Date Lab: Can two history buffs connect in the present?
By Stephen Lowman,
About the daters ...
Last book read ...
Lydia: “At Home” by Bill Bryson.
Alamhir: “Founding Brothers” by Joseph Ellis.
Interests to share …
Lydia: History, shiny objects, travel, random information, a lot of laughs.
Alamhir: I am a very simple guy. I love to try anything new. Shopping, rock climbing, working out, sightseeing.
(I’m a D.C. native, and this city never gets old.)
Dream date ...
Lydia: Gregory House with a love for history.
Alamhir: Maria Menounos.
Brag a little …
Lydia: I’m funny, smart and a blast to be around!
Alamhir: I’m the best listener anybody will ever meet. I may not talk much, but I love to listen to others — anyone!
The date: 9:45 a.m., President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington
Lydia: I’ve been meaning to go to Lincoln Cottage for a long time, so I was glad Date Lab gave me the kick to go. It’s definitely something I would choose to do on a Saturday, anyway.
Alamhir: It was a first date, so there were definitely some jitters. I was waiting in the gift shop, where you pick up your ticket, when she walked in. She is absolutely beautiful, and from the beginning, was affable and approachable.
Lydia: We both seemed excited to be at the museum. He was nice and cute, a very built guy. I think I usually go for more slender, not so muscly guys. Before the tour, we got some basic stuff out of the way. He’s a congressional staffer. He grew up in D.C., and I grew up in Northern Virginia, so we’re both locals. We are both history buffs. I geeked out a little bit and started going into some stuff, maybe a little too much.
Alamhir: She is interning at the Lee-Fendall House out in Alexandria. She knows a lot more about American history than I do. I was blown away. We talked about who our favorite presidents are. My favorite president is Andrew Jackson, and when I told her that, she was like, “Yeah, he’s kind of a bad---.”
Lydia: Andrew Jackson participated in several duels and threw a great party. The punch at his inauguration ball was legendary. The party grew so big they had to put the punch bowls out on the lawn to get the people outside and save the White House from being destroyed.
Alamhir: The tour was about an hour. We learned that Abraham Lincoln spent most of his summers, from June to October, at the cottage, just to get away from the swampy conditions down around Capitol Hill. It’s just three miles from the Capitol, but it’s higher ground and cooler.
Lydia: It was also the grounds of the military retirement home, and wounded veterans lived there during the [Civil] War. The tour guide really emphasized that Lincoln could not escape the war when he was at the cottage.
Alamhir: Once the regular public tour finished, our guide took us around the campus. He really wanted us to make sure we got a view of D.C. He walked us to a spot where we could see the Capitol and the Washington Monument and the White House.
Lydia: We wandered around, but it was a little hot and sticky, so we went back to the visitors center and played on these computer screens that had documents on Abraham Lincoln. That’s when we really sat down and started talking about our interests. He does strongman competitions. He’s able to pull a car. I asked him if he could pull an airplane with his teeth. He said he wouldn’t have any teeth if he did that.
Alamhir: I got into strongman while in college. It allowed me to get bigger, stronger and healthier. Lydia was enthusiastic and interested in everything. I liked that. She never said anything negative, like, “Oh, my God. It’s too hot. Where’s the AC?”
Lydia: [Hitching Post] was right across the street. It’s a family-owned fried-chicken joint. We both enjoy good old Southern food, so it was a good choice. We got a huge fried chicken meal with sides of mac and cheese and coleslaw, and lo
ts of sweet tea. We were laughing the whole time. I don’t remember anything particularly funny, but it was easy to laugh with him.
Alamhir: There was some chemistry. She loves what she does. It was cool seeing someone who knows what they want to do in life and is pursuing it. I find that attractive.
Lydia: He seemed to be having a good time, as well. He made a few comments like, “Oh, this will be a good picture because you’re in it.” He was really fun and nice. But I didn’t feel much chemistry there. I don’t feel I’m at the same place as him. I’m still a wandering intern, and I’m going away to school in about a month. I usually date other wandering people.
Alamhir: Lydia gave me the leftovers. When we were walking back to her car, we walked past this homeless gentleman at the Metro bus stop. He looked at us and said: “Hey! Excuse me! Are you going to toss that?” I said: “No. Do you want it [and gave it to him]?” I was just being friendly. As we were crossing the street, Lydia said, “That was a very nice thing to do.”
Lydia: The guy was really eyeing the food, and Alamhir offered. It was a really nice thing to do.
Alamhir: We exchanged contact information while we were eating, so there wasn’t that awkward “Can I call you?” I gave her a hug at her car and said that we should figure out our next historical site to see. I would give the date a 4 [out of 5]. I plan on calling her to see how she is doing. If things work out, then they work out.
Lydia: It was a fun day. He is a nice guy. I would give it a 4. If he calls, I might just say it’s not a good time because, honestly, it’s not a good time. I am moving away soon, so I don’t feel like starting anything right now.
Update: The two exchanged text messages over the following week. Alamhir asked if Lydia wanted to meet up again, but she was too busy getting ready for her move. “When she’s back in town I’m sure we’ll meet up, but as of now, we’ll just stay good friends,” Alamhir tells us.
Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @datelab and tell us why he or she is a great catch.