I have an unholy obsession with the Washington Post's DateLab. I even applied, and then tried to get my friend John to apply to see if we’d get set up with each other (free $125 meals are best shared with friends, vs. potentially creepy strangers). Every Friday morning, when the Sunday inserts arrive, I tear into the Magazine to see what happened this week.
I don’t know why I bother. The same thing happens every week. Every. Frickin’. Week. Both daters are overgrown valedictorians who believe they have high standards, but really suffer from outrageously unreasonable expectations. Plus the guy is usually overly flirtatious and skeevy and the woman is ineptly masking her own insecurities with iciness and pickiness.
So, here’s every DateLab ever, condensed into one blog post.
Today’s couple is Joe and Sue. Joe is a 32-year-old World Bank lawyer and kickball team captain, and his type is Angelina Jolie. Except with blond hair, a much nicer rack, and a love of obscure 1970s football players. Joe says that he is established, successful, and limber. When asked to describe his dating life as a TV show, he says it’s like a sitcom where all of the women he dates go nuts and dump him after three months because he never calls them back, but that’s clearly the fault of the women he dates.
Sue is a 28-year-old feminist scholar and part-time auto mechanic. Her type is a 6’3” Jewish/Hindu lawyer with wavy brown hair, with a mere speckle of blond highlights. He should be financially secure, like puppies, and enjoy crochet. Sue says she is a great cook, opinionated, attractive, and looking to settle down with her totally perfect soulmate sometime in the next six months. She describes her dating history as a bodice-ripping romance novel, except without bodices, romance, or the disturbing presence of Fabio.
And, now, to the date:
Corduroy, Downtown Washington, 7:30 pm
Joe: I got to the restaurant on time, and sat down. When the hostess led Sue over, I could tell it wouldn’t work. She was far too old, my last girlfriend was 22 and had an ass you could bounce quarters off of. But Sue had a nice smile and was wearing a cool shirt.
Sue: I thought Joe was really handsome, but there was this one freckle over his left eyebrow that really bothered me. At first I thought it was a mole, but no, it was a freckle. I don’t like freckles. They're a total dealbreaker.
Joe: We ordered appetizers and talked about ourselves. I asked her a bunch of questions but she didn’t really respond.
Sue: Joe asked what sort of underwear I had on. I didn’t really know how to respond to that.
Joe: I kept trying to draw her out, but she was really icy and rude.
Sue: He would not let go of the underwear question.
Joe: We started talking about hobbies, and that went a lot better. We both like kickball, and talked about kickball right up until the desserts arrived. I was a little upset that Sue had ordered dessert, from the state of her thighs she didn’t really need it.
Sue: I wasn’t sure about the way Joe was holding his fork. Just a little too much of an angle, and if a man mishandles a fork it’s a huge red flag for me. I mean, does that mean he’d drop a baby?
Joe: We wrapped up the dinner, and I could tell there really wasn’t much chemistry.
Sue: After the date, I was really worried he’d go in for a kiss. But he kind of hugged me with one arm and then walked away. I was a little offended, I mean, why didn’t he carry me to the Metro on his shoulders? I didn’t ask him to, but he should have known.
Update: Joe drunk-dialed Sue, but no response. “There wasn’t enough chemistry for even a pity screw,” says Sue. Joe counters, “It wasn’t meant to be. Sue wasn't fun enough for me. I guess I’ll go back to cruising sorority houses.”