On his first date with his now-wife, Naomi, Yosef Oliker was three hours late.
He was buying a car and had no idea how long such things take, he said in his defense.
“Naomi waited 45 minutes to an hour, and I felt really bad,” he explained last week. “So I said we should reschedule, and she said, ‘Where are you?’ I was in Ellicott City. And she thought for a second because she’s from Baltimore and Ellicott City’s nearby and she goes, ‘Are you buying a car?’
“And I said, ‘How do you know that?’ And she said, ‘What dealership? I’ll meet you there.’ And I knew then that she was going to be a great date and from there. It’s been a wonderful time together.”
The Olikers were among about 26 contestants in their 20s and 30s — couples and singles — who played “The Love Games” last week at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, D.C., to celebrate Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the month of Av (aka the Jewish day of love).
The game was a mashup of TV’s pressure-cooker game shows “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game” and “Family Feud.”
In the game “B’shert Bliss,” the Olikers and other newlyweds sat back to back and attempted to guess their partner’s answers.
Asked about Yosef’s most annoying habit, Naomi Oliker wrote, “cigars.” Yosef’s guess: joining the boards of too many organizations.
The other three couples correctly guessed each other’s top complaint.
Yosef did better on the next question, correctly guessing the location of his and Naomi’s first kiss: Quarry Lake in Baltimore. The Olikers were in sync on the next four questions about each other and won the round. This included Yosef’s response of “steak” to the question of what he would want for his last meal on earth. He said he would “rather die happy than eat a tomato, lox and cream cheese sandwich.”
The game got awkward when the contestants were asked what celebrity they would allow their partner to cheat with. Yosef wrote “none.” Naomi’s response: “It wouldn’t matter because he wouldn’t let me.”
During “You had me at Shalom,” a game for singles, a blindfolded Dustin Canter quizzed three wanna-be dates. Canter, an independent candidate in the city’s 2018 mayoral race, asked the women what their ideal first date would be. Robin Farber gave the answer that got Canter’s attention.
“I would like to go paddle boating in the Tidal Basin and walk around the Tidal Basin,” she said. “But, since you’ll be mayor, first you’ll have to empty the Tidal Basin.”
It was her answer to Canter’s question, “What Jewish holiday are you,?” that won him over.
“I would be Chanukah,” she replied, because I like to spin like a dreidel on the dance floor.” Canter and Farber were awarded a dinner at Mellow Mushroom.
Later, Farber said she was “really flattered” when Canter chose her as his date. “Nerve-wracking” was how described being a contestant.
“I was put on the spot to come up with really impressive answers really quickly,” she said.
Yosef Oliker said he also felt nervous while on stage during his game. He thought he and Naomi “might have blown the whole thing” when their answers to the first question didn’t match.
“I’m glad at the end we pulled it together,” he said.
The Olikers will celebrate their first anniversary on Aug. 21, and Naomi credits — but only in part — Yosef’s tardiness three years ago.
“It all started with him being three hours late to our first date,” she said.