Date Lab Live! Love in the Air at the Newseum

The Newseum’s Annenberg Theater became date night central Feb. 9 as The Washington Post’s popular “Date Lab” went live for Washingtonians looking for love.

“Date Lab” editor Christina Antoniades moderated a lively panel discussion on relationships and matchmaking that included Post columnist Carolyn Hax and professional matchmaker Paul C. Brunson. Later in the evening, Post reporter Ellen McCarthy hosted a dating game that matched two couples for future dates.

“Date Lab” was launched in 2006 when Post editors wanted to explore the chemistry between two people who were matched for a date. Nine years, 400 couples and four marriages later, the definition of chemistry appears to be a combination of personality and physical attraction, according to the panelists.

Also participating in the program was a couple who began living together six months after their “Date Lab” connection and was married three years later in 2013. Two others shared their stories of dates that didn’t end in romance.

Antoniades named the top qualities that most date-labbers said they looked for in a person — fitness, a sense of humor, common religious beliefs, outlook on life, passion for a cause, and physical attraction.

The panel offered several suggestions for a successful match:

  • Keep an open mind
  • Don’t be rude
  • Be open to being comfortable with someone. “Break the egg. Be willing to say the things that’s going to get you in trouble,” Hax said.
  • Have self-love and confidence
  • Be open to vulnerability. “Vulnerability is the prerequisite to love,” said Brunson.

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