Date Lab: The last 10 minutes seal this blind date’s fate
By Amanda McGrath,
About the daters ...
Brag a little ...
Ken: I am not only young-looking, but I am also very active (i.e. walking, dancing, hiking, kayaking) and young at heart for my age. People of all ages think of me as the “nice guy,” a real gentleman. Can converse for hours with just about anyone in any setting.
Laraine: I’m fun, down-to-earth, can converse on many topics, am curious, have the capacity to be intimate, I “own my [stuff]” most of the time. I like to take care of a man that I’m with. And I’ve acquired a certain amount of wisdom that comes with having gone through life up to this point.
Your type ...
Ken: In her 50s-60s and attractive but not necessarily a beauty queen. Physically active and loves to dance and be out in nature, loves to travel and is an upbeat and happy person.
Laraine: A sense of humor that makes me laugh (our humor needs to be compatible). Bright, comfortable in his own skin and with his accomplishments in life. Able to relax. Interested in the world at large and contributing to it in a positive way.
Interests to share ...
Ken: Dancing, walking, hiking, traveling, music.
Laraine: Walking, hiking, live music, eating great food in all kinds of restaurants, movies and great conversation.
How you hope s/he’s different ...
Ken: Brings new experiences and interests to the relationship.
Laraine: Very masculine energy. Calmer than I am in the face of the unknown and emergencies. Knows about things that I don’t know. More decisive than I am
About the date ...
7:30 p.m., Grapeseed, Bethesda
Laraine: [I was] probably more nervous than excited. I think because I’ve done so much of Match.com, I don’t really get excited anymore. I get more, “All right, let’s just see what happens.” And I try to bring my best self to the table.
Ken: I spent the day doing relaxing things. I went for a walk. I’m writing my memoirs, so I worked on that. I got [to the restaurant] at 7:20.
Laraine: I got there at 7:25. They took me over to him. He was attractive. My first hit was that he was a good guy, somebody that I would be comfortable with.
Ken: When she walked in, I thought, This is great. She’s very attractive. She told me later she was 60; I would have guessed early 50s.
Laraine: He stood up, he was a gentleman. He went to give me a hug, but I kind of put my hand out. I felt a little reserved at that moment. But it was friendly.
Ken: I’m a hugger kind of guy. I didn’t read anything more into it, but I’m a little bit more friendly in that respect. Initially, I ordered a glass of wine, and she ordered bottled water. We talked a little bit about how [Date Lab] may have picked us, what our jobs are. I’m in a more technical field; she does massage. So very different realms of occupations. She does meditation, which I’ve thought about in the past. That’s one of the things I’d like to talk to her about more.
Laraine: I’m a massage therapist, and I teach meditation incorporations. The conversation flowed very easily. He’s an interactive conversationalist. We talked about his kids, my kids, some past relationship stuff. I’m a big walker and hiker, and so is he, so that was one thing we had in common.
Ken: I’m the kind of guy who can talk to anybody. I also do a lot of socializing, like Meetup.com social groups. Almost every week, I’m meeting a new bunch of people. I said, “You know, so many people our age, they act like they’re just old.” They don’t have a young mentality — not like a kid, but I like to be active. She said she likes that, too. We ordered two appetizers to share. Then we both ordered dinner.
Laraine: There was never a lull in the conversation. It was more just getting to know each other. That energy wasn’t there, that flirtatious energy. [But] I enjoyed his company.
Ken: The thing is, the more we talked, we couldn’t come up with a whole bunch of things we had in common. But to me, the things we didn’t have in common sort of piqued my interest. I’m interested in new people and learning new things, so it was fun to me. But there was no real flirting. There was no real indication throughout the night that there was a connection.
Laraine: We had dessert. I had the ginger-apple spice cake with vanilla ice cream, and he had the cheesecake with berries.
Ken: The evening started to wind down. It was about 9:30. We used valet parking, so we had to go get the cars. I was convinced as we were walking out that she didn’t want to pursue it any further. I just had the feeling — I don’t know whether it was her body language or the way she was talking, but she was a little bit reserved. I started to say, “I guess we’re different,” et cetera et cetera, and started to give reasons why we might not be following up on it.
Laraine: He said something about getting together again, but it almost sounded like he did not want to. I was confused. I said, “Why did you say it like that?” He said, “Well, I wasn’t sure you wanted to go out again.” I said: “No, yeah, I would.”
Ken: She was kinda surprised. She might have thought we were connecting, and in a way we were, but it wasn’t obvious to me. I was glad once we got outside, we cleared everything up.
Laraine: That was maybe when the ice broke more, at that moment. I said: “I’ll tell you, at this age, dating for me has become confusing. And I used to depend on chemistry, now I don’t know what to depend on.”
Ken: I’ve had that problem, too. When I was 20 years old, it was a lot different; I got infatuated. Nowadays I guess we’re just a little bit more sensible.
Laraine: That was almost when I would have liked to talk more, but the cars were there sitting in the middle of the road, and it was raining and the valet guy wanted to be paid.
Ken: At that point, we exchanged telephone numbers. When I got home, I texted her. I’m gonna see if she’s free this weekend. I would rate the date a 4 [out of 5.] I’m glad I was able to get her to tell me that she was interested, and I’m now looking forward to getting in touch with her.
Laraine: [I’d rate the date] a 4. I think for me, now, chemistry might come over time. There needs to be a little initial attraction, like, Do I want to see that person again? When there’s an immediate “wow” — that’s never worked out, or at least not worked out for the long term. But [in this case] there was an attraction to the human being. He seemed like a good person, someone I could spend a little time with.
UPDATE: Ken called Laraine, and the two went out for dinner a few days after their first date. “I think we were a little more relaxed,” Ken says. Still no major sparks, but both were open to a third date. “We’re getting to know each other,” Laraine says. “Either something’s going to unfold, or it won’t, and I don’t know yet.”