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There is undoubtedly some sort of mysterious, unquantifiable element that draws two people together, that prompts the butterflies or gets them to connect on a certain level.And you have to trust that that kind of chemistry is possible if you're going to do this job."What about the applicants — any patterns you’ve seen in who applies? "If you can hold your own in a conversation with someone you just met, and you're willing to take a little bit of an adventurous leap, you're a good fit for Date Lab.It’s no big reveal to say that dating is hard work, especially in a city like Washington, where everyone seems to focus on three things: work, work, and work.Even the most pragmatic daters sometimes wish for a magic wand to conjure up perfect suitors. The results vary, but one thing is certain: Date Lab is a veritable cultural institution in the District."We're always trying to make a good match — we don't aim for disasters, and we don't want anyone to be uncomfortable.Christina and I usually zero in on one applicant and pull a handful of potential matches for him or her.And we also spend a lot of time trying to read between the lines — if a guy mentions that he prefers blondes, will sending him out with a brunette be a non-starter?

But just what goes on behind those closed-laboratory doors? Ahead, Mc Grath dishes the nitty-gritty about the Date Lab team, the selection progress, and even some dating advice. More recently, we've been trying to shake up the process now and then — sending couples out rock climbing or sailing instead of to restaurants; letting daters choose their own match (we have two of these experiments coming up); getting fans to vote for which person we should send out on a date.In the applications, we really appreciate people who have something interesting to say, something that gets beyond the usual clichés.Every time I read that someone "likes to go out, but also likes to stay in" and "likes to have fun," a little piece of me dies. The best Date Lab applicants are the ones who include specifics, own their quirks, and are willing to reveal something unexpected or atypical about themselves."What can you tell us about your method of matching up dates?What’s special about this process, and how does it make Date Lab stand out from other dating options?"We are a little bit old-fashioned, in the sense that we don't use any algorithms or science or strict rules in our matchmaking process.

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