Date Lab: Entering the realm of likability
By Christina Breda Antoniades,
About the daters ...
Brag a little …
Matt: I’m scary-smart, decent-looking, in good shape and funny. Love for me is about 80 percent wanting the person you love to be happy, and 20 percent wanting them to be happy with you.
Sarah: I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and hiked all around the Everest region of Nepal. I spent five months living in Nepal and Bhutan with a Tibetan refugee family. I speak German and Spanish. I received a full scholarship to college and am a recent Udall Scholar. I am passionate about what I do and who I’m with. I’m very sociable. I’m very organized and love to plan exciting trips and dates.
Your type ...
Matt: I tend to fall for beautiful blondes. Not too original, I know. I want someone who doesn’t always want me to decide everything or make every first move. I’ve also never fallen for anyone who could reasonably be described as “normal.”
Sarah: Tall, athletic, well traveled, liberal, confident, social.
Interests to share…
Matt: Wanting to talk about important things, i.e., life, God (or the lack thereof), meaning, politics, etc. Someone who doesn’t always take life seriously, who has a sense of grandeur (do you sometimes get chills when you look at the stars?), and who isn’t afraid to experience powerful emotions of all kinds (or at least some kinds).
Sarah: I enjoy being outdoors, so someone who likes to hike, bike, etc. I also enjoy exploring cities and going to museums. I am looking for someone who supports social justice initiatives.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Cedar Restaurant, Chinatown
Sarah: I got out of work a little later than I expected, so I ended up biking in my dress to the restaurant.
Matt: I got there a few minutes before 7:30. They told me she was waiting at the bar so I walked over. She’s really pretty, so that was good.
Sarah: He came in with a big smile, so that really made me feel very comfortable. We shook hands — no hugging yet. He was tall, which I like, and he was cute. So he was in the realm of likability. We walked over to the table, and they gave us the menus. We just jumped into the conversation.
Matt: She seemed a little bit skeptical about the whole process, and I was a little skeptical about the whole process, too, so I think it took both of us a little while to get into it. I don’t think it was uncomfortable; we were both just trying to feel each other out. But once we were talking for a while, it was completely normal.
Sarah: He went to school in California, and I was like, “Oh, I’m from California.” I talked about how I’d only been here a couple months, so everything was pretty new. He told me about some stuff to do in D.C. and Maryland. There weren’t awkward long pauses. We both had stories to share.
Matt: We’d done some similar traveling and some different, too. She went to Africa and climbed all the biggest mountains there. I climbed the tallest mountain near San Francisco, which is definitely not the same. But I’m a big fan of climbing mountains when mountains are available.
Sarah: I went with the tuna. I heard the pork was good, so he got that. We ordered cocktails. Then we pulled out the cameras. We were trying to make funny faces, but it was a nice place, so we were like, “Okay, gotta keep it classy.”
Matt: As the night went on, we got to know each other better. We had similar senses of humor. I got the impression just from talking about the way we’d pick a place to live that maybe we’d have a fair amount in common as far was what things we think about and what things are important. I think there was [chemistry]. There was not a huge amount of flirting but definitely a little flirting.
Sarah: I’m very shy when I first meet people. The classy dinner kind of limits you from being more outgoing, at least for me. We joked around towards the end. That’s my version of flirting — making fun of people.
Matt: We actually realized that we’d gone over the money limit [for dinner]. I said I would pay if we would go out to a bar, and she would buy me a drink. I was having fun; I think we were both having fun, both wanted to do something [after dinner].
Sarah: It was 9:30ish. We decided we’d walk around and look for a place to grab a drink. I was like, “We have to bring my bike.” I don’t know what he thought about that.
Matt: It was kind of funny to ride to your date when you’re in a dress. But it’s not a bad thing.
Sarah: We were close to some Irish bar, so we just decided to go in there. It was pretty crowded.
Matt: We got a couple of drinks, and then we were looking for basically something fun to do. So we saw these four guys sitting down and decided to go talk to them. It turns out that they are four firefighters from Baltimore. They were very entertaining.
Sarah: One of the guys who was a little bit rambunctious decided he was going to buy a round of tequila shots for everyone. I was like, “Yeah, this is getting exciting.” Then they brought up that they’d go to something similar to a gentleman’s club — they used a different word. Matt and I kind of looked at each other, like, “Oh, my gosh, what are we getting ourselves into?”
Matt: We decided that it might be best to skip that part of the evening. We left the bar around 10:30.
Sarah: He was like, “So, is this one of those things where we’re never going to see each other, or am I going to get your number?” And I was like, “Sure, why not?” We hugged. He went to the Metro, and I rode my bike home.
Matt: I would [rate the date] a 4¾ [out of 5].
Sarah: I would give it a 4. Usually, I date people who I am friends with [first], so I would be interested in getting to know him more and seeing what happens.
UPDATE: Matt left a message for Sarah, who says “he didn’t sound too interested in meeting up.” He blames busy schedules and crossed wires. But hearing about Date Lab spurred a guy Sarah dated in the past “to step up his game.” Not what we were hoping for, but, “I owe you guys one!” she 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.