Until it hit its dip, the date had been, at the very least, a pleasant evening. Olivia, 27, found Zach Adams, also 27, to be “very open and friendly and kind-seeming” at first blush. Zach said she was “super kind and easy to talk to.”
Zach, a health-care data analyst, thought that the manner in which Olivia had become infirm was “a great way to break your ankle.” You see, Zach is not merely agreeable, he is proudly agreeable. On his Date Lab application, in the field that asks the applicants for a brag, he wrote, “I’m super agreeable.” So agreeable is he that he is able to co-parent a cat with an ex he dated for four years.
Olivia, an IT management consultant, seems to be of average agreeableness, though when reached via phone after the date, it made sense that she and Zach didn’t quite jell. While decidedly nice, she’s witty and slightly acidic, whereas Zach is enthusiastic and earnest.
Olivia said that the conversation was initially flowing, even humorously so, as they discussed politics. “I was telling him about how on Bumble you can see people’s party affiliation, and whenever I see ‘apolitical’ or ‘moderate,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, you’re a coward,’ ” she recalled.
They sipped cocktails and shared dishes like octopus croquettes, bluefin tuna tartare, a tomato jelly salad, and lamb loin palo-a-pique. They talked about the show “Chef’s Table” and dining out.
And then … it all fell apart. Neither could pinpoint what exactly let the air out of their temporarily shared sail, but the conversation slowed down until it felt forced and the delayed rate at which they received their dishes only exacerbated the awkwardness.
“There wasn’t a lot of silence or anything, but it was just like, I was trying to come up with things to ask,” said Olivia. “He did most of the talking. I was kind of just reacting and asking different questions. It wasn’t unbearable or anything like that, but it didn’t feel very effortless.”
“I did put out the effort,” said Zach after offering that he hoped he hadn’t steamrolled the conversation. “I’m going on a date for The Washington Post. I want to stay engaged. I’m interested in whatever the other person is interested in. Even people I’m not trying to date, I want to know about people and what they like.”
“When I go on dates normally, my kind of litmus test is I like someone who’s more sarcastic and not mean but someone you can kind of riff with,” said Olivia regarding the vibe. “There wasn’t a lot of joking around. I think maybe that’s where it might have been on me, where I felt, not shy but quieter than I normally would.”
After plateauing, things took a plunge when it was time to go. Olivia ordered a car, “and of course the Uber was like, ‘I’m 400 years away,’ ” she said.
They went outside and saw that they still had to wait five minutes (a.k.a. an eternity). “I could just tell that we were both over it,” said Olivia. “I could feel him wanting to go home, but he was like, ‘I’ll stay here.’ And I was like, ‘It’s really fine, don’t worry about it.’ ”
“I thought it appropriate to leave at the same time, but I probably should have just left,” said Zach. “And I got that sense that she didn’t give a s--- whether I waited around, which is totally reasonable!” Good old agreeable Zach.
They neglected to swap contact information. “It was just, ‘Nice to meet you, thanks, whatever,’ ” recounted Olivia.
Zach had considered giving her his number. He was going to write it on the customer copy of the receipt from their check, but fate, which is to say waitstaff, intervened.
“Before I could even make that decision, the waiter took the customer copy as well as the restaurant’s copy of the receipt,” said Zach. “I was holding the pen and there was no paper to write it down, so I was like, ‘Well, I guess that decision’s made.’ ” Seems like it was the right one, though.
Rate the date
Olivia: 2.5 [out of 5]. “He was a very nice person, it just didn’t work out.”
Zach: 3. “She was pretty awesome despite the lower energy at the end.”