Aaron is wearing a maroon T and skinny jeans and some glasses that are a stylistic choice. Sid is in a black dress.
Photo: The Guardian/Jill Mead/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Aaron and Sid

I turned 47 yesterday. Turned. Like milk. I don’t really care about being older – it’s pretty pointless to lament the passing of time, it certainly doesn’t slow the clocks – but I reckon on your birthday you have a duty to have a minor dramatic moment relating to your age going up by one. Perhaps a brief clutch at your face in mock horror, or rolling your new age round your tongue like you’re trying to tie a cherry stalk into a bow. 47, 47, 47. A mantra that doesn’t seem like it can be real. It can be a cleansing moment, so you can get on with the rest of your year, having acted out you mini crisis.

‘Oh that isn’t old,’ well-wishers might say, ‘you’re still young’ or ‘I’m much older’ but this is to miss the point. You, the main character in this birthday, the star of the show that is ‘your life’ are the one adding yet another candle to the precarious inferno atop your birthday sponge, not them – how can this be happening? Ageing, like tax rebates or identity theft, is something that happens to other people, not you, the ageless beauty who looks EXACTLY the same in the mirror every morning whereas all your peers are rocketing downhill and resemble the cast of Cocoon in ASOS separates. Well okay, maybe you look a bit more tired and your hair is snowier than Reykjavik in the January sales and, fair enough, your knees creak like a barn door every time you move but YOU? Up a number? No. Nonsense. Mind you, moaning about ageing is like being overly self-deprecating – it’s counter productive, and people get tired of it eventually. Anyway, age I did, yet managed to make it through the night to see a new day and this date featuring two young singletons at least two decades away from an existential crisis.

Both today’s contestants are support workers. Aaron is 25 and Sid is 28. Here they are in head-to-toe glory:

Aaron is wearing a maroon T and skinny jeans and some glasses that are a stylistic choice. Sid is in a black dress.
Photo: The Guardian/Jill Mead

– and a lovely selfie of the pair – then return here on Santa’s sleigh for a three-bird roast.

Aaron on Sid | Sid on Aaron
What were you hoping for?
A fun evening with drinks flowing, good company and good food.

You know what else flows don’t you? Conversation. A leaky washing machine into the flat below. Sewage. Piss. We must be careful what we wish for.

What were you hoping for?
To meet my husband.

I found the lack of the qualifying adjective ‘future’ in front of husband here quite jarring, and thought for a second that Sid had applied to Blind Date in some kind of ‘bored couple sex game role play’ and was hoping to be matched with her actual husband to try and put a bit of spice back into their marriage because, let’s face it, they’ll never sell that flat without putting in a new kitchen.

First impressions?
Very cute and pretty. Sid appeared a little shy at first, but we quickly got comfortable with each other.

Harry Styles winks

First impressions?
Gorgeous – he was wearing these glasses that gave off old-school Usher vibes.

I must admit I’m intrigued by these specs. The nineties are back and gripping us by the throat. I wasn’t going to mention them at all but Sid has gone there so here we are. Usher vibes! Yes, granted, although Usher was more of an aviator man. Mary J Blige, maybe. But also… Elton tbh. I think George Michael had a pair as well; maybe they gave them out in the Shadow Lounge.

Anyway, they are both fit and that is always aa good sign.

What did you talk about?
She told me about the time she got chucked off a plane, a story I found both interesting and absolutely hilarious.
A bit of everything really – he was really easy to talk to – but mainly our mutual love of EastEnders.

Chucked off a plane – To say I’m an edgy flyer would be an understatement. If someone yawns ten rows back midflight, I become convinced that exact timbre matches the sound of the wings falling off. If someone did something on a plane that warranted them being chucked off, I would have a breakdown. I’d be convinced it was ‘a sign’ that person was the main character in a disaster movie scenario and that my plane was destined to dive to the ground like a kingfisher swopping into an underwater Pret at midday. No. Please behave on planes.

EastEnders – soaps are on so much now aren’t they? Look, I could watch Letitia Dean’s sumptuous lipstick-smothered gob inexplicably quiver in anticipation at the sight of Phil Mitchell for literally days on end, but I struggle with so many hours of watching people try to overcome problems that seem to involve someone getting shot every three weeks. Coronation Street is the worst though. Audrey Roberts is holding that show together.

Most awkward moment?
Probably ordering two bottles of cava, because we weren’t paying – then learning that Aaron wasn’t much of a drinker.

Cava! Welcome back 2005! About time the sugary throat-rotting Prosecco was shown the door tbh. I’ve got some 0% Freixenet Rosé downstairs for Christmas Day (I gave up drinking alcohol three years ago); I’m very excited.

Good table manners?
Absolutely: she fed me and I fed her.

Oh to be a fly on the wall… I’d have had to kamikaze into one of their mouths just to stop it happening. Maybe Aaron and Sid are Sex People. Oh you know the ones, those amorous hornbags who try to make almost every action they do outside the bedroom sexy. They’re wrapped around each other in the bakery in the Big Asda, brandishing the Scan & Go gun like it’s a big stiff prick, and performing what tabloids would call a ‘lewd sex act’ on the éclairs. They wander round car boot sales, fingers intertwined, speaking in low come-to-bed voices, and calling each other ‘babe’ as they riffle through ’80s vinyl and pot dog ornaments. They’re in Argos, tapping the information screens like they’re smearing dollops of whipped cream on each other’s torsos, reading out product descriptions like they’re recording the audiobook for a product placement heavy reboot of Fifty Shades. They are the Sex People.

Best thing about Sid?
Very talkative. I could also tell that she has a really bright personality.

This is nice. Nice to be bright. Positivity is good. Or so I’ve read on the side of water bottles being chugged by people who refer to their dinners in terms of their representative food groups rather than the ingredients.

Best thing about Aaron?
His smile.

And again, lovely. Saying someone has a nice smile can be the kind of thing you say when you haven’t seen someone naked yet but are pretty sure you will, so… perhaps this is a spoiler alert.

Would you introduce Sid to your friends?
Yes, as long as she wouldn’t get them chucked off a flight to Venice.

a rainbow unfurling and crashing into a plane

Oh WHY was she chucked off this flight, I must know. And I demand all her future flight plans are tracked like **** ****’s private jet – let’s doxx her EasyJets to tertiary airports of major European cities! I don’t want one of my three flights a decade to be one of hers if she’s a regular unruly passenger! My hair is molto blanco as it is – I can’t risk going full Leland Palmer.

Would you introduce Aaron to your friends?
We actually FaceTimed my friend Eve during dinner.

This sounds an extremely un-fun development to me, a stegosaurus in M&S pyjamas, but I know that the under-30s generally walk around permanently on FaceTime, almost falling under trains and catching my bewildered face (in terrible lighting) on their screen as they yammer away about whatever has been going on with them (nothing, they’re in their twenties, nothing is happening, life is wholly unserious). So maybe this was OK. We need director’s cut commentary from Eve. However it’s important to remember that ‘there were three of us in this marriage’ never ends well. Do not wish a Netflix limited series and hysterical Facebook fan pages on your future children.

Describe Sid in three words.
Fun, interesting and confident.
Describe Aaron in three words.
Fun, confident and sexy.

We have a 2/3 match here! Unprecedented!

Fun, like USHER
Confident, like USHER
Sexy, like USHER
Interesting, like… errrr, watching a stag party trying to do the U-Turn (a dance and also an Usher no.16 ‘smash’ in 2002; for the record the best Usher song is ‘Caught Up’ but he is generally great)

Shame he called her interesting rather than sexy (not wanting to sound like a balloon-bollocked incel, I suppose) because he obviously thinks she is! And we’d have a full house.

What do you think Sid made of you?
I think she liked that I was very flirtatious and fun to be around.

I cannot remember the last time someone flirted on a Blind Date. Like, properly. Too often they’ve felt like a pre-breakfast Zoom with the Stuttgart office. Flirting! Go Aaron! Those Usher-esque specs – which look like they came free with a copy of SKY magazine with Anna Friel and an Appleton on the cover – are clearly magic specs that invoke the flirting powers of actual Usher!

What do you think Aaron made of you?
I’m not sure. I think he liked me.

Babe, he did.

Did you go on somewhere?
It was a school night, and since we both work with young people, we thought it was best to go home and meet up another time.
No, it was a school night.

The dreaded ‘school night’ is back!! Flirting, Usher, Cava – this is a very retrosexual evening. School night. It’s not a proper school night unless you went home, had your weekly bath, fretted slightly about the untouched Maths homework in your HEAD backpack, sat and told the dog all your problems, and went to sleep wondering what it would feel like if [NAME REDACTED] from Class [REDACTED] were to lick the back of your neck just once.

And … did you kiss?
Yes. I think it is always important to kiss on the first date, to really show your attraction to the other person.

james mcavoy licking his lips again

This is an extremely interesting answer and I don’t entirely disagree, so long as you’re both into it. (Which Sid seems to have been. Yay!)

And … did you kiss?
Ask Aaron.

There is something so gloriously old-fashioned (by which I mean turn-of-the-millennium, not the Steam Age) about these two and this date and I’m quite enjoying it, and them, and this general vibe of watching an edition of Top of the Pops in that era. Any minute now it’s like Missy Elliott is going to amble by in one of her big inflatable suits and then Caprice is going to be heard clearly saying to Jamie Theakston that she is 29, and one or two of Westlife will be sitting eating chips on a lime green sofa, and Martine McCutcheon will destroy her career by telling someone important to stop standing on her ‘bleeding dress’ and everything will smell like Bacardi Breezers and CK One.

Marks out of 10?
8. Feels weird to rate him, but it was a good date.

Hmmmm. A little on the low side if we got snogs, but it’s good to have somewhere to go from here. And I always reckon you’re not rating the person, but the experience, the evening. Or the kiss.

Would you meet again?
I’d be more than happy to.
I hope so …

usher saying watch this from the yeah video

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Something to remember about the review and the daters that I put at the end of every review

The comments I make are based on answers given by participants. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits answers to make the column work better on the page. Most things I say are riffing on the answers given and not judgements about the daters themselves, so please be kind to them in comments, replies, and generally on social media. Daters are under no obligation to get along for our benefit, or explain why they do, or don’t, want to see each other again, so please try not to speculate or fill our feeds with hate. If you’re one of the daters, get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story. Why the eights? What are you saving those two extra points for? (Like I don’t know, you adorable heathens.) And tell me the plane story!

One last thing: OMG Merry Christmas! Have fun. And thank you so much for reading and supporting me this year.


  1. Happy birthday for yesterday, younger-twin 😀
    I’m not sure if you’re into numbers, but 47 is great because it’s Prime! And I also turned a prime number so I’m actually happier to be older.
    I know, I’m (a bit) weird haha

    And you’re right, as well as a “Blind Date now” they should do a “6 months later” on every single couple that ever appeared in the column – that’s the most interesting bit for me 😉

  2. Don’t worry: you’re in your prime. (Little maths joke).

    However your knees may misbehave, your writing is forever young

    Thank you.

  3. That was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Thank you. And Happy Birthday-you’re only as old as you feel…. (as in 110 one day and 35 on another). White hair is sexy. Ask me. I’m not a beauty any longer but I get a compliment at least every other day for my hair. Ppl I never saw stop me to tell me how beautiful myane is. Make your Reykjavik look Yours.
    Have an enjoyable Christmas.

  4. I’ll bet these two have met again, repeatedly and vigorously, since this first date. There’s a spark there.

    Happy birthday! I have no memory whatsoever of being 47. I’m 54 now. Whatever!

    Facetiming a third party on a date: how dreadful. My worst date in my 20s in the 1990s- tho we were cool Gen Xers and didn’t call it a date- was where we smoked strong weed and went to see a revival of 1967’s Belle de Jour with Catherine Deneuve. Lincoln Center. I think my prospective amour had a panic attack and found a pay phone to summon this middle-aged geek friend to join us. Who I disliked immensely, and did nothing but bad-mouth the film (that I had chosen!) afterwards.

    Awful altogether! No third parties. I should have made it clearer, I thought it was a date. He did too, then.. switched? Suddenly it was a hangout? Yeah, that romance fizzled quick for sure, lol.

  5. Happy Birthday – five years, ten years after any birthday ‘number’ that gets you down you look back and think “If only I was x years old again” !

    This is a lovely date to read about at Christmas, and I wish them well.

    Thank you for this column – from the other side of the world! If I am ever feeling down I just read your “Lizzie and Tomas revisited” one, which never fails to bring me to tears, especially given the circumstances in the UK when the original was published.

  6. Can’t believe you let the remark about the 6 kids slip through untouched.
    But glad you’re still at it and best wishes for the new year despite the recent birthday trauma. Just wait another 3 years ?…

  7. Hey, what’s wrong with the Stuttgart office?! ? I’ve read your comments in Stuttgart and just now returned back to London via Stuttgart Airport.

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