Date Lab: Will a blind date with his second choice be first-rate?
By Amanda McGrath,
Last week we introduced you to Tom, whom we let choose his own date from a set of profiles (sans photos). In a complication to our make-your-own-match experiment, the first woman who struck his fancy wasn’t available for a date. So we called in his second choice and crossed our fingers.
About the daters:
Dating history as TV show ...
Tom: A young American navigates the complex game of English middle-class dating.
Kaitlin: Girl likes entertaining her friends with comedic reenactments. While traveling the world gets herself into many strange dating situations just “for the story.” The awesome guys never work out, because she is always leaving town.
Brag a little ...
Tom: I’ve spent most of my life living in the U.K., so I have a British accent. I also like to think I have at least a little British charm. I’m good-looking, intelligent, and I have a fun sense of humor. I also tend to go into dates with a very open mind, so even if we don’t have a romantic connection, we tend to have fun.
Kaitlin: My friends say I tell great stories, and I’ve got more than white-girl dance moves. I’m smart, and I have a great job, and I am always in a good mood. I hate drama.
Dream date ...
Tom: A Mila Kunis type — someone stunning, cool, confident and with a great sense of humor.
Kaitlin: A Spanish-speaking soccer star or actor who has a few tattoos but looks awesome in a suit and spends his time running humanitarian projects.
Interests to share ...
Tom: Politics, culture, sports, interest
in the world, good sense of humor.
Kaitlin: I hope that he would like dancing and be liberal. As long as he’s up for new things, we could learn about each other’s interests.
7:30 p.m., Rustico, Ballston
Kaitlin: I was the first one there. He walked in, and immediately he’s like, “Hello, we have to hug; we weren’t going to shake!” He was so friendly from the first instant.
Tom: Handshakes are too formal. So I said, “Oh, we’ll have to hug it out.” We had a bit of a laugh about that. We sat down and just started talking.
Kaitlin: I knew within 15 seconds it was a good selection. He’s definitely very attractive. I guess he is American but has lived in England. So many Americans have a weakness for the accent and everything, so it was nice.
Tom: I was extremely, positively surprised. I thought it would be an attractive woman, but Kaitlin, I thought, was really beautiful.
Kaitlin: When you don’t know someone and you don’t have any stake in the date — it’s not a friend of a friend or something — you might as well be your entire personality, because they can either take it or leave it, right? So I think I dropped a really inappropriate swear word, and he just burst out laughing, like, “Kaitlin! I can’t believe you said that word within the first seven minutes of the date. I love it.” We were joking most of the night.
Tom: We were talking about different types of humor and sarcasm being bigger in the U.K. That was quite fun, it broke the ice and became quite relaxed early on. We ordered a couple of pizzas, a steak and a salad. We tasted a couple of beers on the menu.
Kaitlin: I honestly can’t tell you all the things we talked about because I was laughing the whole entire time.
Tom: We’re both sort of inquisitive and interested in different things, interested in the world. So there was a lot for us to talk about in that regard.
Kaitlin:I mentioned that I wasn’t going to share my answers to the questions [on the Date Lab application], because they’re all probably embarrassing. I think I mentioned one, and he was like, “Yes, yes, I do remember that; I picked that.” And I said, “You picked it?” And so he told me [about choosing his match]. It was so random.
Tom: Reading the questionnaire thing for her, I thought perhaps she’d be a little bit more ... not stuffy, but formal. And one of the great things about her, we could go from talking about something very intellectual — the political situations in Sudan and Mali and Mexico — and then just be joking around. She was great fun.
Kaitlin: He’s super social, a very good conversationalist; he probably would have had a good time with a lot of people. But I had a good time. He was very disarming. It was very unpretentious. A lot of people in D.C. just lay their accomplishments before you — their schooling, their job, their travels — for you to be impressed. That’s not what he did. Things would come up in conversation, and you would think in your head, Oh, those are really cool, but he wasn’t saying, “Please be impressed by my coolness.”
Tom: I think there was flirting. Definitely from my perspective. I felt attracted to Kaitlin, and we did have good chemistry, certainly as the evening went on.
Kaitlin:I will peg this more to a European style of dating and men, but he was more forward in saying that he was enjoying the date, that it was really great, that he wanted to go out again, that I was pretty ... so I knew, Oh, it’s going well. So, yeah, it was flirty.
Tom: We finished dinner at about 10:30; we went to the [restaurant’s] bar. It was very relaxed, chilled-out. We were still having a good time, so we went off to [Front Page] to have another drink. We left there probably about 1 o’clock.
Kaitlin: He got me a cab. He’d already had me pull out my phone way earlier and send him my e-mail, my phone number.
Tom: We had a little kiss, which was good. Kaitlin’s a good kisser, so that was nice.
Kaitlin: I’ll [rate the date] a 4.5 [out of 5.] It was really fun.
Tom: I would have said very high, but Kaitlin said, “You can’t say 5! People will think we’re getting married or something.” I don’t know what she will say, but I will give it a comfortable 4.5. I don’t think I’ve had a better first date.
Kaitlin: He said he wanted to hang out again, so he called me [the next] afternoon to make a plan. He actually used the phone; it wasn’t a text. And so we made a plan to go out [the following] night. He said, “I will call you at 5 p.m.!” And then he did.
UPDATE: Kaitlin and Tom have been out a few times since then, including a double date with her sister. “I have no regrets at all about picking Kaitlin!” Tom says.
Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.