Ashley Turner and Tom Gray (Daniele Seiss/For the Washington Post)
Interviews by Timothy R. Smith

Tom Gray, 61, a second-grade teacher from Gaithers-burg, Md., previously went on a Date Lab date in 2015. Both daters gave the evening the top rating, 5, but things didn’t work out. This time, we’ve paired him with Ashley Turner, 52, a piano technician who lives in Ashburn, Va. We sent them to Toro Toro in downtown Washington to see if the second time would be the charm for Tom.

Ashley: I walked to the restaurant and got there at about 6:35 for a 7 o’clock date.

Tom: I was about five minutes late. Ashley was very nice about it.

Ashley:Tom suggested that we not look at our menu right away and get to know each other a little more. So we were chatting, and it came up that he watches TV and I don’t watch TV. His eyes bugged out, and he was like, “What! You don’t watch TV!?!?” He quickly realized that talking about TV was not the right avenue here. He asked, “What do you do with your time?”

Tom: We both like movies. I don’t know that we talked about our favorite movies.

Ashley: We were kind of exploring things that we could do together. He likes to golf. I told him I’d be interested in learning to golf.

Tom: She was readily into hitting a bucket of balls or playing sometime. That was nice. She plays tennis, and I play tennis as well. I would probably want to ask her to play sometime.

Ashley:They said in the [Date Lab] email that we should take photographs. So I pulled out my iPhone and just started taking a lot of photographs. He was enjoying my photography fun, I think.

Tom: It then got us into philosophy. It was almost spiritual, looking at how to get extra meaning out of a picture. It was an artistic conversation.

Ashley: I love to travel. We talked about trips that I’ve taken.

Tom: I mentioned that traveling is something I needed to do. So we chatted about some traveling that she has done.

Ashley: My most recent very big trip was for my 50th birthday. I treated myself to a trip to Vietnam. I went by myself with a tour group.

Tom:That seems like a smart idea. With the world the way it is, traveling safely is something I’m concerned about.

Ashley: I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any children. And he’s never been married and doesn’t have any children. That’s very unusual.

Tom: When I go out I usually expect that the woman has a child.

Ashley:We were there three hours. We had a good conversation the whole time.

Tom: There were a number of things that came across that were interesting. One of the things that was just funny is Ashley has four brothers and one sister, and I have four sisters and one brother.

Ashley: I have a really hard time finding people with integrity, and it’s a real drag. [Tom] seems responsible, thoughtful, particular about doing the right thing.

Tom: Ashley was very nice. She has a great smile, a great laugh.

Ashley: He walked me back to the Metro.

Tom: We both looked at the options we have, with her living in Ashburn and me in Gaithersburg.

Ashley: He had told me that he had been set up on another Date Lab before. She was from Herndon, and he felt that it was way too far away to go out with her again. But he said, “You know, even though Ashburn is farther, we could meet in between.”

Rate the date

Ashley: 3.5 [out of 5]. There wasn’t any spark, but I definitely found him interesting, and it would be nice to hang out with him some more.

Tom: 4. I thought it was great. I had a really nice time. I really enjoyed myself. [Date Lab] was a wonderful experience before, and it was wonderful again.


On their second date, Tom gave Ashley her first ever golf lesson. Ashley used Tom’s clubs, and they had a small dinner afterward.

Tom: After our dinner we had an honest discussion and decided that it would be a good idea to move on to a second golf lesson.

Ashley: But alas, in the end we both decided that dating each other wouldn’t be in our future.

Your type

Insightful, curious about life, wholesome, liberal or middle of the road, spiritual, trim, thoughtful, open, honest.

Tom: Cute, in shape, not whiny, fun, open to ideas, a little sarcastic.

Dream date

Ashley: A person who likes to sail. Someone who loves to travel. Passionate about [his] work.

Tom: A teacher who works out and likes to read to my students, likes to cook healthy.


Ashley: Dry humor, self-deprecating.

Tom: Sarcastic, storyteller, Seinfeld-like.


Irresponsible, overweight, inconsiderate, crude, dishonest.

Tom: Serious, worrier.