Date Lab

Meet Jake & Madeline

He’s a Mechanical Engineer from California, and agreed to go on a blind date because “How common are blind dates anymore?” She’s an out-going, sport-loving Chemistry major, loves the beach, and agreed to do Date Lab because, “What was there to lose?”

The Set-Up

Jake: The only thing I knew about Date Lab was that the first date didn’t appear to go super well. I remember one comment that said they ran out of conversation super quickly because they didn’t know each other.

Madeline: I’d met Jake before. I talked to him for maybe a minute or two during rush. When I saw him at the restaurant I kind of recognized him but didn’t know anything about him or what year he was or anything like that.

Jake: It was funny because we introduced ourselves to each other at Lilly’s even though I know we definitely met before. We still kind of pretended to meet each other.


First Impressions

Jake: I got there first. I look inside and there’s a girl sitting there by herself right in the front on the bench. I couldn’t get a very good look because I was coming from behind but I guessed, okay, that’s probably her. Then a minute later a guy comes out and says, “Here’s your pizza, ma’am.” And she took her pizza to go.

Madeline:: I tried to get there a little bit late so that he’d be there first. I walked in and he was waiting there. I was excited because I thought he was good-looking and that it would go well.

Jake: She’s very pretty. I thought she was very cool and very friendly so I was happy.

“She’s very pretty. I thought she was very cool and very friendly so I was happy.”

The Look

Madeline: I didn’t want to look like I tried too hard, but I also didn’t want to look shabby so I opted for classy but casual. Then a few of my friends okayed the outfit.

Jake: I don’t have a go-to outfit. I wore my nicer pair of jeans and a collared shirt. So I thought about it – I definitely didn’t just randomly pull clothes out of a drawer – but there’s a limit to the number of nice clothes I can select from my wardrobe.


The Chemistry

Madeline: I feel like we have a lot of things in common on paper, which just bodes well for good conversation. It flowed really well not because of our interests, but because of our personalities.

Jake: I don’t know if you’re supposed to feel chemistry within the first two hours of meeting someone. But she was awesome.


Small Talk

Madeline: This is pretty nerdy, but we talked a lot about design, because he worked at a construction firm doing design work. I’ve done a lot of computer-related design on SolidWorks so that was fun to talk about. Oh, and traveling.

“This is pretty nerdy, but we talked a lot about design…”

Jake: She was really easy to talk to. I remember we were talking and we ate and everything. Suddenly the waiter came over, trying not to interrupt us and said, “Hey I have your check.” Then I thought, “Oh, what time is it?” 9:05. It had been over two hours.


After the Date

Madeline: He drove me back from the restaurant and I didn’t really want to deal with a “console hug” – I just think those are really awkward – so I got out of the car pretty quickly. After I had walked back into my dorm I was like, “Shoot, I didn’t give him a chance to ask for my number.”

“Shoot, I didn’t give him a chance to ask for my number.”

Jake: I didn’t get her number. We had a really good time, I’d love to do it again, but it’s not an I-would-be-so-upset-if-we-didn’t-do-it-again type thing, if that makes sense. I could see a second date happening, but I have no idea if it will.

Madeline: We started talking over Facebook after the blind date and he said it would be fun to hang out, and obviously I agreed, so I gave him my number to make plans and we did.

“I didn’t get her number.”


Rate the Date

Jake: I can’t see a blind date going too much better – it was very friendly, she was easy to talk to. But it’s hard to compare to a normal date. Never being on a blind date before, it was kind of hard to know how to judge it. It went about as well as I could have expected it to with someone I’ve never met before. I’d give it a four out of five.

Madeline: I don’t really think it could’ve gone much better – the atmosphere was light and relaxed, and I came away surprisingly happy and excited to get to know him better. Five out of five.

“I can’t see a blind date going too much better…”

*The contents of these articles are from interviews with actual Duke Date Lab participants. Pseudonyms were created to protect their identities.

Duke Date Lab is modeled after the feature at the Washington Post Magazine. Our team selects promising pairs from our pool of single applicants and sends them out on a blind date. We interview each dater separately the next day. These are the results.

Want to participate? You can apply to Date Lab here. If we find you a match we’ll pay for your evening out!

You Might Also Like