-Date LaB-

February 2020

Ryan Vuono

“So, how did you guys meet?” The answers to that question are likely very different for Gen-Z’ers and Millennials in relationships compared to their parents. In an ultra-connected, online world, it’s only natural that the internet has extended its influence into the realm of dating. Over the past decade, it’s become more and more common for people of all ages to meet and talk online, from match.com, which started in 1995, to more modern dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Many teens use apps like Instagram and Snapchat to find dates or even skip the dating process just to hook up. According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who have tried online dating has doubled over the past four years, from 15% to 30%. Unfortunately, though, the process can often be stressful and misleading, to the point where 25% of the respondents to the survey said that online dating had a “negative effect on dating and relationships.” 

With the Date Lab project, the Voice wants to inspire face-to-face, real, human connection, instead of being separated behind screens. We surveyed the senior class, matched up couples based on their answers, and sent them on a lunch date. Here’s how it went! 


Vivion Purser / Ethan Bean

Q: Where did you go? Why? 

Vivion: We went to Noodles & Company because, well, he texted and said “where do you wanna go?” and I said a bunch of places nearby and he said that he goes to noodles a lot so I was like perfect that works!

Ethan: We went to noodles because we both enjoy noodles and it was close.


Q: What did you talk about?

V: We talked a lot about college and the college process, he’s going to swim in college so we talked about the difference between being an athlete in college and not. We talked about the craziest dreams we’ve had which actually led to really funny conversations, and we talked about pet peeves, so it was just kinda random stuff but it was all interesting and fun!

E: We basically talked about a bunch of stuff like dreams, our obsessions, general life stuff.


Q: What were some similarities and differences between you two?

V: Some differences were that he is going to school in the north, and he’s really excited about that, he likes the cold, but that couldn't be further from me. He said that his biggest obsession is schoolwork, which isn’t necessarily a difference because last year I was really super fixated on schoolwork, but that’s no longer an obsession of mine. For some similarities, we talked a lot about AP Bio and English because we take those classes together, and we both remember a lot of dreams from when we were little, which I think is cool.

E: Both of us seem to really care how we do in school, and are interested in academics, but at the same time, I’m way more into swimming than her, so our outside of the classroom activities are different.


Q: What were you expecting? Did anything surprise you about the other person?

V: I was expecting there to be a lot of silence, but that’s also my surprise! There wasn’t a moment when we didn’t have something to talk about and the time went by so fast. I guess I was expecting a really good time but I prepared for it to be super awkward, but it wasn’t at all, and that was a good surprise.

E: I was expecting that we wouldn’t really talk that much because we didn’t really know each other, but there was a lot she said that surprised me. We had a lot more in common than I expected and she had a really cool dream.


Q: Were there any things you liked about the date? Didn’t like?

V: I liked the fact that it was fun and easygoing, and I wouldn’t say that there was anything I didn’t like other than timing. I got there way earlier than he did and then he had to leave earlier.

E: I liked that she made eye contact a lot, and she didn’t seem nervous so the conversation was able to flow smoothly and it was very casual. It wasn’t in a formal setting, so it was very laid back.


Q: Any funny moments on the date?

V: It was kinda funny when we got there, because we were the only people in Noodles and company, we were just kinda sitting there, which I found kinda hilarious.

E: Not that I can remember. We made jokes, but nothing that stood out. 


Q: Any tips on dating etiquette?

V: We both did a really good job, didn’t go on our phones at all and just engaged in conversation. That was a good part of it, just making sure we were in the moment. 

E: The biggest thing would be to always be the one to initiate conversation, and if they talk to you, keep it up. Make sure it’s a back and forth. Be nice to them, and don’t point out things you don’t like about them to their face. As long as you make them feel like they’re a good person, they’ll be more open and responsive. 


Q: What do you look for in a partner?

V: I look for someone who’s funny and not afraid to be themselves, so that includes the honesty aspect and not putting up a front, and we both did that-- both came as ourselves. 

E: I definitely look for honesty, I definitely look for extrovertedness and intelligence, and she had all three! 


Q: Any last words on this experience?

V: I think I would recommend it to anyone, it’s super fun!

E: I think it was a really fun time and I’m glad I did it! Now I know Vivion a lot better. Overall a good time. 


Q: What rate would you give the date overall, 1-5?

V: Honestly, I’d give it a 5! It was so much fun. 

E: I’d say a 4! 


Maria Simspson / Andre Screen

Q: Where did you go? Why?

Maria: We went to Carlyle in Shirlington, got a nice meal, we decided to go a little fancy. Andre really had his heart set on it. We were gonna go to Fogo de Chao, but then we realized the school didn’t fund that much of it.

A: We went to Carlyle Grand. I went there cause I wanted a good meal and to show Maria a good time. 


Q: What did you talk about?

M: We talked about just life, a lot about basketball. I learned a lot about college basketball and how recruitment works... I think I could do it now.

A: We talked a lot, I was just getting to know her. I kinda took it a little bit seriously, because at first I was like “oh what is this” but then once I actually knew I was gonna go I took it more serious. We talked about, like, what we do, and who we are. 


Q: What were some similarities and differences between you two?

M: Some differences: he’s very athletic, I’m not. Some similarities: I think we’re both not mean people... yeah! 

A: I feel we’re very different in that she’s more go with the flow and I’m more goal-oriented overall. But it was still a good connection I’d say. 


Q: What were you expecting?

M: I dunno just like a good time, nice, calm, nothing overwhelming. He’s a very nice guy.

A: I didn’t really know what to expect. Golly, a formal date, I don’t think I’ve really ever been on a formal date like that, so it was interesting, like a valuable first experience. 


Q: Did anything surprise you about the other person?

M: Not really. We talked about a lot, not just basketball. 

A: That she’s like Lebanese, part Lebanese from her mom. I didn’t see that in her at all, so that surprised me. 


Q: Were there any things you liked about the date? Didn’t like?

M: I liked how relaxed it was even though we were at a fancy-ish restaurant. 

A: It was just like a good experience overall, everything was solid. 


Q: Any funny moments on the date?

M: I lost a bet, so he ended up having to get the refund because we spent exactly $50. 

A: I spilled water on myself, that was probably it. 


Q: Any tips on dating etiquette?

M: Just don’t be an [meanie]! You can bleep that out... don’t be a meanie!

A: I’m not a dating master, but I mean, I was a bit tense, so just like loosen up. That’s a tip. Just start the conversation, all you have to do is start a conversation, keep it going, and ask your partner about them and you’ll be good! 


Q: What do you look for in a partner?

M: I dunno, it changes based on my mood and how feisty I’m feelin. 

A: Physical or like...? Obviously I’m a straight man, so... Like, I’m tall, so a little bit of height... you don’t even have to be tall! A good personality, and someone who has purpose and has enough things to do in their own life.


Q: Any last words on this experience?

M: I had a great time! Thumbs up! 

A: It was a good date, I’d do it again.


Q: What rate would you give the date overall, 1-5?

M: I’d give it a 5! 

A: Probably a 4, like a low 4. 


Ashlyn Lee / Jamal Barnes

Q: Where did you go? Why? 

Ashlyn: Cava, because Jamal had never gone and I hadn’t had it in a while so I was like “let’s go” and he said “ok I’ve never been!”

Jamal: Cava, because it was close.


Q: What did you talk about?

A: I asked him if he believes in love... he said maybe. Also a date he previously went on over the weekend. It was highly quality conversation. Also obviously because we’re seniors we started talking about college which was really fun. 

J: College, love... that was weird. And we talked about friend group dynamics.


Q: What were some similarities and differences between you two?

A: We both are seniors and we both are thinking about college BUT he is thinking about it through a sports kinda vision and I just don’t have that. 

J: We both talk a lot! 


Q: What were you expecting?

A: I was not expecting anything but he was quite talkative and we had a great conversation overall. Talked about everyone else, lots of gossip.

J: I’ve never had Cava so I wasn’t sure what to expect with that. And Ashlyn talks a lot so I was expecting good conversation.


Q: Did anything surprise you about the other person?

A: It surprised me how his name was Jamal. I didn’t ask him about it but I was like “oh look at that!”

J: No. Actually, I found out she doesn’t wanna create her own clothing brand. She would rather work under an existing company.


Q: Were there any things you liked about the date? Didn’t like?

A: I thought it was quite exciting to show him Cava because, ya know, Cava’s a fun place and he had never been. I did find it shocking that he knew we were going on a date and then he went on another date, kinda rude. 

J: Nothing really, it was just good conversation.


Q: Any funny moments on the date?

A: When he didn’t know how to order Cava!

J: I didn’t know what to order so I just copied her order.


Q: Any tips on dating etiquette?

A: Don’t go on another date right before!

J: Don’t sit in silence. 


Q: What do you look for in a partner?

A: Money.

J: Someone funny and who can keep the conversation going. 


Q: Any last words on this experience?

A: I think Date Lab’s fun! I think it was an exciting experience. And I think it’s good for people to go to places they’ve never gone before to learn more about the world. 

J: It was better than I expected. 


Q: What rate would you give the date overall, 1-5?

A: 6 

J: 4