For four years Mari Andrew has lived– and more importantly dated– in Washington, DC.
Originally from Seattle, Washington Mari moved to the District to pursue a career as an illustrator and writer. By day she works as a marketer, but her Instagram account has captured her dating and networking woes in crayon and perfectly placed puns.
At 29, she considers herself a serial dater and self-proclaimed expert on what women want.
On Dating in DC
“Because DC is a young city with a lot of ambitious people, the culture of dating is really energetic and dynamic,” says Mari. “I don’t ever feel like there’s any shortage of people who want to go out and meet each other.”
“However, just like any city where Tinder dominates the dating world, I think everyone is aware of how many options they have at any given time. That makes it a lot less appealing to commit to one person and it’s also so easy to be flakey and just let something fizzle after a couple dates, even if it’s going well.”
“And, just like any city where young people have a lot going on–career-wise and socially–people here are preoccupied. I don’t know any single people in DC who feel like there’s some huge empty space in their life that needs to be filled by a romantic partner. On the contrary, single people probably wonder where a boyfriend/girlfriend would even fit into their life. I can usually squeeze in only one date a week for that reason, which makes it pretty hard to maintain a relationship.”
On Finding Love
“I’ve seen [love] happen here,” says Mari. “So I believe it’s possible. I’ve met some wonderful guys here and I’ve had lovely relationships in DC. It’s a beautiful city with an awesome nightlife and it can be a very romantic and fun place to fall in love.”
On Being Impressed
“I’m very impressed when a guy can show me something new. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring DC and dating in DC, so sometimes it feels like I’ve had the same date 20 times.”
“Same bars, same drinks, same conversations. I’m dazzled when someone can either introduce me to a place I’ve never been before, or something on the menu I’ve never heard of, or at least take the conversation in a direction beyond ‘How many siblings do you have?’ and ‘Do you like to travel?’
On Dating Around the World
“I’ve dated in Chicago, Baltimore, and South America. Maybe it’s because I was younger and poorer, but those places seemed to have a more laid-back dating culture.”
“In Chicago, I remember going on dates like doing graffiti on the train tracks, going to experimental art galleries, dancing at 80s-themed bars, making nachos, and smuggling them into a movie theatre.”
“My friends from home in Seattle are always going hiking on dates. In DC, dating seems much more straight-to-the-point. First date: low-key dive bar drinks. Second date: nicer bar. Third date: nicer bar with some kind of food element. It’s sophisticated and predictable. I think other cities just tend to attract more creative, laid-back people, and therefore inspire more creative, laid-back dates. I’m not complaining, though; drink dates are way less pressure than the alternatives! Going hiking on a date sounds torturous.”
On What Women Want
“I’m very into the idea of people giving each other their numbers on pieces of paper, a la the 90s.”
On How NOT to Offend Her
“I do not like coffee dates at all. I don’t understand the timeline of a coffee date; I feel like they could potentially last hours, with no good cut-off (unlike drinks, where you say ‘want another one?’ if it’s going well, or ‘should we close out?’ if it’s not).”
“Also, I really don’t understand the coffee date at night. It’s lame to order decaf, but I also want to get some sleep! And how are you supposed to dress? Just none of it makes sense. I always assume it’s because the guy didn’t know if he liked me enough to throw down some cash.”
“I also get very confused when the guy doesn’t pay on the first date. I’m a feminist through and through, but that’s a very easy way to establish that this is a romantic date and not a friendship get-together. Also, men have no idea how much money women spend on looking good for a date, so the least they could do is buy my Pinot Noir.”
“Men have no idea how much money women spend on looking good for a date, so the least they can do is buy my Pinot Noir.”
“Other things that offend me: when guys spend time talking about how boring DC is, or how much they dislike it–to me, that’s a sign that they haven’t spent time exploring. Also, if we’re on a date, don’t bring up your exes and don’t be rude to the waitstaff. Most important, DO NOT underdress.”