When Daniel Makitka tells friends that he lives in Ashburn Village, they ask him why.
Makitka doesn't fit the profile of Ashburn's most visible demographic: families with young children. For a single guy in his 30s, Ashburn Village doesn't seem to have the hopping night life of Arlington or Washington, D.C.
So Makitka, who works for a Reston food services contractor, made a resolution to make Ashburn the single-friendly place he knew it was. There are already married couple bowling teams. Now it's the singles' turn to organize.
"It would be nice to have a living and breathing group in the suburbs," he said.
Through the popular Web site Meetup.com, Makitka met Casey Lloyd, another Ashburn Village resident who became his partner in founding Ashburn Village Singles Group.
The group has hosted two happy hours at Kirkpatrick's Irish Pub so far. The response was strong, and Lloyd, an executive assistant, is eager to start planning dinners, trips to wineries and more.
"Now that it's spring, there's going to be a lot to do," she said.
The Connection sat down with Makitka, Lloyd and listened in as they discussed life as a single in the 'burbs.
Makitka: What's your favorite first date spot in the area?
Lloyd: I prefer a public area where we can meet where there's something to talk about. Dinner theaters are good. I don't even mind a movie and something afterwards because if you're not getting along you can at least talk about the movie. No long walks in the park, none of that.
Makitka: What are the three most important qualities you look for in a guy?
Makitka: Top three.
Lloyd: I guess I want someone sincere. I want someone who makes me feel at ease. And easy on the eyes doesn't hurt. But that's not a requirement.
Makitka: Best place to meet single girls in the 'burbs.
Lloyd: I hang out at the gas station, the grocery store. I walk my dog a lot.
Makitka: Gas station. I'm going to write this down. This is a great dating tip. Where are you comfortable having a guy approach you is maybe a better question.
Lloyd: Public area with something to talk about. Gas station fills both those requirements. "Can you believe the price of gas?" .... What's your favorite first date spot?
Makitka: My favorite first date spot.
Lloyd: You're asking a girl out and you say, hey let's go do this ...
Makitka: I actually would prefer a little bit more quiet — you mentioned public, which is interesting given the safety factor....
Lloyd: So if you're asking me out, you'd say, "Hey Casey,"...
Makitka: I would think a winery in the country.
Lloyd: Romantic type.
Makitka: Exactly. A winery in the country, Tarara. Chitchatting over a glass of wine.
Lloyd: I say that's fine. That meets both my qualifications .... So, is kissing on the first date OK?
Makitka: It depends on how long the date goes.
Lloyd: What if it's standard movie, dinner, no dessert?
Makitka: I've had great first dates that's lasted an entire day. You meet somewhere, you have a fantastic time, you go out to dinner.
Lloyd: So if it's like a three-hour date —
Makitka: I don't want to put a time limit on it. It's what type of connection you had on a first date, and usually that's a function of time.
Lloyd: What are the three most important qualities you look for in a girl?
Makitka: Hmm. I would have to say trust, No. 1. Compassion and consideration would be No. 2. Probably communication. Those three.
Lloyd: That's all very nice. What's the best place to meet single girls in the 'burbs?
Makitka: I would have to say that's a tough one. I'd have to say local happy hours. Local happy hours and maybe even grocery stores. Grocery stores are great, especially when you see a single lady walking around with not a grocery cart, but a basket. A lot of people shop for one and that's a good opportunity to strike up a conversation.
Lloyd: You know so many people love their first date being shopping, whether it be the grocery store, the liquor store. That is their favorite date, shopping — for something normal. ... Have you done any online dating?
Makitka: Actually the girl I'm dating right now I met on Match [.com].
Lloyd: What's better, quantity or quality on dating?
Makitka: I hate to tell you, but you have to go through quantity to get to quality. You really do. I've had situations where the girl shows up and doesn't match the picture, I've had situations where the girl will show up with wedding rings and forget to take them off. I've had all these situations and basically I'm a gentlemen and I'll put money down for my drink and if she wants a drink that's fine, and I'm walking away. I'm done.
Lloyd: No time.
Makitka: I don't have time. That's rule No. 1. No trust, no relationship.... I've been through the whole Match thing.
Lloyd: That online thing made me very uneasy.
Makitka: It is what it is.
Lloyd: It's a great way to meet a lot of people.
Makitka: It is, but you have to get through a lot of bad dates.
Lloyd: It gets tiring. When do you call it a bad date? You can know by drinks?
Makitka: Usually, first date is always happy hour date. Especially on Match, when you've never really met them before, never talked to them before. That way it can be, you can sit and have a drink, and you can be cordial, and after an hour —
Lloyd: You can have dinner if it's cool or be like, "I have to go walk the dog."
Makitka: A great first date could be dinner, drinks, next thing you know you're at a theater. A first date can last a long time, or it can last 20 minutes, or it can be five seconds and you're like, "Isn't that a wedding ring on?"
Lloyd: I cannot believe they would do that.
Makitka: That happens.
Lloyd: I cannot believe that.
Makitka: That happens. Forty percent of people lie on their resume. What makes Match any different?
Lloyd: And here I've been telling the truth like a sucker.
Makitka: There you go. Nice people always finish last. But in the end, you're gonna win.
Lloyd: I hope so.
Makitka: Next question. This is getting good.
To learn more about Ashburn Village Singles Group, visit socialnetwork.meetup.com/144 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.