Ron Boehmer arrived to Date Lab with the age of 30 breathing its not-so-fresh breath down his neck. This communications director for a member of Congress attended about a half-dozen weddings in the past year and has noticed his group of single friends available for Saturday afternoon/evening hang sessions dwindling. It's time: The 28-year-old is ready to settle down and start building "what people historically view as a more traditional family," with a kid or two, and everything.

Luckily, so is James Kuykendall, a 33-year-old political analyst in international relations. James has a fairly active dating life, and a lucky one at that — he says he’s never had a truly awful date or a bad breakup. In fact, despite not yet having secured their mutual objective of loving partnership, neither James nor Ron say they’re particularly frustrated. They’re just goal-oriented singles.

So they come from similar places, both in terms of their dating outlooks and their general backgrounds in politics. They even had an engaging 2½ -hour date at Espita Mezcaleria. And yet they emerged with markedly different interpretations of their night and the overall Date Lab process. One was left scratching his head, wondering what we were thinking by setting them up. The other told us, “Kudos,” for making what he thought was such a great match. Here’s a good reminder that shared time is still an individual experience.

From the start, the attraction levels were uneven. James described Ron as “really cute,” with great hair, and dressed “smart casual, just like me.” Both wore chinos and button-ups, though James had a sweater on over his. On his application James described his type as “clean-cut, clean-shaved boy next door,” and Ron fit it to a T.

Ron, meanwhile, was less enthusiastic. He conceded that while he found James “good-looking,” his impression of him “wasn’t an immediate no, but it also wasn’t an immediate ‘I’m super into this guy,’ ” either.

They had drinks (Ron had cocktails, while James sipped wine), shared some guac and fundido, and each got a few tacos. Ron found the conversation moved smoothly and was interesting to boot (they talked a lot about James’s time overseas in places like Iraq and his being furloughed as a result of the government shutdown this winter). However: “We didn’t seem to have a lot in common.”

“We found out we had several things in common,” recalled James, who, I’ll remind you, was on the very same date. He cited their shared past as Eagle Scouts, their interest in film, and that they each have one sibling. Ron, though, pointed out that he wasn’t especially into any of James’s interests, which include golf, country music concerts, the guitar and brunch. Ron lists outdoor activities (such as camping and hiking), cooking and spin class as his preferred hobbies.

So, to Ron’s point, a glaring thing they didn’t have in common was their interpretation of how much they had in common.

James said their conversation focused mostly on their lives, D.C. and hobbies, and “didn’t get super deep.” Ron reported, “I thought it was deep enough for a first date.”

As for the tone, Ron called the conversation “intriguing” and “interesting,” but said that, though the date was fun, “we didn’t laugh that much.” Meanwhile, when asked if Ron had him laughing, James said: “Definitely. He’s funny. He’s very charming and sweet.”

They didn’t talk much about gay culture or D.C.’s gay scene. While James is the type to take off a few days before Pride weekend to soak in all the festivities that the city has to offer, Ron has “never really been super into the gay scene or going to the bars or anything.”

“He mentioned that he’s super into ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ ” said Ron. “I’ve never seen ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ ”

Ron, who was on the fence regarding his attraction to James at the start of their date, figured it out toward the end. “I was leaning no by the end of the date just because of the lack of common interests and a lack of connection,” he explained. He nonetheless asked for James’s number, to James’s delight.

“I have a pretty hard second date rule generally: If I invest in the time to meet someone the first time, I’m generally up for meeting them a second time,” Ron explained. “I thought there was more to discuss at the end, so I was up for a second date.”

How patient and reasoned. Love, after all, takes time.

Rate the date

James: 5 [out of 5]. Great experience, great guy, great date.

Ron: 3. Great conversation and a good date, but not a good match.


Ron and James went out again. But Ron said the conversation wasn’t as strong. No further contact.