Date Lab: After a rocky start, this date came through in the clutch

July 3


Annie O’Neill, 48, certification program manager, and Joe Riley, 55, government contractor (Courtesy of daters)

Things didn’t bode well for this date. Annie asked about postponing it because she just had hip surgery and wasn’t that mobile. Then we set them up at a restaurant that had closed, and the e-mail about the new location ended up in her spam folder. Somehow, she and Joe made it to Il Porto Ristorante in Alexandria, where they laughed it off and kept on laughing.

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Annie: I thought he was very handsome. He was really sweet. He brought me six roses.

Joe: I thought she was cute. She had something around her waist and down her leg — it’s like a holster that cops wear. As she got closer — it’s a brace. I thought she might have been a law enforcement officer, and she was armed!

Annie: He said, “Your hip is hurt — are you driving?” I said no. He said, “How did you get here?” I said my dad drove me, and, by the way, I have a curfew. He laughed. I kind of knew immediately it was going to be a fun night.

Joe: She’s Irish, and I’m Irish. She has family from Jersey. I lived in Jersey for 20 years. It was like we knew each other for years.

Annie: We had two beers, and then we did order a bottle of wine.

Joe: I have two daughters that are grown. She wanted to know about them and if I am a grandpop yet. She told me how old she was, which a lot of women don’t want to do that. She followed it up with “I don’t have any children, and I’ve never been married.” I didn’t want to press it. Maybe there was a story there; maybe there wasn’t.

Annie: I probably asked more questions of him than he did of me. I was happy listening to him.

Joe: I was more outspoken about myself; she was maybe a little more reserved about her personal life.

Annie: He really made sure we took a lot of pictures. That showed me he was a little bit on the fun side and was not shy.

Joe: They have a Leaning Tower of Pisa painting on the wall. We had some pictures in front of that.

Annie: He said to whoever was taking the picture: “Oh, we’ve got to get one more. I’ve got something planned.” Joe: Annie I was like, Oh, my gosh, he’s going to turn and kiss me. I know he is. Well, I’ll one-up him. Just as the waiter was saying one, two, three, we both turned and we kissed.

Joe: She told me a couple of different times, “Thank you so much; I’m having a great time.” I said, “I’m having a great time, too.”

Annie: I had to wait for my girlfriend to come back into Old Town.

Joe: She was a little ways away. I said: “I’d give you a ride, but I have to be up at 4 a.m. Why don’t we do this: Why don’t we walk across the street — there’s an Irish bar there.”

Annie: We walked over to O’Connell’s and had another beer and watched the end of the hockey game.

Joe: I had an ulterior motive because I’m a New York Rangers fan. Not only did I have a great date, but the Rangers won the game!

Annie: [My girlfriend] was outside. We walked out .

Joe: I think I took a picture of her getting in her friend’s minivan. I gave her a kiss on the cheek.

RATE THE DATE

Annie: 5. I’d go out with him again. He did send me a text that night saying he got home and that it was fun.

Joe: 4.9. I’d give it a 5 if I didn’t have to work the next day. We probably would have stayed out longer.

Update

The two have been in touch and are making plans for a second date.

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