Date Lab
Place Lobster Shell on Head. Ponder Age Gap.

Sunday, May 11, 2008; W06

Margaux & Brian

8 P.M., Al Tiramisu, Dupont Circle

Margaux: Brian got to the restaurant first. [When I got there,] I figured it was him because he was standing at the bar, kind of looking toward the door. He was the only young guy there. He was attractive, but I didn't immediately feel a spark. I could tell he was older than me. He definitely didn't look 22 or 21.

Brian: She has a great presence -- a good, confident posture. That confidence is very attractive. But her smile was really what my eyes were drawn to. She had a calming effect. [We sat down and] quickly decided on our dining strategy.

Margaux: We decided to split three courses, so that we could try more things. We were surprisingly very compatible about what we wanted to eat. He'd say, "How about this," and I'd say, "That's exactly what I was thinking of."

Brian: The conversation kind of flowed. She talked about having been in South Africa [teaching in a township] this summer. I thought that was very impressive. We talked about wine. And we did a lot of joking; she has a very good sense of humor.

Margaux: We really did have so much in common: traveling, wine, a lot of the sarcastic humor. He had taken a wine class at the French Embassy -- he really enjoys learning, and, as a teacher, I thought that was great. [But] I felt like the age gap was pronounced. When I've dated guys his age before, they'd just gotten out of graduate school or were finishing graduate school. He's been in his career for a couple of years. I'm on my career path but not actually fully employed. And I'm living with my grandmother right now. I felt like he thought that was a little weird. There was a quick look on his face like, Oh.

Brian: I can understand -- when I first moved to the D.C. area looking for a job, I spent a couple of months living with my family. None of my friends live with a family member now. [And] to be honest, I've never dated someone younger than me. The night didn't feel like a date. Our conversation had more of the feel of two friends getting along.

Margaux: If I'd felt some kind of romantic interest, I probably would've been a little more nervous or jittery. I was feeling like, This is definitely a conversation I'd be having with a really good guy friend. I'm around 9-year-olds all the time, so I have a lot of their humor. I had him take a picture with a hollowed-out lobster head on his head. I couldn't really tell if he was nervously laughing or really appreciated it.

Brian: It surprised me. She said, "Hold still" and put it on my head. It fell off, so I held it and posed. I thought it was kind of funny, but when the waiters saw us doing it, I thought, "Oh, I'm kind of embarrassed now." [But] the time flew by quickly. It sounds cliche, but after a while we realized that there was nobody else in the restaurant.

Margaux: [When we left,] it was really cold outside. He walked me back to my car and asked, "Can I have your phone number, so we can hang out?" I imagine if it had been a more obvious spark, it would have been, "I really want to see you again." I would rate [the date] a 4 out of 5. It went really well, but there just wasn't any romantic connection.

Brian: "Hang out" can be any number of things. I wanted to have the option to be able to ask her out. I'd say [the date] was a 4 because I had a wonderful time; she was very nice, but I don't really have the butterflies in the stomach.

Interviews by Elizabeth Chang

UPDATE: Brian decided against calling Margaux. "There wasn't enough of a connection to pursue it any further," he says. "I think we can both leave it as just a good match on paper but just no spark," says Margaux.

WANT DATE LAB TO SET YOU UP? Go to for details.