(Photograph courtesy daters)

Ashley and Zachary seem to have a lot in common: faith, biracial backgrounds, even September birthdays. But will two years’ difference in age be too many? They find out over dinner at Rosa Mexicano in Chinatown.

Ashley: I was definitely excited about it. I’ve learned you can meet people in unexpected places. I love just learning from people and hearing their stories.

Zachary: I was actually nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date. My roommate introduced me to Date Lab. We started making it a tradition of ours to read it together and predict how it’s going to go.

Ashley: I took the Metro there, and probably one stop away, I started to get nervous, because I was looking around and I was, like, It could be anybody in the Metro.

(Photographs of Brad Pitt, left, in “Fight Club” by Merrick Morton/Associated Press; Denzel Washington in “Remember the Titans” by Tracy Bennett; bicycles by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg; food by Bigstock; Bible by James Pruitt/Qingwa; “Redeeming Love” courtesy of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group/Random House)

Zachary: I was a little bit late. I hate that. I ran in and I saw, like, five people standing around. ... She stands up; she’s wearing a green dress. She had short curly hair, and I just remember her smile was excellent.

Ashley: He brought me a rose, so I knew it was him right away. I thought he looked nervous. He told me this whole story about trying to pick the perfect flower. He was kind of chivalrous. You don’t see that anymore, especially in the city. I love that.

Zachary: She actually asked right as we sat down, “Are you nervous?” And I said, “Yeah, definitely. Are you?” And she said, “Yeah. I am also.” That was nice, because I think it broke up the ice pretty quickly.

Ashley: I asked him, ”So what’s your ethnicity?” I couldn’t tell. He’s biracial also, which was cool. He’s half-white and half-Laotian. [We] just sort of bonded about how people always confuse our race and the 10 things that people think we are that we’re not.

Zachary:My friend is Italian, and her hair is just like [Ashley’s]. She said she’s not Italian; she’s half-African American and half-white.

Ashley: I asked him how old he was because he looked a little young. He’s still finishing his undergrad courses. He’s studying to be an engineer, and he’s doing an internship with the Navy.

Zachary:It’s going to be my career afterward, so even though I am still in school, I’m established and I know where I’m at.

Ashley: It’s just very different from where I am. I’ve been out of school for four years. He was very mature for his age, so I didn’t necessarily feel like he was 23. But it was a bit of an issue.

Zachary: She was doing social work for a while, helping people, and I really loved that. We really have a passion for helping others in the world.

Ashley: He was really easy to talk to. We talked about our spiritual experiences and interest in church, which was great.

Zachary: It might have been a little too much, to be honest. Sometimes
I felt like we were almost the same person for a second there.

Ashley: We connected on some serious levels, but there were also just a lot of fun and light moments.

Zachary:[The restaurant] closed at 10:30, but we weren’t the last people in there, so we took a little bit more time, took some pictures and we walked outside.

Ashley: We were both taking the Metro, so we just walked a little bit and then we headed to the Metro. He kind of saw me off to my stop and then got off the Metro with me, and we hugged goodbye.

Zachary: I always like to kiss on the first date, so I would’ve laid one on her, but she initiated the hug. My roommate is never going to let me live that down, by the way. We did exchange numbers.


Ashley: The date itself was really great. I would rate it, like, a 4. But in terms of romantic interest in Zachary, I would rate it, like, a 3.

Zachary: I think we clicked well — maybe a little too well. I think a 3.5 is an accurate rating.

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UPDATE: Despite having a lot in common, one big difference stood in the way. Ashley thanked Zach for the date via text but explained she thought they were
at different stages in life. Says Zach:
“I understand everyone has their own deal-breakers, and I respect that. There are definitely no hard feelings.”


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