Date Lab: Her southern accent at first confused her

Mariana, 22, and Sam, 25, both arrived for their date a little sweaty. Sam, a recent transplant from Savannah, Ga., who bikes all over DC, came to the date on two wheels, while Mariana arrived on two feet at the Royal in Shaw. But it was Mariana who was the most embarrassed and kept apologizing for her sweat when they awkwardly slid into each other to be photographed.

There was something familiar to Sam about Mariana, but as soon as he opened his mouth to speak, Mariana became skeptical of the match. “I thought of him as a Southern boy,” she said. Sam recounted, “She bluntly said she couldn’t date a Republican.” A proud Savannah native who has lived abroad, Sam saw it as an opportunity to speak to Mariana, who is from Colombia, about his hometown’s progressive past and international experiences. He also shared that his politics leaned to the left, which seemed to ease his concerns.

Sam, who works in public affairs, said he’s spent time in Cuba and Mexico and dreams of going to Medellín, Colombia one day. This intrigued Mariana because when she moved to the United States at the age of 5, many people “considered Colombia a dangerous place”. She lived in Maryland and Texas before moving to DC last year and started working as a paralegal at a civil rights firm. “I made an assumption but realized we were actually very similar,” Mariana told me.

The topic of dating in DC came up and they both revealed that they use Hinge. Sam immediately thought, “I bet we match.” Mariana pulled out her phone to check the facts and, sure enough, there was a thread between them that had gone cold a few weeks earlier. Once Mariana showed him her profile, he immediately remembered her. Sam “playfully called her to have her ghosted”. They had a good laugh about it and she apologized.

The conversation turned to travel, and they discovered that they had studied in France at the same time, Sam in Paris and Mariana in Provence. Mariana shared her plans to travel to the City of Light with her mother after their 2020 trip was canceled.

Keeping with the international theme of the conversation, Mariana ordered an Under the Colombian Sun cocktail with vodka and lemon. Sam bravely ordered a Conejito – despite his rusty Spanish skills – made with rum and lime. The attempt earned him a bit of ribbing from Mariana. A grilled avocado with a side of fries was thrown into the mix. Mariana said she wasn’t very hungry, so she just ordered empanadas while Sam had the burger. He offered Mariana a bite of his steak. Later he reflected, “I don’t think she realized she ate half my steak.”

They discussed pop culture and Sam shared that he was a movie buff. “Are you a Scorsese fan?” Mariana questioned him cautiously. She had several boyfriends who forced her to watch classic Tarantino and Scorsese movies. She’s not thrilled to see “Kill Bill” again. She shared that the animated family hit “Zootopia” is more her style of film. “I love movies where animals do human things,” Mariana explained. He excitedly shared that his favorite movie is “Ratatouille” (this preference was confirmed in his Date Lab app, so he wasn’t just trying to score points with it).

After four drinks each, they were still having a great time. As the Royal approached closing time, they paid the bill and rode Sam’s bike down the street to Maxwell Park, a wine bar. Mariana admitted that she liked to walk around and chat and she enjoyed the second part of the evening. Sam eagerly tossed around several second date ideas based on things they had previously discussed: watching “Zootopia”, planning activities for Paris, taking a margarita tour of the city. “We’re ready to love nine second date ideas!” Mariana exclaimed. Once their bottle of rosé was finished, they thought it was time to stop.

Being the Southern gentleman that he is, Sam offered to walk Mariana home and she accepted. They were both a little shy about how things ended. I feel like there’s more to the story. For now, Sam has simply stated that he wants there to be a second date without the world watching.

Marianne: 4.75 [out of 5]. “I’ve never had a 5 out of 5 date, but it was a great date.”

Sat : 5. “Perfect! I wish I could give him more points.

They’re still dating and still on the hunt for the perfect DC margarita.

Damona Hoffman is a certified dating coach and host of the “Dates & Mates” podcast.

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

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