Can two Ivy-educated members of the power elite hit it off without hitting each other?
7:00 P.M., NEW ORLEANS BISTRO
Michelle: I got to the restaurant 10 minutes early, because that's the way I am, you know? He was seven minutes late.
Barack: Seven minutes? I was a minute or two late. A throng of college kids surrounded me on the street, and I had to sign autographs.
Michelle: When he arrived, I was thinking, "Light-skinned but not bad-looking." I'd heard from Date Lab that his mother was white. I know something about that subject, especially about integration or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure and about how it forces me to remain on the periphery of society, never becoming a full participant. So I was a little wary.
Barack: She's quite attractive, but I don't usually date women who wear pearls and dress like June Cleaver. I was wondering if she was trying to make some kind of statement with that 50s retro style. She had an angry scowl glued onto her face. I decided I was going to try to get her to relax and see what she looked like then.
Michelle: We started by ordering drinks. I had a Black Russian and he ordered one of those, ha, those things with the umbrella? I always knew there was a distinctive black culture very different from white culture.
Barack: It didn't have an umbrella. It was an apple-tini. She got that one wrong.
Michelle: Apple-tini, he said? Well, whatever. I've never heard of a black dude drinking an apple-tini.
Barack: She was easy to talk to. We discussed our families, our Ivy League schools, our churches. But she had a kind of chip on her shoulder.
Michelle: He was pretty defensive about his family but eventually confided that the white side of his family was a whole bunch of racists. Then he started talking about Black Liberation Theology. I figured he was just trying to impress me, but suddenly he pulled out his collection of BLT trading cards -- James Cone, Jeremiah Wright, the whole crew. I was, like, Wow! If this guy is just trying to impress me, at least he's done his homework.
Barack: Actually, I also keep a second set of trading cards with conservative church leaders, just in case.
Michelle: He said that? I am so not surprised. When I told him about a great soul-food restaurant I knew, he said his policy was to reject race-specific cuisines, but then he said he would try it out so he could have more information and possibly refine his policy.
Barack: We are the cuisine we've been waiting for.
Michelle: After we ordered dinner, he let on that he was on the mend after a big fight he'd had with an older white woman in a difficult relationship, but he wouldn't say any more than that.
Barack: It was a problematic relationship. She beat me repeatedly until my friends got together and got her to quit.
Michelle: I asked the waiter to take a photo of us, but Barack refused to be in the picture.
Barack: She asked me to wear a silly hat, and I didn't want that circulating on the internet.
Michelle: Around 10, I decided it was time to leave. He seemed a little awkward about whether he should give me a kiss or a hug or a handshake.
Barack: I offered her my phone number. Then, she gave me a little fist bump.
Michelle: Yeah, I did that. Did he tell you he tried to give me a chest bump?
Barack: What? Come on, she knew that was a joke.
Michelle: I'd give the date a 2.5 [out of five]. He made a good first impression, but the more I think about him, the more I wonder if there's anything there.
Barack: I'd give it a 4. I'll probably ask her out again.
Update: We checked in a week later. Barack had called Michelle, but she turned him down. She told us she'd decided he was an empty suit. Barack ruefully remarked, "That was not the woman I thought I knew."
Interviews conducted by Pillage Idiot.
Previous: Bill and Hillary go on a blind date.
Here are some real Date Labs: here, here, and here.
July 07, 2008