Management consultant Jesse Peterson, 23, describes herself as “just about the friendliest and most outgoing person there is.” She also loves working out, bottomless brunch and a slightly dark sense of humor. Dan Chaison, a 26-year-old congressional liaison, tells us he “thrives in random conversations. … I can talk about Gucci Mane and U.S. foreign policy in the same breath.” He’s also spontaneous, ex-Army and loves to travel, so he’s got plenty of stories to tell. With fingers crossed, we sent them to Iron Gate near Dupont Circle for dinner.
Jesse: I was much more nervous before this date than any Bumble or Tinder date. I’ve been on dates with a few Dans, and all of them were weird; I was like, What if it’s one of those same guys? I downed a glass of wine before I went. But once I saw he was cute and normal, it was all fine.
Dan: I can tell in half a second if I’m interested, and there were no fireworks [with Jesse]. I’m really picky; it’s not her fault!
Jesse: He’s probably not my type, but I think my mom would have liked him a lot. I went to the University of Virginia, so I typically go for the Southern frat boy.
Dan: She was as tall as me if not taller — and I’m 5-11. [But] she seemed very nice, very smart.
Jesse: He’s from California — way more chill and laid-back. I’m the definition of a fast-talking East Coaster. I mentioned I was from Vienna [Virginia], and he said, “Oh, you don’t have an accent.” I said, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Vienna’s in Austria!” I was like, “Yeah, it’s also a stop on the Metro.”
Dan: So that tells you I’m still new to DMV geography. She’s lived here her whole life; I’ve bounced around more. In the military I was in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and I was stationed in Germany. I came to D.C. to work in politics, but I basically work
to pay for travel. I try to go to a new country every
Jesse: I’m going to Italy soon, so he gave me some tips. At one point the waitress came over and said the dish was from Venice. And he was like, “Oh, Jesse’s going to be there in November!” I thought it was cute he’d remembered that from earlier.
Dan: I was so excited to tear into the bison steak on the menu … and she told me she was vegetarian. And it’s tapas, sharing plates. I wanted to play along, so we ate all the plants and nuts and leaves and berries. I didn’t get to have my beautiful steak. She didn’t force it. I was just trying to be polite.
Jesse: We talked about favorite foods — I write a cooking and baking blog. And I write a dating blog. I’m just interested in exploring people and opportunities and dating culture.
Dan: She’s passionate about her blogging and has a creative background. She seems like the kind of girl who does her homework a week in advance and is responsible and bright and career-oriented. She seemed smart and kind and an honest person.
Jesse: I’m a good amount younger and I think more social. A lot of the bars I mentioned, he was like, “Yeah, that place can be a fun time but maybe a little college-y.”
Dan: I don’t think I meant
college-y as a bad thing. I don’t think in my three years since being 23 I’ve abandoned going to college bars. Wait, am I old?
Jesse: I don’t think it’s an age-age so much as an emotional age. He just has more life experience and [seemed] removed from the just-out-of-college scene.
Dan: It didn’t cross my mind that she was younger. She was very outgoing. We were on par on that.
Jesse: There weren’t any dead spots in the conversation. [But] I’m incredibly extroverted. I didn’t get that sense about him.
Dan: We just didn’t have anything in common. Maybe it was different senses of humor. We had dessert and some cocktails.
Jesse: I knew this wasn’t a romantic connection. There was nothing flirtatious. We headed outside and he got my number. We hugged.
Dan: I can’t date a vegetarian; I left hungry. I got home and I ordered a turkey leg.
Dan: A 2.7 [out of 5]. I think you need to build a new matching machine.
Jesse: A 3.5. Above average, but below romantic attraction.
There was no further contact.