ADNAN KHERA > 26
WHEN HE’S HAPPIEST When I’ve made other people laugh
HIS INTERESTS I am a former ultramarathon runner and long-distance triathlete. I also do stand-up comedy.
STEPHANIE SPERA > 24
WHAT SHE’D BRING TO A DESERT ISLAND IPod (solar-powered), camera, and a Swiss army knife
WHY SHE’S A CATCH I’m pretty fun [and] I’m always up for new things.
7:15 P.M. TWENTY8 FOOD & SPIRITS, FOXBOROUGH
> THE WARM-UP
STEPHANIE I didn’t do anything to prepare for the date besides try and make myself look mildly presentable. . . . I also knew that if it went terribly, I’d been meaning to go to the Trader Joe’s in Foxborough for a while now, but I never feel like driving up.
ADNAN I trimmed down my facial hair, which I had been growing out [for a costume party]. I probably looked shaggier than usual.
STEPHANIE A giant sign [in the parking lot] read AMERICAN IDOL AUDITIONS. I should have known that was a sign from the universe.
ADNAN A random man asked me if I was “here for the American Idol auditions, because you look like someone who would win it!”
STEPHANIE I knew who [my date] was as soon as he walked in, because it was as though someone had taken all of my extremely superficial deal breakers (guys who have goatees [or are] wearing any sort of non-baseball hat not on Halloween) and told him to dress accordingly.
> BELTING IT OUT
ADNAN She was a PhD student. [When] I asked about her research, she replied in a manner which implied that I would be bored by what she was going to say and was just asking to be polite.
STEPHANIE He told me about a sci-fi book in which there is some terrible accident, and only one crew member survives and everyone else dies. But they’re still able to communicate. So I thought to myself and then idiotically said out loud, “Maybe I’m dead right now.” It was so bizarre that I was entertained the entire time.
ADNAN I felt like she was writing off the interaction as purely for comical purposes. Sure, we weren’t going to fall madly in love, but there’s no reason to not delve into the experience and enjoy meeting someone new.
STEPHANIE At one point, I found myself talking about Curiosity, the rover that landed on Mars last August. He had no idea what I was talking about. That really threw me. I half fear he was messing with me. . . . There were points where I honestly thought there was a hidden camera somewhere and someone was watching me to see how long I could keep it together.
STEPHANIE We walked out of the restaurant and directly to our cars.
ADNAN We said goodbye with an awkward, obligatory-seeming hug — you know, the kind where your necks don’t touch.
> SECOND DATE?
ADNAN B- — Compiled by Vanessa Fernandes