Southern California native Jeff Savage, 36, a government employee, ended a serious two-year relationship in 2015. Since then he has been "cycling through" dating apps and is now trying to limit it to "one to two dates a week."Jeff says he "doesn't have an off switch" and "I don't think I've dated anyone close to my age that stays out as late as I do. So I may have to compromise on that."
Would Katy Hospital, 34, a full-time graphic designer and part-time kettlebell trainer be able to keep up? Conversely, would Jeff ever be able to move up his bedtime?
To find out, we sent them to dinner at Casa Luca, an elegant downtown osteria that features rustic Italian cuisine and a welcoming vibe. Conversation began over glasses of prosecco. But they didn't always hear the same thing.
Katy said, "I felt like I was doing a lot of the talking and he definitely responded back — but there was no real flow to the conversation." Meanwhile, Jeff felt that "the conversation flowed pretty well. In terms of blind dates I don't know how much else I could've asked for."
Katy said, "We discovered so many differences, and both of us were starting to think, 'So why did this happen?' " Or maybe only Katy was thinking that. Jeff never expressed the same feeling to me. He was having a great time.
On his profile he had said that he was looking for "a bit of a bada--" and a "riot grrl." But not anyone who thinks Disney World is a place for adults to vacation. To a certain extent, Katy fit that bill. As they sipped wine, nibbled tuna tartare and got to know each other, Jeff noticed: "She didn't seem nice or sweet. She did seem considerate — that's something I value a lot. I don't want to deal with sweet girls — tying into the whole anti-Disney thing."
There's certainly nothing "Disney" about Katy's look either. "I scare children because I look like a witch. I wear black clothes, have black hair and a beauty mark on my face," she explained later. "I have light eyes, which multiple people have said is horror movie-ish. I've embraced that aesthetic."
Jeff told me that her penchant for wearing black matched "pretty well with all the friends I'm close to, so it works for me."
But as their main courses of tomato fume with shells and lobster gnocchi arrived, Katy still felt she had to carry the conversation: "I'm a socially anxious person and I'm always nervous. If there was a pause in conversation, I try to fill it. I'm trying my hardest, and the only thing I found was craft beer."
Jeff told me, "She's really into beer, and that's fun. I feel like girls who like beer are more fun and probably lower maintenance." Clearly, he didn't sense Katy's anxiety — or feel any himself.
They also discovered they agreed Maryland drivers are terrible and they can't stand "slow walkers." And both like being active and doing things outdoors. But that might have been where the common ground ended. Katy said that she prefers easy nature hikes and that Jeff's "version of being outdoors is very extreme." Jeff explained, "I've had three surgeries on my Achilles, a screw in my wrist, 200 stitches in my head, I split open my arm and was attacked by a dog. It is possible that I still have teeth marks on my a--."
While there is a good chance Jeff will go mountain biking, skydiving and rock climbing, Katy said she was more likely to be "on a clearly marked path taking pictures of the trees."
"I said skydiving was kind of boring, and that led to her [mentioning her] phobia of crickets," Jeff said. "She said high adrenaline is not for her — so if she's going cliff diving she needs to be on a clearly marked, safe cliff."
Nonetheless, Jeff admired her attitude toward her passions. "She's really into stuff, which I think is cool," he said. "I don't care about 'Star Wars,' 'Star Trek' or superhero movies — but everybody has got to have their thing."
Around 10 p.m. they left. Katy was surprised that Jeff asked for her number. They ended the date with a hurried "awkward side hug." For Jeff, the vibe wasn't there to part with a kiss. "I don't kiss a lot on first dates," he told me. "It's usually either no kiss or I have sex on a first date."
Katy: 3.75 [out of 5]. Not lots of compatibility, but it could be first-date jitters.
Jeff: 4. She's a 5 person, and it was a great date.
They went out again, but their differences only became more obvious. They parted on good terms.