Date Lab: A homebody meets a social butterfly
7:30 p.m., Casa Nonna, Dupont Circle
Ron: I was a little apprehensive. I got there a little early, about 15 minutes before. I hung out at the bar, got a Kahlua to drink and talked with the bartender.
Gina-Gail: I was anxious. I got there just in time. The hostess told me he was already there and took me to the bar. I saw him and thought, He looks nice. He had a big smile on his face, which helped to lessen my nerves. [But] he wouldn't have typically caught my eye. He's a little bit shorter than guys I typically date.
Ron: I was definitely thinking that she was cute. I liked her hair -- it was similar to mine. She said, "Hello," and I thought, Oooh, accent. I'm a big linguistic nerd, so I am trying to place it. It's Caribbean, South American, something. Finally, as we are sitting down at our table, I guess that her accent comes from Trinidad.
Gina-Gail: I'm from Jamaica. He said, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to offend you." I wasn't offended by it at all, even though I know some Jamaicans and Trinidadians who would have been offended by an incorrect guess. He got the region right.
Ron: At first, the conversation was stilted. Neither one of us had gone on a blind date before. It was kind of like, "Where do we go from here?"
Gina-Gail: We ordered fairly quickly. The server explained to us that it was family-style, so we picked two appetizers and two entrees to share. One of my initial questions to him was "What do you do?" He said that he robbed banks. At the time, because I hadn't gotten a feel for his personality yet, I didn't know if that was his way of telling me he didn't want to talk about what he did or if he was just being funny. As the conversation progressed, I realized that was just his personality. He cracks jokes at lots of things.
Ron: I like a little bit of playfulness. We talked about how we hate D.C.-isms, like "Where do you work?" and "What can you do for me?" Maybe 20 minutes of our four-hour conversation was spent talking about work.
Gina-Gail: He just moved back to D.C. from Chile. We talked about his time there. He said he's not that into nature. I was like, "Oh, did you go hiking?" And he was like, "No. I stayed in the city, and I tried to stay away from the trees." It wasn't necessarily off-putting, just a recognition of our differences.
Ron: I lived in Chile for a year and visited as many other South American cities as I could. I'm definitely a city boy and stayed away from all the nature-type places. I guess I was getting the vibe over the whole evening that was like, This is fun, this is cool, but this is not going down a romantic road.
Gina-Gail: We got along pretty well, [but] we would probably be more buddies. Something else we didn't quite connect on was dancing. He likes to go dancing. I have two left feet. If we went Latin dancing, I would probably die. He talked about how he likes to hang out with friends a lot; I'm a bit more solitary. I'm not a go-outside-and-play person as much as he seems to be.
Ron: Yeah, I love going out and being social. It's how I recharge my batteries. But I know that socializing can be draining for some people. So at one point during dinner, we were talking, and I heard an echo. My back was to the rest of the restaurant, and when I turned around I saw the place was empty. It was 11:30. She had this project she was working on, and I had to be at work at 7:30.
Gina-Gail: I checked my phone to see when the next bus would come to take me home. That's when he offered to give me a ride. I thought it was very nice. He dropped me off, and we bid each other good night in Spanish. We did a friend-hug in the car, and I left.
Ron: I didn't ask for her information, and even if she had given me her number, I don't know where it would have gone from that point. I would say the date was a 4 [out of 5]. I had a good time, for sure, [but] I never got any indications she would want to hang out again. I didn't want to be pushy.
Gina-Gail: It was a 4. I was perfectly fine with how the evening ended. I completely enjoyed his company. There just wasn't much physical or romantic chemistry.
-- Interviews by Stephen Lowman
Update: No second date? Not surprised. "It's fine by me," Gina-Gail tells us. "What's meant to be will be," Ron says. Apparently, this wasn't.