Date Lab: Two People with a Passion for Politics and a North Carolina Connection

Kai Thompson, 24, graduate student, and Deondre Jones, 24, public policy researcher. (Daniele Seiss)

Kai Thompson, a 24-year-old graduate student, and Deondre Jones, a 24-year-old public policy researcher, are D.C. newcomers who have progressive outlooks. Both have connections to North Carolina. (He grew up there; she attended school there.) He has a “ton of hobbies,” including longboarding, playing guitar and writing, and she enjoys bike rides, stand-up comedy and long conversations, so things looked promising. They whiled away the evening at Sette Osteria near Dupont Circle.

Deondre: I got there first, but I was still around 10 minutes late. And I was worried because that’s definitely not a good look to be late. The Yellow Line was out, as usual.

Kai: We were both late, though.

Deondre: I actually [searched her first name on] Facebook and I filtered it to Washington, and the first person that popped up turned out to be her. At the time I obviously didn’t know it was going to be her, but I just looked at her profile and I was like, I feel The Washington Post would set me up with someone like this. So I was halfway expecting that person to walk in, and that person did walk in. I wasn’t surprised to see her, but I was surprised that I got it right, if that makes sense.

Kai: He dressed nicer than I did for this. I wore a T-shirt dress and a jean jacket, and he wore a button-down and khakis. I don’t think he was someone that I would just talk to in a bar or something, but if he started talking to me first I definitely would continue talking to him. He’s not unattractive, just probably different than I would pick for myself. I like his haircut. He has a cute face.

Deondre: She describes herself as being from Michigan by way of North Carolina by way of Michigan. We definitely bonded over the North Carolina deal. She was living in Asheville, where she went to school. And that’s a city that I’ve visited a lot.

Kai: We’re both really interested in policy, and that’s why we’re here [in Washington]. I’m working on a master’s degree in public policy, and he’s here on a fellowship for an NGO that does policy research.

Deondre: I work in hunger and food insecurity policy, which is actually her passion; that’s where she wants to be. And she is very dedicated to learning more about that. She described herself as an academic, which is something that I admire because I definitely don’t consider myself to be an academic. I was very eager to get out of school.

Kai: It got kind of deep when we were talking about our families. I told him that my dad passed away when I was younger. And he told me that he was really raised by his grandparents. Getting to know things that I don’t know about some of my friends on the first date was pretty memorable to me.

Deondre:We bonded over the lack of Southern charm in D.C. Your pace of life is a lot quicker. We had similar political ideologies. We’re both very liberal, which isn’t a hard thing to find in D.C. That’s kind of a baseline for me. We were able to have discourse about politics in America, and it didn’t result in a fight, even though we weren’t necessarily exactly on the same page. We bonded over both being people of color and being “woke” for lack of a better term.

Kai: I was definitely ready to make a love connection, but I really feel like we could be really, really tight friends. He feels like somebody I could talk to about very serious things. But I don’t know if I’m interested in dating him necessarily. But I want to hang out with him again. He’s a really cool person. I didn’t particularly feel that he thought that I was a romantic candidate for him either.

Deondre: We stayed at the restaurant until it closed. She opted to call it a night, but she said that she wanted to give me her number. Before we [left] I said, “I’d love to see you again,” and she said [yes].

Kai:I think we would probably hang out again. Maybe in a group with other people.

Deondre: 4.3 [out of 5]. I could definitely see myself dating her.

Kai: 3. I’d like to see if there’s any potential for building something.

They’ve texted briefly and plan to hang out in the coming weeks.

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