He’s young – 24 – and spent his time building an influencer marketing business. He is also learning Italian and has started playing tennis. What Ogo hasn’t had is a lot of long-term relationships. The longest was on and off for about two years when he lived in Los Angeles, but he never found his own there. So he moved to the nation’s capital at the end of 2020 because “all my cousins who live in the United States live in DC”
He applied for Date Lab after a conversation about dating with a friend who works at the newspaper. “I’ve never had a blind date, which seems more difficult with the internet [because] you can research people now. Not knowing seems kinda funny.
Her date, Jana, hasn’t had many long-term relationships either. The 23-year-old was in college outside of Boston when the pandemic started and says it made dating more difficult. “The pandemic has really delayed that for me…and coming out of that, I just haven’t been around much.”
After landing her second post-college job, she moved this spring to DC from New York, where she did public relations for a financial services company. “I didn’t like this job and I started looking around and took this job in the Defense of Change business, and they finally said, ‘We need you to come to DC,’ so here I am!”
Jana applied for Date Lab because her roommates encouraged her, but she also thought it would be a good way to start dating in a new city. She’s not looking for love but not not looking for love either. “I’m in a place where I’m not fixated on anything but where the wind takes me,” she explained.
Jana took an Uber to El Chucho in Columbia Heights, and when she got there, Ogo was sitting at the bar having a snack. “My very first impression was that he was wearing a very vibrant outfit and he was already eating,” Jana said. “He wore a scarf over his head. He was wearing purple pants that happened to be corduroy in the 100 degree temperature. It was obviously organized.
Yes, Ogo was wearing purple pants and, yes, they were hot. But they weren’t corduroy. “I had been gone for two weeks, so I took all my good outfits with me, and I had worn pretty much everything,” he said, adding that he had flown to DC late the night before the meeting and that it was Homme Plissé Issey. Miyake fluid pants. “The outfit I had on wasn’t exactly ideal, but I was already counting that I was going to sweat…and I didn’t have any shorts on.”
As for his first impression of Jana, Ogo was surprised to find out during the date that she was 23 years old. “She kind of gave a little bit of an older vibe,” he said. “I thought she was 26 or 27.”
They took their photos of Date Lab, then headed up to the roof where they said the conversation flowed. “We talked about his work [and] the cyclical nature of influencer popularity,” Jana said. They also talked about his travels, his dad who is a chef and his love of food, and how they both find the kids funny and have spent time nurturing and nurturing them. Plus, they found they shared the same ideas about life in DC: It’s all good. Very well.
This conversation happened as he sipped two margaritas and she worked on a Paloma, then moved on to a drink with vodka and hibiscus tea. They also ordered two sets of tacos (al pastor for Ogo, chicken and birria quesa for Jana) but didn’t share.
Once it got dark, Ogo noticed they were both yawning, so “I tried to read the room a bit,” he said. They went out and he asked for Jana’s phone number. “No one asks for numbers anymore; I don’t know, everyone is lame,” he said. “I like to open the line of communication.”
Jana shared her number but admitted there was no spark. “I felt like it was a very platonic ‘We’re in this weird situation together, we’ll make the most of it’ [vibe],” she said. Ogo thought Jana was cool, but no butterflies for him either – although he said he would be open to hanging out as friends.
Ogo texted after the date that a movie he was watching reminded him of a prank Jana had made, but the two have not been in contact since.
Tanya Ballard Brown is the editor of Government Executive and a comedian.
Editor’s Note: Due to privacy and security issuesDate Lab allows participants to be identified by their first names only.
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