Date Lab: He may not know how he feels, but she does
By Amanda Long,
About the daters...
Brag a little …
Duane: Really? What makes me NOT
a good catch? Okay, I can be a little intense, especially when it comes to sports/competition. I can be passionately argumentative, too.
Jennifer: I am very smart, complex and multifaceted. I am remarkably fit, educated and well read. I’m not like anyone you will ever meet.
Your type …
Duane: Athletic brunettes and blondes. I love flat stomachs, but I don’t really dig skinny girls. I love girls that are politically charged and can hold an intelligent conversation.
Jennifer: Athletic, smart, educated (no, those are not the same thing). Someone who has more to him than meets the eye. Someone who challenges me. I hate sycophants, but men who condescend are worse. I generally prefer black men, but Caucasian and Hispanic are okay, too.
Dream date …
Duane: Monica Crowley. A woman that gets all worked up talking politics and arguing with a room full of men.
Jennifer: Reggie Bush, who loves animals, is crazy-smart and sarcastic, and who will surprise me with romantic gestures. Oh, and who never lets me wonder how he feels about me.
Interests to share …
Duane: We need to align religiously.
I’ll work with her if we butt heads politically. It’d be nice if she enjoyed the finer things in life but could go without them as well.
Jennifer: Fitness, particularly running and hiking, outdoor activities, theater, wine tasting, traveling.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Lebanese Taverna, Arlington
Duane: I was definitely excited. I got
to the restaurant three hours early. I was coming from Baltimore, and I know that the traffic is so bad. So I went to Pentagon City, did some shopping and then got back to the restaurant about an hour early, went inside, read the menu and had a drink.
Jennifer: Going into this, I was more nervous than I usually get about dates, but became less so as the day went on. I arrived early, around 7:15, and they took me over to the bar where he was sitting. He looked like a very nice gentleman. He’s clean-cut. He has a kind, friendly face.
Duane: I turned around, and there she was, this lively, smiling lady. She was about 5-5 or 5-6, with short dark hair and a great figure. I’m huge on curves. Jennifer certainly has those. [But] I don’t pigeonhole myself. I’m more of a personality guy.
Jennifer: He was very easy to talk to. We didn’t have to rely on the basic Date Lab icebreakers. [And] we had a surprising amount of things in common. He’s writing a book. I’m not doing that, but that kind of discipline and creativity is something I like. He asked me my favorite artist in the world, and I said Tori Amos.
Duane: I couldn’t believe it, because Tori Amos is my favorite. After that, the floodgates didn’t open, they exploded. The only time we stopped [talking] was to order and to eat. When the waiter came to take our order, I asked if she’s vegan or vegetarian. She’s vegan. I just so happened to just have read a book called “Slaughterhouse.” I asked if it was okay if I eat meat, and I ordered the lamb, but ever since reading that book, every time I eat meat, I’m conflicted. She seemed very receptive to the ambivalent convictions I have. We ordered a bottle of wine. We ordered another bottle of wine. We were having a good, good time.
Jennifer: There was a bit of serious conversation about our dating histories, where we are in our lives, what we’re looking for in a relationship and our preference for interracial dating. When I mentioned that I am a personal trainer, he said that he read in Rush Limbaugh’s biography that his second wife is a personal trainer. He said, “I don’t know where you stand politically, but do you want to talk about politics?” I said, “No, I don’t want to talk about politics.” And the whole time I’m thinking, “Please do not be a Republican.”
Duane: I love to stir the pot, and I can do it from the left or the right, because I’m a centrist. I let her off the political hook too easy.
Jennifer: He said a lot of things that I didn’t expect from, well, really anyone I’d go on a date with. That’s a good thing. Like he’s writing a book, just for fun, or that he likes Tori Amos, or that he just read a book about veganism and it’s really caused him to rethink what he eats. I am definitely very intrigued by him, but there were not necessarily romantic sparks. This was not a very flirty date.
Duane: I don’t know how I feel [about her, romantically]. I was telling her that I’m at the point where I’m not just dating to be dating. The next girl that I date I plan on marrying, so there’s got to be more than a spark — there’s got to be a nuclear blast. I definitely want to hang out with her. [But] I don’t want to mislead her.
Jennifer: That says to me, right off the bat, there’s nothing there. I kind of take it personally, like, how does he know already? I’m of the mind-set that the chemistry is there or not. [But] I don’t think you have to have instant chemistry. I usually give it three or four days.
Duane: We left around 9:30, which
is pretty late for me. I’m usually in bed by 10.
Jennifer: We hugged, and I said, “Why don’t we exchange numbers?” And we did. He texted me as soon as he was in the car: “Whaddya think?” I said I had a great time. He said, “As did I.” I texted I’d like to do it again sometime. He said, “Definitely.”
Duane: Our date couldn’t have gone any better, but there wasn’t talk of a second one. We were enjoying the current date. The whole time driving home, I was thinking, “This was a really good thing.” I’d rate the date a 4 [out of 5].
Jennifer: I’d give it a solid 4.
UPDATE: After we came calling for an update, Jennifer says Duane sent her “a random ‘what’s up’ text,” but adds, “I have no plans to see him again.”