7:30 P.M., ZENGO, CHINATOWN
Sean: I took the Metro down to the restaurant. Laurie was already there, [waiting] upstairs. She has a real petite frame and a-little-longer-than-shoulder-length hair. She was gorgeous.
Laurie: Sean was tall, with a nice build and smile. He was attractive, but it was going to be more about what he said once he opened his mouth.
Sean: The server said they sat us by the window so we'd have a view of the cars going by. I said to Laurie, "Great, so at least if I'm not entertaining, you can look outside." She giggled.
Laurie: We started out with the formalities, like How long have you been in D.C.? We had enough things in common. We're both from the South. He has a military background, and I work as a defense analyst. But we talked a lot more about family than we did about work. That told me that it's important to him, which is nice. My family is important to me, as well. And he mentioned [he has a motorcycle]. It added some flair.
Sean: Pretty early on, I could tell that Laurie was very intelligent and poised. That's definitely attractive. When she mentioned that she just finished graduate school, I did the quick math and thought, At the youngest, she's 24. But the way she carried herself, I dismissed that idea. We ordered dinner, and later Laurie confirmed she's going on 25. I laughed. It's younger than I normally date, but that's not a hard and fast rule.
Laurie: He did seem surprised. He told me that his sister and inner circle prefer that he date closer to his age if not older, so I was making a general case for why age doesn't necessarily correlate with maturity level. That was a fun discussion. And we talked about faith. He seems to have a real spiritual connection. What I liked most was that it was all with ease, very natural. I think midpoint in the conversation I was thinking, This is a person I could go out with again. There wasn't a lot of direct flirting, but there were a lot of smiles.
Sean: There was body language, leaning in as we were talking and good eye contact throughout the night. I made a couple bad jokes, and she managed to laugh, and it didn't seem too forced.
Laurie: We talked until we could look around and see the restaurant was wanting to close. Then we kind of looked at the time like, Wow. It was about 10:30.
Sean: I walked her home. We exchanged information and talked about getting together again soon, maybe even this week, schedules permitting. I think we hugged. I'd rate the date a 4 to a 4.5 [out of 5]. I never like giving 5 out of 5; I don't like setting expectations too high.
Laurie: I'd give it a 5. It was a great time. When I got upstairs, I sent him a text to thank him. I definitely think that I'll see him again.
Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades
Update: Laurie and Sean watched one of the debates together and made weekend dinner plans. "I'm not sure where any of this will go, but I thank [Date Lab] for introducing me to such a sweet and intelligent person," Laurie says.
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