Date Lab: He’s a gentleman – and a rugby player


Chelsea, 29, briefly dated a man who said he had a good experience attending Date Lab. When they broke up a few months ago, she decided to apply. She looked forward to an “old-fashioned blind date,” noting that she’s not a fan of dating apps because it’s easy to miss a good match based on surface traits. She’s interested in a long-term relationship but hasn’t put any expectations on the public setup. “I wasn’t super nervous at first.”

While she usually straightens her hair for first dates, her friends have encouraged her to wear it curly. The event planner showered in the morning, giving her curls time to settle. After work, she went home and dressed in her go-to party outfit that she “feels good in,” which includes a turtleneck tank top. She listened to Lizzo on her drive to Sovereign in Georgetown.

She arrived about 10 minutes before her match, Jack, a 28-year-old lawyer. Like Chelsea, he is interested in a serious relationship but didn’t “put much emotional weight” on the evening. He came straight back from a busy day at the office wearing a pink J. Crew shirt. He listened to hip-hop while riding a rental scooter, then got nervous as he entered the restaurant. Luckily he arrived just on time.

After taking pictures, they sat down and had vodka and blueberry cocktails while deciding on the food. They shared a flatbread, then she ordered a short rib entrée while he had a pork sandwich. They each drank two more glasses, switching to beer.

Chelsea broke the ice by asking Jack: “Why do you think The Post decided to match us?” That’s when Jack told her he played rugby in college. “That must be it,” she said, noting that she had a “thing” for rugby players. The attraction was mutual. “She had her hair done in really pretty curls,” Jack commented. “I thought she was quite pretty and she wasn’t very nervous, and that’s still attractive.” Physically, Jack also “checked a lot of boxes” for her, she said.

The conversation quickly turned to their interests and the culture change involved in moving to DC from their respective hometowns – Jack grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Chelsea is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We talked about family, and he’s close to his family and so am I,” Chelsea said.

To meet more people in DC, Chelsea joined a volleyball league, while Jack plays kickball. Jack, who had a group of friends in DC since college, admired Chelsea’s outgoing nature and her willingness to get involved in new activities to meet people. “It’s scary to go out and try to make friends when you move house,” he said. “She’s definitely outgoing.”

Chelsea liked Jack’s sense of humor. When she mentioned that she and her friends were sending each other Christmas cards, she was surprised to learn that Jack and his friends had a similar hobby. “We started this 12 years ago and made them at Kinkos,” Jack said. Now they make elaborate electronic boards. One of the friends “is in video production so we’re going to a studio,” he said. He shared some of the cards with her, including one featuring him and his friends wearing matching Christmas jumpers, striking an “awkward JCPenney family portrait” pose, according to Chelsea. She thought it was “so funny, and it really showed her personality”.

They talked for more than three hours, ending the date after 9 p.m. When the bill arrived, they had exceeded the amount allocated by The Post and both offered to pay. But Jack insisted and covered all the difference. He then noticed that the receipt included a 15% tip. “I normally tip 20%,” he told me. He did the math to make sure the servers got 20%. “He’s polite and definitely a gentleman,” Chelsea said.

They went out and said goodbye near the entrance, where Jack rented a scooter to go home. As they stood there, Jack asked Chelsea for her number, but she told him to put her number in her phone. Then she texted him. They continued to text that night. “We were talking about fall in general, and the two have matching Target print flannel pajamas. He sent me a picture after the date,” she laughed. “I really liked him.”

Describing the evening as “a good date and a good conversation”, Chelsea would “definitely go out with him again”. Jack, too, was looking forward to a second date: “Our schedules don’t quite line up, but I think we’ll go out again.”

They keep in touch and coordinate their plans for a second date.

Prachi Gupta is a writer in New York.

Editor’s Note: Due to privacy and security issuesDate Lab allows participants to be identified by their first names only.

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