Date Lab: Their goodbye was a big misunderstanding

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It was Anna Nguyen’s first date after she got out of a serious long-distance relationship a few months ago. The 24-year-old, who applied with friends, felt Date Lab had “sort of forced” her out, which she appreciated. “I am a serial relationship person. I’ve never casually dated before,” the Georgia native said. “I’ve always dated guys I’ve been friends with first – and then one day romantic sparks happened. You had to be friends first, then interest came later. She’s attracted by a well-dressed man, and “flirting” is a must on a date.

Theo Leavell, 24, is “open to being in a relationship”, especially since moving to DC After moving in recent years, he’s ready to meet someone. The Wisconsin native has described himself as a casual date in high school and college. “A lot of my friends had long-term relationships, but I just really wanted to meet people — and understand myself and grow before trying to date someone long-term.”

Theo’s only serious relationship in college was sparked by their shared interests. “We met while volunteering and we wanted to do something to improve our community,” he said. Théo, who works in international development, is attracted to lively, intelligent and determined women.

We arranged to meet the duo at 5:30 p.m. Baan Siam from Mount Vernon Triangle, specializing in Thai cuisine. Anna arrived a few minutes early, which she admitted was unusual for her. She could have slowed her roll, because Theo was late. When he realized he wasn’t going to be on time if he was waiting for an Uber, the bike enthusiast hopped on a bike.

While this made for a quicker arrival – he was only 10 minutes late – it also resulted in a bumpy start. “He came in and was super breathless,” Anna said. “He couldn’t say anything, he was so out of breath.” She thought he was friendly and “well dressed”. But “I expected a hug to say hello, especially on a first date, but he was just like ‘Hey’ when he arrived,” she said. First impression of Théo: “She was very nice, very pretty and easy to talk to.

Theo told me he had checked the menu beforehand and knew exactly what he was going to order: khao soi, a dish of noodles and broth. For Anna, who needed to think about the offerings, it was an uncomfortable time at the table. “I just had to hold the menu awkwardly by myself. He just sat there silently and I had the menu open. I tried to speak, but it was a weird vibe,” he told me. she says.

Date Lab: An awkward exchange kicked off the evening

The energy slackened as they sipped their first round of lychee martinis, snacked on apps and talked about their interests. Theo was thrilled with everything they had in common. “We both love Hippo Campus and attended the same gig,” he said. “We also both play pickup football and have talked a lot about hiking. I told him to check out Shenandoah. Anna agreed they had a lot in common, but felt they “scratched the surface of everything, but we didn’t go overboard”.

Over dinner and another round of martinis, they chatted about family, work, and school. The only disconnect Theo noticed was when he asked Anna, a software engineer, if she was planning on going to college. “She said, ‘I don’t think I’ll need to do that.’ I guess for me, it’s that ingrained mindset, ‘Go to grad school and get a good job.’” He went on to say, “But maybe that reflects my own insecurity more.”

Their meal ended at 8 p.m., and as they parted ways, Anna got a little miffed at how things ended. “He said, ‘I’d like to see you again, but that’s your prerogative.’ I said, ‘That would be great, I had a great time.’ Then we kissed, but he didn’t get my number,” she told me, noting that he left before his car arrived.

I too was confused, so I asked, “He left before your Uber arrived?” Anna explained that she told him, “’You don’t have to wait if you don’t want to.’ And he left before my Uber arrived. I don’t know how I got out. I was going to give him my number to go out as a friend. But then he just left.

Date Lab: Ghosts were the surprising topic of the evening

Theo agreed that things ended badly. I asked him why he hadn’t asked for his number, and he replied, “I feel like when someone says, ‘I’d like to see you again,’ the other the person would then say, “Let’s exchange contact details. But she didn’t do that.

Anna said she was surprised at how much they had in common. “It’s hard to find people who love exactly all that I love. Before the date, I thought it would be nice, but now I think it would be nice to find someone who doesn’t completely look like me.

Anna: 3.5 [out of 5.] “There was no joking or flirting. I felt like I was meeting a potential new friend.

Theo: 4. “We had a lot in common and it was a great time.”

Vijai Nathan is a writer and comedian in Washington.

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