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She's got kids; he lives an hour away. Can attraction conquer all?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

7:30 P.M., GEORGIA BROWN'S, DOWNTOWN

James: I wasn't really excited [about the date], because I've been set up before and disappointed. I got there at about 7 o'clock and went to the bar. I just relaxed and had a beer.

Jeanne: Even though I've gone on umpteen million dates since my divorce, I still find them nerve-racking. And it was sweltering. I was thinking: Oh, great. Now I'm going to have a bad hair day.

James: When I first saw her, I thought: She's attractive. This is pretty good.[She reminds me of] Cameron Diaz, the way she had her hair, and then also [John Candy's] love interest in the movie "Uncle Buck" [Amy Madigan]. I was like, bonus.

Jeanne: He's really cute, kind of smart-guy cute. He has brown hair, he's tall, wears glasses. I was pleasantly surprised. The one thing that hit me was that I could tell he was younger than me. I'd put him at 35.

James: We sat down and talked for a little while. [We told the waiter] we needed more time. At first, [the conversation] was kind of slow. Then we started talking about dating. We had a lot of funny stories to share about our dating experiences. We were both laughing. I think that's when we started to relax a little more.

Jeanne: When he first said he does IT work, I was like: Oh, gosh. Are we really going to have anything to talk about? But we found we have some similar interests. We've traveled to some of the same locales. He's an avid bike rider, and I'm learning to ride. He likes to swing dance, and I like to salsa dance. We both like the symphony and wine tastings. He seemed [unfazed] about me having kids. I think he was more surprised that I'm 42.

James: I had picked her out to be 33 to 35. But I wasn't disappointed. And dating people my age, I know that most people have kids. She brought it into the conversation [gently]. With a lot of people . . . their life is about the kids, which is how it's supposed to be. So we didn't have that in common. But that's okay; it's not a deal-breaker for me.

Jeanne: We were having such fun that we decided to go for a walk by the White House. It was about 10 o'clock. We got a tourist to take our picture. We were still having fun, so we went to Old Ebbitt Grill for a drink. He gave me a couple of compliments on my looks and asked to see me again. I said, "Sure." I think [there was chemistry]. I wouldn't say that we were struck by a bolt of lightning, but, as we got to know each other, we got comfortable.

James: I lost all track of time. I noticed it was five to midnight. I had to get up at 5:30 the next morning, but I didn't dare say that to her. I walked her to her car. I just said, "I'll talk to you later." I thought it would have been nice to end with a little more, but I also told myself, It's the first time I've met her, so I'm not going to do anything else. I never kiss on the first date. The desire was there, but I was like, Next date, next date.

Jeanne: I got home at 1 in the morning. [I'd rate the date] a solid 4 [out of 5]. He's definitely a gentleman -- little things like making sure that I always had a drink or bringing me back to my car -- cute and really funny. I gave him my card. I suspect if I don't hear from him, it's because if you haven't had kids of your own, you usually want kids, and since I'm 42, I don't know how doable that would be. [And] he lives in Baltimore. I love Baltimore, but it's a hike. It could be tough. [But] even if we never see each other again, it was all good. I had a blast.

James: I'm definitely looking forward to seeing her again. I'd [rate the date] a 4. I'd have to find out [if she'd want to have more kids]. Even if she's like, never, I wouldn't write her off. I'd have to get to know her better.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

UPDATE: James left a message, but Jeanne couldn't get back to him right away, so she never returned his call. James wouldn't have minded if she had called much later. "I'm a pretty understanding guy," he says. But it may be too late now; James started seeing someone else.

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