Date Lab: Military meets granola. Will opposites attract?


(Courtesy of the daters)
July 8, 2011

About the daters ...

Happiest when ...

Laura: Having an adventure, preferably outdoors and/or in a foreign country.

Pete: Sitting in the sun and dripping saltwater on a dive boat somewhere in the Caribbean.

Brag a little ...

Laura: I’m smart, athletic and a damn good conversationalist. I’ve done a lot, learned a lot, traveled a lot, and am up for doing more. I think I’m a good balance between the tomboy type you can shoot pool and drink beer and camp with, and the housewife type who likes to look pretty and cook and take good care of you.


(Courtesy of the daters)

Pete: I’ve got crazy nunchuck skills — girls like guys with skills. I’m tall, blue-eyed, with an easy smile. I’m smart, ambitious and have my [stuff] together. I also make some pretty mean enchiladas. Also, I’ve got a rooftop pool. Also, mothers love me.

Your type ...

Laura: In terms of what I’ve dated, too much of it really, GOOD guys who are nice but very, very mellow and mainly just sit back and watch me go. The type I’ve been most compatible with is smart and interesting and a bit crazy, be it because they want to up and move to Russia or hike a face that is labeled “cliff.” Physically, I like giants.

Pete: She’s blond, blue or green eyes, wholesome, smart and a bit of a reformed hippie. Not because I like hippies, but because I like a woman who thinks that everything wrong in the world can be righted.

The date ...

7:30 p.m., 3 Bar and Grill, Clarendon

Laura: I was coming straight from the clinic I volunteer at, so I just biked up to Clarendon. It was, like, 90 degrees, [so] I had to stop and buy baby wipes just because I was so sweaty. I actually got there at, like, 7, so I went over to a cafe that was nearby and just had a juice [and] cleaned up.

Pete: I started reading some [past Date Labs], and some of them were really mean to each other in the post-date interviews. So there was a little apprehension — if this goes bad, this goes bad publicly. I think I got [to the restaurant] around 7:15.

Laura: I got back to the restaurant almost exactly on time. I walked in, and I was like, “I’m with The Washington Post,” and they were like, “Oh, your date’s right there.” We shook hands. He was tall, and he definitely looked and seemed very confident, friendly. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t instantly attracted, but he was a good-looking guy. Maybe a little bit more clean-cut than I think I tend to like, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

Pete: She’s a tall girl, cute, cute skirt. [She] didn’t look like my “type.” I usually date women that are a little more high-maintenance. She came in with a bike helmet. I don’t know a lot of people who bike to a first date. So I got a kick out of that. She was like, “Where did you move from?” and I was like, “I moved from Iraq.” And I got the “ ‘Oh, you’re in the [military]’ kind of look.”

Laura: I guess I have a little bias against it — as in, that really doesn’t seem my type. I’m maybe more on the pacifist type, but at the same time I was like, “Honestly, I’ve never really personally super-known someone who was in the military,” so it was a good opportunity to challenge that.

Pete: We both kind of have dominant personalities, and so we both had no problem talking about ourselves, talking about random things. She does trapeze. I feel like I take my life into my own hands on a somewhat regular basis, but it was one of those, like, “Wait, you do what?” kind of moments. It was definitely quirky-fun. She was like, “There are guys that do that, too.” I was like, “Yes, but I’m fairly certain those guys don’t look like me. I’m 6’4” — I would be a threat to everyone around me on a trapeze.”

Laura: I got the overwhelming impression that we had sort of similar personalities but not a whole lot in common. I think we both like to travel, we’re pretty extroverted, things like that, but I didn’t necessarily get the impression that he was super outdoorsy. Like hiking and climbing. That’s a pretty big part of my life.

Pete: Eventually, we ordered dinner. We talked about Costa Rica. We had both been there. [But] it was one of the ways we kind of could tell we’re sort of different types of people. She went from hostel to hostel with her friends — the beach bum thing. When I went, we rented an awesome house on the beach with a pool. It wasn’t expensive, but we got to do the beach thing and then went into town and
did the party thing. She’s a little more of a granola-type lifestyle — I don’t mean that in a bad way — where I would be more of a social, party, let’s get everybody together and do something.

Laura: We laughed a lot. [But] we probably have too-different styles on too many different planes for [romantic chemistry].

Pete: There was no romantic connection. She’s cute, great job, ambitious, smart, dominant personality. But I think the way we enjoy our free time, we do it differently.

Laura: It was probably around 9:45 or 10. We got the check. He walked me to my bike, and the Metro elevator and escalator were out of service, so he carried my bike down.

Pete: I think we both knew that while fun, this would never go anywhere. It was one of those, “I would love hanging out with you, but I don’t think we’d ever date.” She goes, “Yup, I agree.”

Laura: It’s nice to just put it out there, because I felt the same way. As a fun date, I would say it was a 4 or 5 [out of 5], but romantic connection-wise maybe a 2, 2.5.

Pete: From a first-date perspective, even though there was no love connection, I would give it a 4. For romance, I’d give it a 2. I’m not interested in another romantic date. Would I hang out with her again? Absolutely.

UPDATE: Immediately after the date, Pete looked up Laura on Facebook — and an online friendship was born. Will they meet again in person? “I’m not opposed,” Laura says. “I don’t think too often Facebooking leads to hanging but, you know, maybe.”

Nominate a friend for Date Lab! Reach us at datelab@washpost.com or on Twitter @datelab or Facebook and tell us why he or she is a great catch.

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