Luckily, her friend Janice Quill and her husband, Colin, surreptitiously planned for the pair to meet in January 2010, at Clyde’s in Georgetown. Amanda, then 27, was celebrating her new job at brunch with a group of girlfriends when Colin introduced her to his co-worker and longtime friend, Blake Turner.
Seeing his unshaven appearance, she made the connection. The rumors were spot on — he was cute. Really cute.
Blake, then 25, had a similar reaction. “She is a stone cold fox,” he remembers thinking. However, undergraduate art classes at George Mason University five days a week and late-night bar shifts at Clyde’s made it nearly impossible for him to date, let alone pursue a serious relationship.
“Finding a wife was the last thing on my mind,” Blake says.
Despite their busy schedules, both agreed to join mutual friends for drinks at Bread Soda, a billiards bar in Glover Park, later that night they first met. Over rounds of darts, Amanda and Blake quickly noticed they had a lot in common, particularly with respect to politics and art.
“We went in without an agenda or expectations,” Amanda recalls. “I remember thinking that — it wasn’t any offense to bartenders — but I never saw myself dating one. But I soon realized there was so much more to him once you got past the surface. . . . It was like, whoa, I am glad I took this chance.”
Colin, noticing their chemistry that night, sent a text message to Blake: “Kiss her, you fool!” Blake was no fool. He kissed her.
After days of flirty texting and happy hours with friends, the two set up their first one-on-one date. The plan was supposed to be dinner at Guapo’s Restaurant in Bethesda followed by a movie. But Blake was more focused on a soccer match on TV than talking to his date.
Frustrated by his inattention, Amanda suggested they end their night early and skip the movie. “Do you just want to go home?” she recalls saying curtly. “Because you’re really not here or into this.” Blake agreed to call it a night and they left on a cordial but awkward note.
Once he got home, he recognized how big of a mistake he had made. “I realized at that point it was shape up or ship out,” he says. She was too important to let her slip away. “I better get serious.”
Soon thereafter, he sent her an apology with a promise to make it up to her by taking her on a romantic, intimate date at Cafe Bonaparte in Georgetown. Surprised by his initiative, she decided to give him another chance.
That date was a success. Dinner segued into hours of talking, and soon they were making plans to spend their limited time together. Although she is detail-oriented and he is more carefree, they both share views on what is “most important — our values, ideals and dreams,” Amanda says.