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Date Lab: Will a Marine’s revelation take this date from ‘oo-rah’ to ‘ruh-roh’?

By Amanda Long,

About the daters. ...

Dating history as a TV show ...

Jeff: John Cusack starred in my dating movie about four times.

Kayla: Attractive young professional, having a great time in D.C., but every guy she meets is training to be a pilot in the military. For some reason, men in uniform headed to flight school keep gravitating toward her. Find out in the next episode if she can meet her perfect match. Will he actually be a local and live in the area, or will this girl just declare herself a “No Fly Zone”?

Your type ...

Jeff: A fit conversationalist who likes to try new things and doesn’t take life too seriously.

Kayla: Generally someone who happens to be in the military. I go for the clean-cut look. He’s polite, chivalrous and patriotic. He knows how to have a good time, and he’s funny. He’s a hard worker and truly passionate and dedicated to his work. He wants to protect his partner but isn’t intimidated by her because she’s intelligent.

Brag a little ...

Jeff: I’m charming, I can dress well, I love my mother and I hate litterbugs.

Kayla: I’m genuinely sweet and very sincere. I care about people and their well-being. I would be a good girlfriend, because I’m extremely supportive and don’t need a lot of attention. I’m an ambitious girl who loves talking politics (preferably Republican/Libertarian politics). I’m extremely patriotic, very loyal and a hard worker. I’m happy with my life and ready to make someone else happy, too.

About the date ...

7:30 p.m., Majestic Cafe, Old Town Alexandria

Jeff: I was able to get off work a little early, went home, changed and walked to the restaurant. As I was approaching I saw a woman walking in by herself, and I was hoping that was my date. When I heard her tell the host she was there for Date Lab, I was very pleased. It’s not that I have a specific physical type, it’s just that when you see it, you know it. And I liked what I saw.

Kayla: I had a long day of work, but I made sure to be there by 7:30 p.m. At the hostess stand, I heard a voice behind me mention Date Lab. So I just turned and introduced myself and we shook hands. I usually go for the tall, dark and handsome, but I am definitely open when it comes to my type. My first impression was that he was very clean-cut and in shape.

Jeff: The Majestic is known for having these really good, old-fashioned cocktails, so we both ordered one. From there, we just started talking about all kinds of things, including when and why we signed up. When I moved to D.C., I told my friend Matt and his fiancee that they needed to set me up. While Matt was in Afghanistan, one of his guilty pleasures was to read Date Lab every week, so he suggested I do this.

Kayla: He told me he was from Michigan, and I usually go for that whole Midwestern charm, so that was good. But then he said he hated Ohio, because of that Ohio/Michigan rivalry. Most of my friends and my family live in Ohio! We joked about it.

Jeff: I spent a lot time in San Diego and love the beach and ocean. She’s from a beach town in Florida and seems at home near the water, too. I liked that she had an understanding of military life. It’s not as if that’s a prerequisite, but it would be awkward to be set up with someone who’s for the dismantling of the military. She truly supports the troops, and that matters.

Kayla: So we’re talking about his time in the Marines, and that’s when he tells me that he’s about to start a four-month class in Fort Bragg, N.C. And at this point, the irony is too much. One of the main reasons I wanted to be set up through Date Lab is because I keep meeting guys who are just leaving. Really, all I can do is laugh at this point. How’s this supposed to work when he’s leaving in four days?

Jeff: I didn’t even know about this class when I signed up [for Date Lab]. Being in the military, you always have to be upfront and honest about the fact that you may have to leave, and that can put a damper on new relationships. I told her about the class about 45 minutes into the date. I think it changed the tone; it was apparent right away that she wasn’t too happy about it. It’s not like I’m going to Afghanistan. I’ll be home on the weekends. She was still really friendly, but I think the flirting kind of slowed down then. I’d like to think there would have been more flirting if I wasn’t leaving.

Kayla: I don’t think it put a damper on the evening. We still had a good time; the conversation really never stopped. He just didn’t seem the overtly flirty type. There just wasn’t a touching vibe. I’d describe him as the guy next door — the ones who are always around in your life, but you may not notice them until it’s too late.

Jeff: I wouldn’t describe myself as the boy next door. I was a bit more reserved physically, because I knew I was going to be interviewed and because I don’t want to be too pushy on the first date. We were having a nice time, and I didn’t want to get too caught up in me having to leave. I’d really like the chance to get to know her better, but she seemed a bit skeptical about me coming home on the weekends.

Kayla: I’ve had friends who say they’re going to make that drive every weekend, and they never do. It’s a long eight hours. [But] I don’t want to be that skeptical girl. I’d like to be proven wrong.

Jeff: After dessert, it was obvious that the date was coming to an end. I walked her to her car and asked if we could exchange numbers and gave her a hug.

Kayla: His walking me to the car was really, really nice. He’s a real gentleman. I’m glad we have each other’s numbers. I don’t think I’ll see him before he leaves. It’s hard to gauge if there’s something there for us to pick up on when he comes back, since there wasn’t a lot of flirting.Either way, I was very comfortable with how it all went.

Jeff: We texted the morning after the date and she texted me good luck before this interview. I’d like to see her again and hope her experiences [with military men] haven’t left her jaded. I’d rate the date a 4 [out of 5]. I intend on setting something up when I’m in town, but she did say how packed her schedule is, so who knows if she was trying to tell me something.

Kayla: I was just laying out my week, that’s it. I’d like to hear from him again. I’m not jaded — seriously, it’s just funny at this point. I’d give it a 3. A blind date is something I’ve always wanted to do, and now I can say I have — and had a good time doing it.

UPDATE: Jeff tried to reach Kayla after the date, but “my phone was acting funny all week,” she says, and she didn’t get his message until the day he was leaving town. “I felt terrible,” she says. We caught up with Jeff a little over a week later; he was driving back to Virginia for a long weekend at home. “We had a nice time, but I need someone who is flexible, independent and okay with the realities of my job right now,” he says.

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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