7:30 p.m., Lightfoot Restaurant, Leesburg
Nicole: I probably got to the Lightfoot about 10 minutes before he did. The staff put us right by the fireplace. They had funny grins, like, We know why you guys are here. They brought him to the table about 10 minutes later.
Pete: She was nice enough to bring a greeting card that said, "Regardless of what happens I hope this is the start of a nice friendship." That was a really sweet gesture. She was pretty, but she wouldn't be someone that I'd necessarily [ask] out on my own. I have a preference for somebody under 40, and she was a little older. I was surprised, because I'd made it quite specific what age range I was looking for. Nothing against her; that's just my preference.
Nicole: I usually go out with guys that are about six years younger than I am; they're usually early 30s. Usually dark -- like Italian-, Hispanic-looking. And usually bigger guys, that's what I like. Luckily enough, I look young. But I'm not somebody that will close anybody out, either. Personality plays a big part. [With Pete,] the conversation flowed the whole time, which was nice. I hate it when it's very awkward.
Pete: I ask questions for a living. It's part of daily life for me. It keeps the conversation going. We talked about work and family and children and life stories. [At one point,] we were talking about our kids' ages, and she said, You can do the math . But then she asked me how old I was, and she said that's how old she was.
Nicole: He got the lamb shank, I think. And I got the filet mignon. We shared fried green tomatoes. About an hour into it, I asked him if he was divorced, and that's when he told me that he was separated. I have a rule about going out with separated men. I've done it in the past and been burned every time.
Pete: When you are separated you are pretty much a pariah; that's been my experience. Until things are cut and dry, they're wary, because they've probably had bad experiences of guys getting back with their spouses. It doesn't matter what you say.
Nicole: He made a comment about [his separation]; it's not what he would have wanted. [It] made me think that he just wasn't quite over her. Had he been somebody that I was really attracted to, that would have been really difficult for me. But I had already decided that this was a guy I was gonna just be friends with. [Still,] we were there until 10 or 10:30, and there was not a lull in the conversation.
Pete: The evening wrapped up nicely. We agreed to exchange e-mails and probably see each other for coffee. I think that if I pursued it, we could probably become pretty good friends. I could tell that she wasn't interested [in me], either. And yet she stuck in. She tried to find common ground. That's the mark of a really decent individual.
Nicole: I took his card, figuring I would e-mail him and give him my contact information. He was parked across the street in the garage, and I was parked right [in front]. Seemed like he wanted to shake hands, but I gave him a hug goodbye.
Pete: Women often do that, but I went for a handshake because I'm more formal. As a date, I would give it a 2 [out of 5]. I wasn't really attracted to her. But I really wish her the best. She's a great gal, and she deserves to find a quality person.
Nicole: If I was looking at it as someone that I would be compatible with, then I would have to give it, like, a 2.
Interviews by Robin Rose Parker
UPDATE:"That is a shocker," said Pete, on learning Date Lab had believed Nicole to be 38. "Boy, that's quite a surprise." For her part, Nicole, who is 46, was straightforward: "It's not as if I never lied about my age," she says, but "I don't remember doing it on that application -- If I did that, I don't know what the hell I was thinking."
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