7:30 p.m., Tabard Inn, near Dupont Circle
Marco: I was almost 20 minutes early to dinner because there was no traffic and parking was really easy. I told the hostess I'd be at the bar. A few minutes later, she brought Shannon over. Shannon may not have been a 10, but she was attractive. She's thin and shorter than I am, with very pretty eyes and short, wavy hair. More important, she came across as real wholesome, with the "I grew up in the Midwest" kind of feel. If she'd had longer hair, I'd have pushed her up to a 9.5.
Shannon: Most of the guys I've dated have been Hispanic; I'm partial to them. I thought Marco was so good-looking. The hostess took us to our table, and we started talking, breaking-the-ice kinds of things.
Marco: She's half Irish and half Hispanic and very family oriented. We talked about our parents and her siblings a lot. I was wondering if she spoke Spanish. She said she understood it but was self-conscious about speaking it. She's taking a conversational class and trying to brush up.
Shannon: I want to connect more with my heritage. I have a whole slew of cousins and aunts in Peru. I liked that he was fluent. He actually volunteers as a translator at a clinic in Virginia. That's a really positive thing; it indicates someone is generous and active.
Marco: It really excited me that she volunteers, too, at the Air and Space Museum. It's my favorite museum. She also did some volunteering in Bolivia. She seemed like a risk-taker. When I mention to people that I want to move overseas, that's usually not in their plan. When I said it to her, she said she'd love to do that.
Shannon: He was in the Army and lived in different places -- Panama, Peru and Guatemala. His parents are from Puerto Rico and El Salvador, so he's been there, too. I really like someone who's adaptable to different cultures.
Marco: I like to go out to restaurants and bars and connect with my friends. She must do that kind of stuff. But when I asked her about her weekends, it seemed like she's more into volunteering, working out and visiting her sister. Maybe she didn't want to come across as wild and crazy.
Shannon: I really value my time with my friends, actually. We eat out a lot; we went to a bunch of Virginia wineries recently. But we're definitely not drink-till-we're-sick kind of girls. We don't go to bars to pick up guys.
Marco: Shannon and I were there for about two hours, and I didn't look at my watch the whole night. There were no crazy sparks, but I really enjoyed meeting her, and we did talk a lot.
Shannon: We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Then he walked me to the Metro, even though it was in the opposite direction of where he parked. That was very gentlemanly. I got a big, big hug. I'd give the date a 5 out of 5. Marco turned out to be a great guy, and we had a great night.
Marco: I'd give the date a 5. Date Lab was good to me. But the first date, you don't really get into detail. After dinner, we were saying that there would have to be a second. That's where you really get into things.
Interviews by Kelly DiNardo
UPDATE: Shannon and Marco have gone out a few times. "Things are going well," says Shannon. "We're really just taking it slowly." Could be very slowly. Marco says, "There's nothing romantic, but it's a nice friendship."
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