Both had put “tall” on their Date Lab wish list, and, still, up until he walked in and saw Mike standing at a respectable 6-foot-2, the 6-3 Trent was anxiously wondering, “Is The Washington Post’s definition of tall different than mine? Their waiter had to come back a few times before they’d stopped chatting long enough to consider their orders. Queso with chorizo for Mike.) Probably the most significant thing that Mike and Trent share is that they’re both from the Midwest.
The Midwest, as Mike reminded me, is quite a big place, so it’s not like a guy from Detroit and another from Kansas City are necessarily going to connect on all fronts.
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Mike Kelly, a marketing consultant, and Trent Buatte, a self-professed “international law nerd,” had plenty in common, at least on the surface. Mike arrived first and settled at the bar with a glass of wine.
One initial point of overlap: By the time they’d signed up for Date Lab, both had run the gamut of online dating and were suffering from what Trent calls “app fatigue.” We sent them to El Centro D. (Though he’d been to the restaurant before, he somehow managed to be overdressed.
But, they are so good and expressive when they are teaching you, that by the end of the week, I understood almost all of their lessons.
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“I was definitely interested,” said Mike, “but it was hard to read whether or not he was.” Trent was interested, but he was also “pretty nervous.” Instead of making his desires known explicitly, “I did what I typically do, which is a really awkward hug.” While Trent held back, however, Mike said exactly what he wanted.
“It was not the typical ‘I’ll call you,’ ” Trent remembers.
When that was over, and they were standing outside on the sidewalk, things got a little trickier.