Philly native Dylan Morpurgo, 26, senior manager at a Jewish nonprofit, moved from Boston to the District in May. He wants to date someone who shares his worldview and has a passion for “tikkun olam,” a Hebrew term, “which means repair of the world,” he explained. “The world is a gift to humanity from God, and we all have to pitch in and do our part to make it as best as we can.” Jordan Monaghan, 23, who is originally from Charlotte, also moved to the District in May with ambitions to do good for the world. He is a recent college grad who works for a progressive public relations firm. In potential suitors, Jordan explained, he is seeking “a willingness to be open.” “I need someone who is as present as I am,” he told me before the date.
We sent Dylan and Jordan to Sette Osteria, a sophisticated yet cozy Italian restaurant on 14th Street NW, near Logan Circle. When Dylan, who is 5-foot-6, met Jordan, “the first thing I had to do was look up — he is very tall — and he has a great smile.” Jordan said of Dylan: “I could tell he was pretty nervous, which was cute.”
Besides height, Dylan also took note of their three-year age difference. He said, “I work with college students so I try not to date someone around that age.” But Jordan “carries himself as more mature.” Maybe it was Jordan’s spectacles that lent him some gravitas. “I never realized this about myself, but I’m really attracted to guys in glasses — it makes people look more dignified,” Dylan said. For Jordan, age was never an issue. He said of Dylan: “He seems smart, very experienced and very well-traveled.”
The two were led to a dimly lit room in the back of the restaurant. Over drinks, they bonded over common interests regarding the type of work they do, their values, politics and travel. “We easily understood the world the other was working in, and it was nice because there is not a lot of explaining to do,” Dylan said. Jordan said they even shared the same sense of style and learned they had narrowly avoided a wardrobe faux pas that he had fretted about before the date. “I wore a purple gingham shirt and black jeans — and I was really nervous that he’d wear a gingham shirt and that our photo would look heinous,” Jordan said. “And he looked at me and said, ‘I almost wore a green gingham shirt.’ Thank God he didn’t.”
They discovered differences, too. Jordan said that, before they ordered appetizers, Dylan asked, “ ‘Do you have any dietary restrictions?’ which is a perfectly fine question, but the way it came out it sounded like I was filling out an official school field-trip form.”
He added: “I was so excited to try the carpaccio, however he doesn’t eat meat. I felt so bad for suggesting it. I’m not a calamari fan, but since he couldn’t eat meat I said yes.”
As they noshed on calamari and bruschetta, they shared their experiences of dating in the District vs. the other places they’ve lived.
Jordan said of the District, “Everyone wants a boyfriend, but everyone is so career-driven and [they] don’t have the time” to connect on that level. “I love dating and getting to know someone, but sometimes it’s hard to find people who are willing to open up and talk about their lives without there being an expectation of hooking up.”
For that reason, he said he enjoyed the date because “it was nice to be able to go out and get to know someone without the expectation of going home with them or feeling like I have to follow up with them with an email on Monday.”
After they finished their entrees of steamed mussels and chicken parmigiana, Dylan excused himself to use the restroom. While he was gone, Jordan couldn’t help but walk up to a table of ladies whom he had overheard chatting about his alma mater, Wake Forest University. Dylan, who says he can be a bit introverted and would never start a conversation with a stranger in a bar, appreciated this aspect of Jordan. “I got to see that he was more extroverted and a people person,” he said. “It was fun to see that he wasn’t just sitting there on his phone when I came back.”
Soon after, they ended the evening with an exchange of numbers and a hug.
Dylan: 4.8 [out of 5]. “For a first totally blind date, it was an amazing date.”
Jordan: 3.75. “I enjoyed getting to know him, but I didn’t get a romantic vibe.”
Jordan said that Dylan followed up a few weeks later and that he told Dylan being friends was best.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote about being a meat-eater to Dylan Morpurgo. The statement was made by Jordan Monaghan. This version has been updated.