot in common. The more we talked about, the more we seemed to say, “Oh that’s funny; me, too.”
Eddie: We just let the conversation have its own mind, go where it wanted to go. I remember that I was telling her about a city in India; I got so caught up in the story, I kind of forgot I was on a first date. I was talking about being on the river and being horrified at the sight of human body parts floating in it. As soon as I said “human body parts,”
I stopped and said, “Wait, this is inappropriate conversation for a first date.” But she was cool with it.
Kulsum: We split a bunch of appetizers: prosciutto pizza, sliders. I had a couple of beers, he had a glass of wine. We were really into a good conversation rhythm, but it felt like I was talking to a friend — not a lot of spark. I wasn’t sure what I should be expecting. But I do think it’s important to have that excited feeling and to get those butterflies.
Eddie: This was the first dinner date I’d ever been on. Normally, I prefer some activity, something collaborative, [to] constantly change the setting and interact with it. The fact that we are sitting at a restaurant table across from one another makes it more friendly, professional. The most interesting part of any date is this: Does it go successfully from a good conversation into feeling things for one another? I was trying to figure out if that was a possibility and knew that we needed to change the setup.
Kulsum: We decided to go take pictures at Lincoln Park on the playground. He drove his motorcycle to the park! I am scared of motorcycles, but that was fun.
Eddie: I gotta give her a lot of credit: getting on a motorcycle and doing so with someone you’ve only known for a couple of hours. While we were walking around the park, she was shivering — my arm was around her; that’s how I knew she was shivering. I offered her my coat. She said no. I should have just given her my coat.
Kulsum: It was about 11 when things started to end. As were saying goodbye, he kissed me on the lips. I’m a little wary of kissing someone the first time, so it took me by surprise. But it was nice.
Eddie: Look, I don’t go on dates to make friends. This date was teetering between friendship and something more. I looked into her eyes, felt like we were having a moment. I kissed her and don’t regret it.
Kulsum: I’d give it a 3.75 [out of 5]. Maybe we are too similar, that it tends to be more of friendship. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I would go out again and give it a chance, but that’s not likely since we didn’t get each other’s information. I know we were both having fun, but I don’t know if he felt anything beyond that.
Eddie: I would give it a 3. Honestly, I felt like it was a great flow, great conversation. Kulsum is a really cool person, very kind, friendly, beautiful, fun and refreshing. But when it comes down to it, I want to find romantic connections, something more. At the end of the kiss, something was lacking. We definitely connected on levels one and two, but not on level three.
UPDATE: Eddie was kicking himself after the date. “I thought I had [her] e-mail address from The Post. When I realized I didn’t, I was just distraught,” he says. “I made her feel like I had a bad time and wouldn’t want her phone number, and that’s not the case.” We put the two of them in touch. He e-mailed Kulsum some music he thought she might like, but neither has pursued a second date.
The year in dating ...
It’s been a busy year in blind dates. Vote for the best and worst of our 2012 matchmaking adventures at washingtonpost.com/datelab.