Date Lab: It’s hard to date when you’re married (to triathlons)
By Amanda Long,
About the daters ...
Brag a little ...
Chris: I have a great body, eat healthfully, am a great listener, intelligent, can whip up an amazing meal on the fly, and am hopelessly romantic. Dare I say I’m the modern Mr. Darcy?
Claire: I have a good sense of humor, lovely sense of style and consider myself to be in good shape. I am very flexible and open to new things. I have a job and a means by which to support myself.
Your idea of funny ...
Chris: A person who can laugh at both herself and me when I do something sporadic (like dancing in the aisles of Whole Foods when a song comes on).
Claire: Light sarcasm and situational humor. Also the ability to tell a truly funny story.
Dream date ...
Chris: A pro athlete who runs a healthy, organic restaurant.
Claire: Harvey Specter from the show “Suits.”
Your type ...
Chris: Athletic but self-secure and intelligent. The one who goes for a run and then changes into her business suit to take on the world, who can wear pearls to the gym, who can have a good time but is mature.
Claire: Taller than me in heels. Active, doesn’t have to be super fit, but has [the] ability to work out with me. Someone who is funny. Someone who can talk about what’s on their mind.
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Founding Farmers,
Chris: I was at work and had to change out of my bike mechanic clothes. When I walked out in my chinos and bow tie, my manager was like, “Whoa. That’s a total transformation,” so I was feeling good. Then I got on 66, and it was backed up, and I was like, “Oh, Lord, I’ll be late, and she’ll be upset, and that will start the whole date off wrong.” I got there on time. After I walked into the restaurant, my nerves evaporated, and everything flowed.
Claire: I got to the restaurant at 7:30. Our table wasn’t ready, so I went over to this waiting area. The hostess brought [Chris] over. I thought, He’s really cute but kind of young. I noticed he had a very nice smile, and he was very well put together: chinos, button-down, bow tie.
Chris: I look like I’m 14. I look like a high schooler, but we’re actually the same age. My first reaction was, Wow, she looks so old. She handles herself so maturely. She’s definitely attractive. I have a thing for blondes. So that worked out well.
Claire: Over the course of the conversation, I noticed we had common interests. He’s very into fitness and does triathlons. I think I mentioned that I was training for a marathon and that I like to run. We have similar interests in books. Our families seem similar.
Chris: We talked about everything under the sun. She grew up in Germany. She spent her summers in Martha’s Vineyard; I spent mine in Maine, so we had that in common. We talked about our favorite children’s books. We talked about our hobbies — we’re both readers. We talked about our favorite farmers markets. Talked about her job. We fit in our dinner between our conversation. We’d have a few bites then get back to talking.
Claire: When we first got the menus, I noticed they had some fun drinks, so I ordered a Farmers Fizz. And then he ordered a Diet Coke! At first, I felt kind of awkward, because I didn’t know why he wasn’t drinking: Was it a moral thing? Did I look bad because I’m drinking? But he quickly explained that when he’s in training, he doesn’t drink. It shows his dedication — that’s impressive — and that he’s passionate about that, and it’s a good thing to be passionate about.
Chris: I train, in season, about 20 and 25 hours a week, so it is hard to have a relationship with someone who may not be sympathetic. Especially if I call it a night because I have a five-hour bike ride in the morning, and they stare at you blankly. Or you have to explain why are you heading to the pool at 4 a.m. But we really didn’t talk about my training at all, and she seemed interested when we did.
Claire: I wouldn’t say there was blatant flirting. I’m not good at picking that up. It takes me a while to see how I feel. It felt more natural when we got out on our own, out of the constrictive environment of the restaurant and got ice cream. That’s when I had a chance to think about a second date.
Chris: I like to take things slowly, especially on a first date, especially on a blind date! So, I’m not too overly touchy-feely. But in terms of conversation, we were definitely into that. We couldn’t stop. There was not a single dead spot of conversation.
Claire: The pictures were really the only awkward thing. We had to keep asking people to take our pictures. And this one guy was like, “C’mon, I want to see some romance!” And we were like, “It’s only our first date!”
Chris: We walked over to the park across the street, sat on this bench and kept talking. That’s when I looked at my watch and was like, “Oh, crap. I have to get up way early in the morning.” It was 10:15. I had to end the date, but I wanted to talk more, keep walking around D.C. with Claire.
Claire: He offered to drive me home, but since I live right next to Metro, I said I would take the Metro. He said, “Well, at least let me drive you to the Metro.” That was nice. I requested his contact information, [and that night] he did send me a text to say he had an amazing time.
Chris: I got all her contact information. We may go see a movie. I need to look at my schedule.
Claire: What stood out about him was that he was easy to talk to and had a very nice smile. It was good date, but it wasn’t overly romantic. I’m giving it a 3.5 [out of 5], and I hope that he doesn’t think [that means] anything was wrong with the date.
Chris: That was a very good date. I give it a 4.
UPDATE: Claire had to back out of a planned second date, and Chris’s training regimen has made rescheduling complicated. “I would like to see him again if we can both fit it in,” she says. Meanwhile, Chris tells us, “The more we e-mail and talk, the more and more I am liking her and seeing this developing into a possible relationship.”