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20 Fabulous Singles
They’re smart, funny, successful, and available—for now. By Ann Limpert, Garrett M. Graff
Comments () | Published July 1, 2006

You hear it all the time: “Washington is a hard place to date. Everyone’s married. Or a lawyer.

We found it easy to buck that stereotype. We heard about hundreds of fascinating (at least on paper) bachelors and bachelorettes. The hard part was winnowing down the list, but we chose 20 who turned our heads.

Smart? Check. Witty? Yes. Cute? Definitely. Lawyer? Okay, we have a couple, but one spends his free time practicing Japanese swordsmanship and throwing swank dinner parties while the other is a laid-back gal who favors Mexican yoga retreats and strolling the city with her golden retriever.

The others on the list include a chef with matinee-idol looks and a taste for Steinbeck, a bubbly rabbi who’s as comfortable in the Costa Rican jungle as she is in front of Congress, and a theater director who’d rather whisk you off on safari than spend a first date at the movies.

You never know whom you might meet in the pages of a magazine. If one of them catches your eye, e-mail him or her at eligibles@washingtonian.com.

Eric Schaeffer, 43

Job: Founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre in Arlington. Education: BFA from Kutztown University. Hometown: Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. Now lives in the Lacey Forrest section of Arlington and Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: I took a bush pilot and landed on top of Mount McKinley in Alaska. Or the time I had brunch with Fred and Liza. Favorite date spot: I’m still waiting to discover it, though nothing beats a Cher concert. Pets: Just the birds in my garden. How would you spend a lazy Sunday? At work. Monday is my day off. Where do you like to meet people? I have to depend on friends. There aren’t enough gay men in this line of work. Deal breakers: Dishonesty. Dream date: On safari in Africa, drinking a gin and tonic. 

Amanda Walke, 29

Job: Primary examiner at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Education: BS in chemistry from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hometown: Havre de Grace, Maryland. Now lives in Arlington. Hobbies: Scuba diving, dancing, and working out. I’m also active in the Junior League. Dream date: Road-tripping to Chapel Hill, then having dinner and drinks at Top of the Hill and going to a UNC-Duke basketball game. Deal breaker: A guy who doesn’t know the difference between a touchback and a touchdown. Coolest thing you’ve done in the last year: Last fall, I met a Supreme Court justice at a dinner, and somehow we ended up discussing the latest fashion trends. Last book you read: The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Shortcomings: I tend to be pretty stubborn. But while I may not be swayed by them one bit, I really make an effort listen to other’s opinions. 

France Hoang, 32

Job: Attorney and clerk for a DC Circuit judge. Education: BS in management from the US Military Academy at West Point; masters in criminal justice from Washburn University; JD from Georgetown. Hometown: Born in Saigon, Vietnam, and grew up in Tumwater, Washington. Now lives in Alexandria. Hobbies: Lately, I’ve been teaching Japanese swordsmanship, hosting dinner parties, and chairing a new community board to help Alexandria prepare for disasters. Dream date: With the right person, simply waiting for the Metro can be perfect. Deal breakers: Selfishness, inflexibility, dishonesty, and an inability to appreciate Ben’s Chili Bowl. Proudest achievement: As a 22-year-old second lieutenant in the Army fresh from Ranger School, I led a platoon of soldiers on a nine-month peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. I left with 32 soldiers and came home with 32 soldiers. Hidden talents: When I was in the fifth grade, I read volumes A through R of the World Book Encyclopedia for fun. To this day, I’m a rock star on trivia topics as long as they don’t begin with the letters S through Z. Favorite hangouts: My latest favorite is Rustico in Alexandria. And Pho 75 serves heaven in a bowl. 

Beverly Kirk, 39

Job: Anchor on NewsChannel 8. Education: BA in history and broadcasting from Western Kentucky University; masters in international politics from the University of Kentucky. Hometown: Burkesville, Kentucky. Now lives in Arlington. Dream date: One that’s filled with great conversation, humor, and company and leaves me looking forward to the next date. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: Riding in the cockpit of a C-130 and getting to remain there while landing in Barbados. The pilot’s-eye view as we approached the island was awesome. Hobbies: Reading—I collect books—and traveling, tennis, and pilates. Last book you read: Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington. How would you spend a lazy Sunday? I love exercising my mind, body, and spirit during long walks along the Potomac. I’m also a sports fan, so I like attending Redskins or Wizards games. Favorite date spot: Wolf Trap. Are you ready to settle down? Settle? Who wants to settle? 

Eric L. Motley, 33

Job: Director of State Department’s Office of International Visitors. Education: BA in political science and philosophy from Samford University; masters in international relations and PhD in political philosophy from University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama. Now lives in Georgetown. Dream date: An evening of lively conversation with a woman who is self-confident, authentic, and at ease with herself. Deal breakers: A person who is posing. A person who is seeking an audience rather than a conversation. Proudest achievement: Being the first in my family to attend college. Coolest thing you’ve done in the last year: After almost five years on the White House staff, I had the privilege of bringing together several personal mentors for a visit with President and Mrs. Bush. What’s your dating life been like? I am trying to be much less reserved. I have some wonderful friends who have made matchmaking suggestions, but I am fairly cautious. What kind of future are you looking for? For all of the rewards of living in Georgetown, you just cannot hear crickets. I love the conveniences of city life, but I also long for the quiet of nature. I would love nothing more than to have children with whom to discuss crickets, sunrises, and the problem of good and evil. 

Elisabeth Noone, fifties

Job: Actress and voice-over performer. Education: BA in French literature and language from Barat College in Illinois. Trained in theater under Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. Hometown: Chicago. Now lives in DC’s Wesley Heights. Most interesting trips you’ve taken: I love France. And Tibet was fascinating. Hobbies: Photography is a favorite. I’m also writing a play. Favorite date spot: The Willard Hotel, and Tony and Joe’s on the waterfront for Sunday brunch is delightful. How do you usually meet people? I just go outside. Get in an elevator. Go to a bookstore. Go to the theater. Take a walk. It just happens when someone is open to meeting new people. 

Rob Sholars, 24

Job: Junior associate in crisis communication and litigation at APCO Worldwide, a public-affairs firm. Education: BA in international affairs and political economy from Lewis & Clark College. Hometown: Mendocino, California. Now lives in DC’s Logan Circle. Dream date: I’m sort of an anti-dater. I feel like dates are often too structured, so I generally take women to events that generate discussion—a new exhibit, one of the many great jazz bars along U Street. Deal breakers: No downers. And I find it difficult to relate to anyone who doesn’t like animals. Where do you like to hang out? Busboys and Poets makes me feel like I’m back on the West Coast. Also, the West Building of the National Gallery and the Corcoran. Last book you read: I just finished No God but God, an examination of the Islamic faith. What are you looking for in a mate? It’s important to be with a woman who knows what she wants but also seeks out new experiences. Someone who enjoys the large, important moments in life and the inconsequential, fun moments. Good taste in music doesn’t hurt either. What good is a life soundtrack if it’s all Top 40? 

Maria Barraza, 25

Job: Consul of Colombia in Washington. Education: BS in international studies and international economics from American University. Hometown: Cartagena, Colombia. Now lives in DC’s Penn Quarter. Worst date: Ladies, like gentlemen, shouldn’t have a memory. Favorite hangouts: Rumba Café on Fridays—the live band and mojitos can get anyone in the right mood. Also the Juan Valdez Café in Penn Quarter. There is nothing like a good Colombian coffee. Last movie you saw: Lately I’ve been into Hitchcock movies such as Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, and Notorious . How would you spend a lazy Sunday? It would start with watching the morning news, as always, and then going to brunch with friends. If the weather is nice I’d go to Alexandria or Georgetown for a long walk. Would you ever go on a blind date? I did it once, and it worked for two years. 

Kate Searby, 24

Job: Corporate-communications intern at Edelman public relations Education: BA in history from Duke. Hometown: Atherton, California (a suburb of San Francisco). Now lives in DC’s Adams Morgan. Dream date: Hiking or sailing on a beautiful day and ending somewhere outdoors chatting over a bottle of wine. Deal breaker: Men who are rude to the waiter or parking-lot attendant will never get a second date. Worst date: I knew this one was doomed when I was telling this guy about the fantastic book I had just finished and he looked at me blankly and said, “Yeah, I don’t really read . . . anything.” What are you looking for in a mate? Someone with a big heart who cares about others and works to make his community and the world a better place. A mate that would join the Peace Corps with me and go to Latin America or Africa would be awesome. Proudest achievement: Completing a nine-day trek—with a giant backpack—in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. Favorite date spot: I love the ambience at Chi-Cha Lounge, especially in the back rooms. You can really hear and get to know the person while eating delicious Cuban food and listening to a range of music.

Mike Allen, 41

Job: White House correspondent for Time magazine. Education: BA in politics and journalism from Washington & Lee University. Hometown: Rossmoor, California. Now lives in Northwest DC. Hobbies: Spending time with the fantastic and inspiring kids of the Daybreak program in Lincoln Heights in Northeast DC. The kids are “the mug,” as they would say. They explained to me that it’s good to be “the mug.” Dream date: A Saturday-night worship service followed by a rooftop candlelit dinner. Deal breakers: Selfishness. Last movie you saw: I saw the Al Gore documentary and Thank You for Smoking the same day. Fair and balanced. Shortcomings: That’s an essay question. 

Amy Overton, 36

Job: Director of government and industry relations, Fannie Mae. Education: BA in international studies from Emory; JD from Catholic University. Hometown: Dallas. Now lives in DC’s Dupont Circle. Dream date: Good food, good wine, and lots of laughter. Or we could fly to Rome and get pizza—that would be cool. Deal breakers: Men who are insecure. Also, they have to like my golden retriever; it’s a package deal. The coolest thing you’ve ever done: I was one of the lawyers on a team that represented a witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings. A close second was gliding down a mountain in Costa Rica on a zip line. Hidden talent: I make excellent guacamole. Favorite date spot: Montmartre on Capitol Hill or Cashion’s Eat Place in Adams Morgan. Would you ever go on a blind date? I’ve been on about 20 in the past year. I’m thinking of writing a book on dating do’s and don’ts. 

Joui Hessel, 32

Job: Associate rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation. Education: BS in education from the University of Georgia; dual masters in Hebrew letters and Jewish education from Hebrew Union College; a Rabbinic ordination. Hometown: Miami. Now lives in DC’s Woodley Park Hobbies: Exploring new parts of the city with friends, playing on a softball team, sudoku, and reading. And I love to travel. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: Zip-lining across the top of a jungle in Costa Rica and offering the opening prayer at Congress. Coolest thing you did in the last year: I attended the Live 8 concert in Moscow’s Red Square. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to dating? I’m a single, Jewish woman who’s five-foot-eight. It makes it harder to find attractive, funny, successful, smart, and tall Jewish men. Hidden talent: I can mime. Are you ready to settle down? I don’t think of it as settling down. I’ve been single too long to “settle.” I view it as I’m in the right time to find my besheret—in Hebrew it means “destined partner.” I am ready to share my life’s adventure, not to stop it. 

Matt Henry, 27

Job: Director of basketball operations at Georgetown University. Education: BA in urban studies from Trinity University in Texas. Hometown: Alexandria. Now lives in Glover Park. Hobbies: Cooking, running, and reading about African history, urban affairs, and travel narratives. Favorite hangouts: Bourbon in Glover Park, Café Saint-Ex, 2 Amys, and Kramerbooks. What are you looking for in a mate? Someone who will make me laugh. She must be intelligent and interested in the world so that we can have great conversations about culture, people, and politics. She must have a great heart, and she must be beautiful to me. Deal breakers: Kids and tattoos. Sorry, Britney. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: Camping in the Serengeti while traveling in Tanzania. 

Taylor Griffin, 30

Job: Senior vice president at the Financial Services Forum. Education: BA in political science from Appalachian State University. Hometown: Wilson, North Carolina. Now lives in downtown DC. Hobbies: I’m a huge music fan. I help manage a rock band called Gone by June, and I only wish the 9:30 Club had a season pass. Worst date: That’s between me and Anna Nicole Smith. What are you looking for in a mate? In a word, grace. Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly—they were beautiful and stylish but also clever and good-humored with a mischievous glint. A rare find in this age of Britney Spears. Favorite book: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. A heartbreaking, beautiful, wrenching, alive, and completely engrossing masterpiece. Favorite date spot: Mendocino Grill. Are you ready to settle down? I plead the fifth. 

Amy Holmes, 32

Job: Speechwriter for Senate majority leader Bill Frist Education: BA in economics from Princeton University. Hometown: Seattle. Now lives in DC’s Kalorama. Dream date: I’ve been lucky to go on some whirlwind dates with elaborate travel. But one of my best dates was right here in Washington during the February blizzard. Very romantic. Favorite hangout: Sette is perfect for a casual dinner al fresco. Proudest achievement: Forgiving my ex-boyfriend. Favorite date spot: I just had a very lovely date kayaking on the Potomac. Would you ever go on a blind date? Sure, why not. We’re meeting in a public place. Shortcomings: Let’s leave a little mystery. Finding out is half the fun.

Barton Seaver, 27

Job: Chef at Cafe Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar. Education: St. Albans, associate’s from the Culinary Institute of America. Hometown: Grew up in DC’s Mount Pleasant. Now lives in Columbia Heights. Dream date: I’m a big fan of going to shows—at the Studio and Shakespeare theaters or Blues Alley. Then we’d go have Champagne. What are you looking for in a mate? Confidence, concern for the environment and other people, intelligence, and joie de vivre. Deal breakers: Smoking and jealousy. Last movie you saw: I sat through half of King Kong and walked out. I don’t really like movies, and I don’t own a TV. Your favorite book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx because of the enormity of emotion and the purity of the relationships. Hidden talent: I was an avid singer when I was younger. Now I just sing to my sous chefs, and they think it’s weird. How would you spend a lazy Sunday? I’d go to an early-morning Spinning class, then the Dupont Circle farmers market, brunch at Tabard Inn, and then a mix of reading, walks, and naps. Favorite date spot: The bar at Cashion’s Eat Place.

Daniel Brindley, 27

Job: Co-owner of Jammin’ Java, a music club/coffeehouse in Vienna; singer, bassist, and keyboardist in the Brindley Brothers. Education: BA in music from Rutgers. Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey. Now lives in Fairfax. What are you looking for in a mate? I need beauty inside and out. Someone who doesn’t pretend that life is simple or easy—that it works itself out like a Hollywood movie. When I find a girl, I will help her become a better person, and she will do the same for me. Deal breakers: People with no edge or no direction. Coolest thing you’ve done in the last year: I caught Slash’s guitar pick when he threw it into a crowd at a Velvet Revolver show. Hidden talents: I’m such a music geek that most people don’t know that I had the option of playing baseball in college. I still love going to the batting cages. How would you spend a lazy Sunday? I usually spend Sundays recovering from Saturday night. 

Sarah Hayes, 29

Job: Principal of KIPP DC: KEY Academy. Education: BA in public policy from Brown University. Hometown: Atlanta. Now lives in Trinidad in Northeast Washington. Hobbies: Fixing up my house, going to the dog park, riding my bike, playing pool, camping, going to baseball games, and fishing. Worst date: Dates involving state troopers, drunk Republicans, BB guns, or all of the above. Deal breakers: Toupees and wives. Hidden talents: Sewing, growing tomatoes, water-skiing, and losing my keys. Shortcomings: I’m stubborn, and I work all the time. What do you hope for? I want to live in the city but have a place either near water or in the woods so my kids can grow up playing in streams and getting dirty. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: Camping on the rim of an active volcano on the Aeolian Islands in southern Italy. Favorite date spot: Harris Crab House in Kent Narrows or eating soft-shell crab sandwiches on the Southwest waterfront. 

Tom Manatos, 26

Job: Adviser to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Education: Bethesda’s Walt Whitman High School; BS in communication from Cornell University. Hometown: Bethesda. Now lives in Glen Echo. Hobbies: Football, kickball, basketball, hanging out with my friends and family, and Maryland politics. Dream date: A Redskins game with a girl who would enjoy it as much as I would. Deal breakers: Dallas Cowboys fans and smokers. Pet: A beagle namedWilner. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: Paragliding in Switzerland. Favorite movie: Elf . Will Ferrell is the funniest guy ever. Shortcomings: My grandmothers tell me I don’t have any. Favorite date spot: Anywhere on the waterfront. 

Katia Diba, forties

Job: Architect. Education: BS in architecture from Lawrence Technical Institute in Michigan. Hometown: Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in France and Belgium. Now lives in Bethesda. Favorite hangouts: I tend to steer clear of bar scenes. I like bookstores, small coffeehouses, art galleries, museums, and the scenic outdoors. Deal breakers: Smokers, addicts, cheaters, cheap tippers, selfish people, the dishonest, the close-minded, and know-it-alls. What do you hope for? A calm and quiet life with a kid or two. I also believe one should leave some room to chance and have faith that two loving and mature individuals would be able to shape their future together. Coolest thing you’ve ever done: I crashed a wedding reception with a bunch of girlfriends in Newport Beach. Proudest achievement: Having been involved in the design of a couple of large-scale castles in far east Asia. Last book you read: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Shortcomings: Although I love to meet people, I tend to be very shy at first. I have a soft spot for the underdog, and at times I’m too emotional for my own good. Would you ever go on a blind date? Only if I trust the source.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 07/01/2006 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles