The Washington Post

Date Lab: Well, they’ll always have Washington

(Courtesy of the daters)

About the daters ...

Your dating historyas a TV show ...

Mark: Tall, dark and frustrated with the D.C. dating pool.

Eve: Single young college grad
moves abroad and pursues short-lived, ill-fated romances with miscellaneous foreign men.

Your type ...

Mark: Earthy, pretty without a lot of flash, a girl who’d like to go hiking and visit a farmers market over the weekend.

Eve: It varies. I’ve been known to go for the scruffy/outdoorsy type. Or maybe the outgoing/cultured/let’s-hop-on-a-bus-to-NYC type.

(Courtesy of the daters)
Brag a little ...

Mark: My friends say I’m slightly eccentric, but I guarantee I’m never boring. Who else can tell you about running with the bulls? Investigating murders in Guatemala? Or diving
with whale sharks while chased by
a sailfish?

Eve: I’m friendly, easygoing and down-to-earth. I can also tie shoelaces
with superhuman speed.

About the date ...

8 p.m., Acadiana, downtown

Mark: I got there about a quarter till 8. I was a little nervous, so I started chatting with some characters at the bar and the bartender. [Eve] was the only single girl to walk through the door. She was cute, had long, curly hair, really fit and had a calm about her.

Eve:The hostess led me to the bar, and Mark got up, leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek. He had a warmth and ease about him that I liked. If I saw him at a party, I would be attracted to him. We started with the normal things about where we’re from, and he seemed really interested in what I had to say.

Mark: We ordered a pitcher of Pimm’s. Two things really popped out. One, she went to Penn, and so did I; she was two years behind me. The other is that she’s moved around a lot. When she was talking about where she was from, I could tell that she knew it was going to be a long, complicated story of different places and she just wanted to get out of that conversation as quickly as possible without boring me. But the funny thing is that I’m always that person with a complicated story of where I’m from, so I was intrigued.

Eve: It’s interesting that he picked up on that. I do have a complicated story of moving a lot ... I probably do tend to rush through it. The whole Penn thing was funny, but he didn’t look familiar at all. We ordered appetizers and each tasted one another’s. We also had a lot in common. He’s into hiking, biking and just being outdoors as much as possible. He spent some time in Central America and had lived in Spain. I had lived there for a while, and I’m going to go back there in a few weeks to teach for eight months.

Mark: So that was a bummer. She’s leaving at the end of this month! At this point, I’m not really dating just to be dating, and she doesn’t seem like the kind of girl who’s into a two-week relationship. It didn’t change the atmosphere of the date, but did it change my expectations of what the date was about? Definitely.

Eve: I tried to bring it up early on, so it wasn’t this unexpected news that I had to explain in the end. The Post did a great job of matchmaking but not as good a job with the timing. I applied [in March 2010]. I wish we would have been set up at the beginning of the summer, because I could feel a mutual attraction, a little bit of chemistry.

Mark: What really surprised me about Eve is that she is lot more interesting and far more creative than she first lets on. I had joked with her that my friends wanted me to do a reality TV show so [Date Lab] was a compromise. She told me that she and her mom applied to and got to the semifinals of “[The] Amazing Race” ... and about how she stayed entertained when she was living in this tiny village in Spain. She and a friend made funny webisodes.

Eve: The waitress came over, reminded us about the pictures.

Mark: The alcohol and cameras helped break whatever ice was left needing breaking. There was definitely physical attraction before, and once we started taking pictures, especially so. I was spinning Eve around like we were dancing. I dipped her; she dipped me.

Eve: There was this group of women who were all dressed up. We took a picture of Mark in the middle of them with me standing off to the side looking jealous.

Mark: I rounded up some random guys at the bar and they posed with Eve, with me off to the side, looking dejected.

Eve: There wasn’t a lot of overt flirting, but there were flirty undertones. In terms of chemistry, I felt like the way we were able to laugh and joke around implied that there was some sort of spark.

Mark: I honestly don’t know if I would have made more of a move if she weren’t leaving, because I don’t know if she would have acted differently throughout the date. I think we’re in the realm of the unknown here!

Eve: I don’t think I held anything back because I was leaving. It was getting late, and I knew the Metro was going to stop running. We started to exchange information as his train was arriving. It was cute; he missed his train but got my number. He texted to say he had fun and to make sure I got home safely. I texted back saying if he wanted to hang out, let me know. I’d give the date a 5 [out of 5].

Mark: I’d give it a 4.5. I don’t know if I’ll see her again; she leaves at the end of the month and I’ve got a busy two weeks ahead. I am not one for long-distance relationships. In my application, I alluded to being frustrated with the D.C. dating scene, because everyone’s always heading off somewhere. And I get [paired with] this really interesting person — who’s headed off to Spain.

UPDATE: The two had traded Facebook messsages and were hoping to get together again before Eve left the country. “You never know what can happen,” Mark says. And we say: Eight months isn’t so long, right?

Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.



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