New Orleans native Vivian Roussel, 26, a front desk manager at a luxury property, came to the District in 2009 to study at American University and now calls the city home. This friendly and independent gal digs Medieval Times, man buns, gumbo and tall, moderately healthy gentlemen who are fit enough to "get me out of a burning building." Enter Scott Kellum, 30, a Web and app designer, who grew up in Northern Virginia but spent much of his young-adult life in New York, where he attended the Parsons School of Design. He digs "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," building electric skateboards, and Queen Latifah. Both Scott and Vivian were looking for a reprieve from what Scott calls "Tinder hell."
Vivian said: "I'm the worst at swiping, and I'm not a great texter. I'm much better in person. It's hard to translate my quirky sarcasm via text." Scott, who ended an eight-year relationship in New York in 2015, has "very few expectations of dates anymore" and refers to app dates as "meetings."
Scott said he preferred dating in college, when "you would see these people who you might date or dated every day, so you are kind of forced into a situation where you are accountable for your actions in a way. You can't just ghost somebody and disappear."
He met Vivian at Dupont Circle's Mission, a bar and restaurant featuring Mexican fare and margaritas on tap. Scott identifies as demisexual, meaning, as he explained, "it takes a little while for me to get to know somebody and actually build an attraction." However, upon meeting Vivian, he was instantly interested. "She had really pretty eyes," he said. The feeling was mutual. "He had kind eyes, which you don't see in a lot of people," Vivian said. "It may seem like a weird thing to say, but eyes are really important."
They settled in at a corner table, ordered guac. Vivian was ready to split a pitcher of "margs" when she found out Scott doesn't drink. "It was probably the first sober date I'd been on in a very long time," she said. Scott encouraged her to drink whatever she wanted, but she stuck with good old H2O.
They shared dating war stories: Scott broke up with a woman who he had thought was "woke" but frequently used the word "retarded." Besides dating a "low-key racist," Vivian said her worst date was a guy who didn't pick up on her clear lack of interest and kept trying to make out with her in a movie theater. With Scott, she told me later, she was excited to have a "real conversation" and talk about "comfort levels, political correctness, cultural sensitivity." Meanwhile, Scott, who comes across as quiet at first, said Vivian "made me feel really comfortable just being myself. She was pretty open and honest about herself, and I just kind of returned that energy. No awkwardness. I didn't feel like I had to hide any aspects of myself or try to be somebody else to impress her."
Over salmon, tacos and more water, they talked about their high school days. Vivian attended an all-girls boarding school and became "confident in my awkwardness." Scott talked about being an art nerd in high school and a "scene kid."
"It was cool that he wasn't afraid to tell me that he wore eyeliner in high school," she told me later. "Most dudes would have been like, 'I can't share this information. It's too dark of a past.' " Vivian also liked that Scott was honest about needing time to feel attracted to someone. "I'm the same way," she said. "It is rare that someone would openly say they don't get excited about people."
At the end of the meal, the pair discussed wanting to see the Dupont Underground art exhibit, and that's when Scott smoothly asked for her digits and said they should go. They ended the night with a hug. Vivan thought the date had gone well, until Scott's parting words to her: "Let's keep in touch."
"I'm thinking, Oh, god. This didn't go well. That sounds so business-y," she said later. Much to her relief, he sent her a nice text later that night.
Rate the date
Vivian: 4.5 [out of 5]. I don't like to give anyone top marks. I'm kind of a tough critic. A 5 would be a date with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Scott: 4.5. It was everything I could hope for in a date ... but there's still more I need to figure out about her.
Scott and Vivian went out again. Vivian says the vibe was "friendship-y." Scott agrees and hopes they "keep in touch."