Photograph: Jill Mead, David Levene/The Guardian
Impeccable Table Manners

Adam and James

Sun’s out, HUNS out!

Today it’s 27-year-old employment lawyer Adam and actor James, 23, and don’t they both have GREAT hair. Lovely to have a couple of boys on who act like they knew they’d be on camera.


Read the full date in the Guardian before I rake though a selection and try to find funny or mildly spiteful things to say about what, on first glance, seem to be very full, straightforward answers and not open to much interpretation. Which is great news for me, obviously.

Adam on JamesJames on Adam
What were you hoping for?
A man with integrity, a great sense of fun, a passion for carbs, and loyalty, courage and honesty.

CARBS! Someone’s 27.

What were you hoping for?
I wanted to go in with an open mind.

“Sex.” I’m sorry, but the very least you hope for, surely, if you are 23, is sex. Unless these two are those kind of young people who have subscriptions to magazines heavier than the second-biggest kettlebell in the gym and own one of those foldaway kitchen tables against the wall of their (small, tasteful) flat, replete with succulents, a copy of said magazine and a cup ion coffee from “the machine”. Tyler Brûlé has a lot to answer for.

First impressions?
In the best possible way – an absolute sweetheart. Charismatic, fun and totally himself.
Quite handsome and well dressed. He went in for a hug straight away, which I thought was nice.

What did you talk about?
Standard first-date chat – interests, background, ambitions, travel stories and, obviously, why we were both on a blind date.
Our jobs couldn’t be more different, so it was really interesting talking about how our days differ.

I mean, this is all fine. I have nothing to say. Except maybe, “Alexa, show me my Kryptonite”.

Any awkward moments?
The odd but brief lull in conversation.

We are taught to be afraid of silence. I guess it’s because it’s supposed to be a sign things are going badly but in fact I actually wonder whether it’s more like we are more worried the longer the silence is going on for, the more likely the other person is going to start saying just absolutely anything to fill it.

The trouble with silence filling is once you get started on it, you can’t stop, and you begin saying the most ridiculous things. It all comes out, all the crazy, or the nasty, or the dim. Whereas you may have been coming across as quite mysterious and intelligent, you now lay it all bare, every subset of dipshittery that’s ever troubled your lonely little neutrons. That 9/11 theory you read once, years ago, and dismissed, until right this minute. The fact you can remember the colour of Princess Diana’s dress when she came out of hospital after giving birth to Prince Harry. That time you got crabs in Kavos. All of it, spilling from you like toxic waste, and all because someone once told us that silence – that beautiful pause for contemplation of the world around you – is bad and must be extinguished.

Any awkward moments?
When we said we didn’t want dessert the waiter misunderstood, and appeared with a spread of cakes and scones. Adam doesn’t really like sweet things.

Oh NO! Not an accidental scone incident! Were these those famous ATTACKING scones that, whether you want to eat them or not, attempt to prise your lips open with… the claws of some kind that I’ve just decided they have, and jump into your mouth to be consumed? They’re terrible, aren’t they? James, just pop the scones into your bag for later and distribute them among your actor friends who probably haven’t eaten all week.

Good table manners?
Excellent, and a speedy drinker, which is a win in my book.

Is it a win? I suppose it is if you like them and they like you and the speediness of the drinking comes from being caught up in enjoying the moment. Quite different, I guess, from the scenario where they’re knocking back negronis (UGH) at a rate of knots because they simply cannot listen to you talk any longer about the ethics of recording Boris Johnson’s arguments through a wall.

I drink fast when I’m nervous or bored. Fingers crossed it was nerves that got James tipping the wine down his throat and not boredom.

By the way, it’s “Negroni Week” this week, whatever the hell that is. If you can’t avail yourself of one – perhaps your local pub is not a pop-up rooftop bar staffed by sentient underbites – why not recreate the effect by having a toddler vomit into a cocktail shaker and adding Campari, nuclear war, and the last 15 minutes of this episode of Years and Years:

Good table manners?
No complaints.

Too drunk to notice, maybe.

Best thing about James?
He is very comfortable in his own skin in a totally non-arrogant way. People can have an abundance of charisma and chat, but unfortunately be full of hot air.

This isn’t Adam’s first rodeo, is it? He may only be 27, but this answer could’ve come from a weary divorcé, whose wife got the Allegro and the most well-behaved child and he was left with the mortgage, a leaky conservatory, and delinquent twins. He has trudged to bars and pubs with the tiniest bit of hope in his heart that maybe this time will be different, that he will meet someone suitable, who will maybe iron a shirt for him every now and again without turning into some kind of political statement, who will let him read in bed and not remind him that few things are less sexy than sleeping next to someone whose pyjamas have boiled egg from that morning down the front, and won’t sigh loudly whenever they see him approach. But, no, nine times out of ten it turns out to be someone practising what they’d say in an Audible book of their no doubt fascinating life.

Best thing about Adam?
He’s really inquisitive and has a dry sense of humour.

Nosey, but funny. Could be worse.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
Oh, absolutely. James would be a hoot. They would definitely prefer him to me.

I know he’s joking, but could someone take Adam’s self-esteem to the farmers’ market for a wheatgrass shot and maybe to get its nails done after?

Describe James in three words
Fun, loyal and… showbiz.

Fun, like a game of Jenga until you realise you’re going to lose and all your friends (drunk) are going to point at you and shout “JENGAAAAA” or something else, in some kind of weird Gavin and Stacey hybrid accent, like the one people use when cheering “WAAAAHEEEEEY” after someone drops a glass in a pub.
Loyal, like a… how does Adam know James is loyal? Has he stuck by Jessie J through all these tough times or something? Loyalty, to me, is something you discover eventually, not on a first date, no? Strange.
Showbiz could be interpreted many ways, from jazz hands and salacious stories about the time he was an extra on Midsomer Murders, to the soul-crushing reality that the “they smile when the are low” part of the song There’s No Business Like Showbusiness is not just a casual observation, it’s an expectation.

Describe Adam in three words
Confident, intelligent, well-dressed.

Confident is good but not obviously not confident enough to send a tray of scones back to the kitchen.
Intelligent, like you would kind of hope a lawyer would be, tbh.
Well-dressed. Did you scroll back up to check? Same. I guess we’ll give him that one.

What do you think he made of you?
Definitely crazy bag man. For mundane reasons I was out of my flat all weekend and was swamped with bags. Other than that, hopefully adventurous, fun, kind, loyal.

When someone says “for mundane reasons”, start asking questions. It’s like someone saying “nothing for you to worry about” as they heave a rolled-up rug out of their house, leaving a trail of that might be blood behind them as they do, before throwing it into a van and putting on a pair of black leather gloves as they walk slowly, purposefully toward you.

Also, loyal again. What the hell is this obsession? What kind of loyalty is he into? Always shopping at the same supermarket to get Nectar points? Or maybe helping covering up the kind of murder described above? I’m going to have to see what’s in these bags, Adam.

What do you think he made of you?
He seemed interested in what I had to say and I made him laugh a few times, so that’s good.

You’re an accomplice now, James.

And… did you kiss?
I would never kiss and tell, but for the purposes of my intrigued (or bored) readers: no kiss.

For some reason, on first reading this, the “my intrigued (or bored)readers” made me scream. It’s very:

Anyway, no kiss. I can’t help bit see this as DISLOYALTY to YOUR readers of the Guardian Blind Date, boys.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I probably would have chosen a more savoury sharing menu.

A more savoury sharing menu. Uh-oh. I see.

I’m now picturing the earlier “Adam doesn’t like sweet things” as less of an eye-roll and “oh what a slight inconvenience, never mind” and more like this: imagine a kind of HULKSMASH moment where Adam upended the table and dashed wine in James’s face – hence the drinking quickly – and ripped his shirt off screaming “Adam doesn’t like sweet things” over and over until his handler rushed in and shot him with a tranquilliser dart.

Marks out of 10?
A highly respectable 8.
A solid 7.

You can pepper your scores with adjectives and make them sound like consolatory school reports for the congenitally stupid all you want, gentlemen, but you can’t hide the fact that you did actually like each other more than you let on. How do I know? Look, I’ve been doing this a long time.

Would you meet again?
We probably have different outlooks and are at slightly different stages, but you never know until you try.
Yeah. I’ve just sent a text asking if he fancies date number two, so… stay tuned!

Told ya.


James and Adam ate at Momo, London W1. Fancy a blind date? Email If you’re looking to meet someone like-minded, visit

NOTE: The comments I make are based on the answers given by the participants. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits answers to make the column work better on the page, but get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story; I’ll happily publish whatever you say. I’m kinda loyal like that.

EVENT: I’m doing a special Pride event at Waterstones in Piccadilly this Tuesday 4th with some incredible LGTBQ+ writers and it would be great ion you came. Info on my Events page, which needs updating, I know.

BOOK: Interestingly, or not, the main character in my novel The Last Romeo is called James! And his ex boyfriend is called Adam! Maybe I have accidentally written the future for these two! Who knows?! Anyway, it helps me out if you buy it or, if you own it already, review it on Amazon. 


  1. I wonder if the “loyal” comment might mean they’ve both been cheated on and wanted to ensure the other wasn’t a cheat. But hey, what do I know?

  2. The paragraph about Negroni Week saw me dissolve into uncontrollable laughter. So thank you for that. I want you to know, I sometimes read you, even before I read Marina Hyde. Yes, yes, I know I’m a week or so behind, but I’m not a writer. I can’t just hang about in my pants reading stuff, as though I was at university. x

  3. Or could it be that one/both are cheaters and are beginning the gaslighting process? Bragging about how loyal you are or placing great value on it so it becomes part of the currency of your relationship can become weaponised as a tool of control and manipulation “I only slept with ???? to prove to you how loyal I am to you. Can’t you see that? You must be insane- what’s wrong with you?’” etc etc etc and also can become “how could you go out with your friends/live your own life/go to work/earn your own money/wear that item of clothing etc etc – I thought you were loyal to me” or even worse “you can’t leave me because that would be disloyal. What about us?” Etc etc etc.
    I’m not saying our two here would behave like that that, I have no idea what they’d do or not do. I hope they went out again and showed us how it’s done by having a brilliant time together with lots of amazing sex and fun and met the challenges and rocked our universe with their amazing relationship with absolutely no difficult sweet tray incidents involved . I’m just making a general comment about how gaslighting begins and begins earlier than anyone ever thinks it does ie: right from the start.

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