Kirk is a chatterbox. Will Sarah offer the perfect interruption?
Kirk Logan Israel, 34, Programmer
His exes would say: that he's easy to get along with but sometimes too focused on geeky projects
Best date ever: the MFA, a long walk to the Prudential, dinner
Sarah Shallbetter, 34, Artist/program coordinator
Her exes would say: that she's genuine and full of love, but also impulsive and unrealistic
Best date ever: sitting at a tea shop, talking
7 p.m., EAST COAST GRILL, INMAN SQUARE, CAMBRIDGE
Kirk: I used fretting about finding a place to park near snowbound Inman Square as a replacement for fretting about the date. I checked in with the hostess. The bar was standing room only.
Sarah: I walked in, quickly looked around, and saw a fellow standing by the front door. I noticed he had a slight smile on his face, was about my height, and had a bit of a round figure.
Kirk: Sarah's cute and curvy. A big ol' Obama pin did leap out a bit. It was a good sign, though, me being an Obama-loving mushy moderate and all. We were seated quickly.
Sarah: We got a table right next to the kitchen, and you could see everything.
Kirk: The early conversation was a bit menu-centric. We went back and forth on what appetizer to get. Neither of us wanted to be too pushy. We stumbled upon this great raw-bar platter.
Sarah: I was leaning toward seafood.
Kirk: I had a whiskey sour, which for me has an odd Garrison Keillor connection. It worked well for her Minnesota roots.
Kirk: Both of us launched into blatant "getting to know you" questions.
Sarah: The vibe seemed mellow. He has a dimple on his left cheek that I didn't notice at first.
Kirk: I've always liked people with artistic bents -- she's a printmaker. We're on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to the online world. Her friends have been trying to persuade her to get on Facebook, while for me the online community is crucial, from journaling to the romance poetry site I run.
Sarah: He was considerate of who had the floor in terms of talking; however, he usually was on that floor.
Kirk: I was concerned about filling up dead air. I think the thing that gave me pause -- and I realize what a dorky thing this probably is -- was having to give the back story for a Sisyphus reference. ?It's probably just a dangerous pseudo-intellectual streak I have, but it gave me a feeling that she's more grounded in real life, while I'm a bit out there.
Sarah: We went for ice cream at Christina's. The idea was Kirk's.
Kirk: There weren't tables left, so we had to share a bench. She had photos from a trip to Cuba on her camera, and she narrated as I flipped through the images. We were closer than we had to be.
Sarah: We talked a bit more on the corner of a crazy busy intersection.
Kirk: We were parked in opposite directions, but I made up some story about a different path to keep walking with her.
Sarah: He didn't feel like a total stranger.
Kirk: Is it a bad sign that I forgot to get her e-mail or phone number?
Kirk's Grade: B+
Sarah's Grade: B+