Remember when Katy Perry sang, in her million-selling hit Firework, ‘Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?’ At the time, I struggled to understand where she was going with that, but now I do, because after reading today’s date I did indeed feel like a plastic bag – by which I mean I felt like picking one up and putting it over my head.
I’ll take one sturdy bag for life with no life-saving air holes to go, please.
Today’s daters are Adeena, 24, and a political consultant and Tomi, 25, who works as a sustainability adviser. It all sounds very civil service-y, the kind of job where you sit in rooms trying to convince people of something with PowerPoint presentations before stopping for a ‘comfort break’. The biscuits in the meetings are always too soft. I suppose given most young people, according to something I read the headline of earlier this week, get their news from TikTok, we should be surprised to see any people in their mid-twenties still familiar enough with what a newspaper is to even appear in Blind Date. However, I get the feeling Adeena and Tomi aren’t the kind of people who keep up with world events by watching videos of men with lacquered quiffs in sportswear nodding in each corner of their screen to reveal a (poorly researched) fact about the climate emergency, or drag queens contouring while lip synching Thatcher’s ‘inalienable right to be gay’ speech.
Anyway, here they are in full:
I want to write a piece one day about white T-shirts; I find them fascinating, genuinely. I have lots of theories about them. Anyway, they both look fairly happy and well groomed so why not head over to the Guardian website to read what really happened – maybe neck a couple of double-shot espressos beforehand – and then return to what the French like to call ici for a rundown of what it can all possibly mean.
Adeena on Tomi | Tomi on Adeena
What were you hoping for?
Someone who shares my love for Elizabethan architecture, countryside and rhubarb crumble. There was no way he could live up to my expectations!
Script editor for Adeena’s answers: Ann Widdecombe.
What were you hoping for?
To meet someone like-minded with similar passions and to have a good conversation.
Narrator: he didn’t.
I have feeling the first thing Adeena said to Tomi was ‘you’re tall’. People just can’t help themselves. It is, at least, a proper first impression.
Adeena was very nicely dressed. She was a bit shy but seemed like a very good-hearted person.
Ooh, both a proper first impression and an overall impression! Tomi is really spoiling us! And his answers are very sweet.
What did you talk about?
Politics. Law. How we’re both fans of Blind Date – he said if this didn’t work out, the next step would have to be Love Island.
I thought we shared a lot of similar interests. We chatted about our respective family backgrounds, our cultures and our shared interest in books. We have a similar taste in music and also talked about our passion for politics and our work.
Politics ✅ – Ugh. Brenda from Bristol had a point about there being ‘too much politics’ these days.
Love Island – I don’t watch it – although I once had to pretend I did for a column, more journalism lies – I’m just not very keen on that kind of ‘brioche rolled round the floor of an ASOS warehouse’ type person who likes to go on it. But this was a good piece on why people like to watch it even though they complain about how exploitative and misogynistic it is.
Similar taste in music – I’d love to know what’s nestling in that Venn diagram intersection.
These are all perfectly adequate conversation topics but seriously there is such a CHILL coming off this pairing that I might need to get a scarf. Well, not a proper winter one. Something floaty and summery, one your auntie might spill Picpoul down at lunch with the girlies.
Any awkward moments?
We filled some awkward silences with small talk (which I hate).
What a great idea to come on a date with a stranger then. What else are you supposed to do on a date? How big do you want the talk to get? I suppose if you work in politics you’re used to having (what seems like) big talk all day long, so everything else might feel trivial. Although politics lately seems to solely consist of people who look like bank statements with hair arguing about whose turn it is to go to the Co-Op on the Strand and fill a suitcase with sauv blanc.
Any awkward moments?
Just a couple of silent moments, so not too bad.
Good table manners?
I’d say so. He put his napkin on his lap. Most people I’ve been on dates with don’t do that and it bothers me. But he didn’t wait for me to eat or drink first.
‘He didn’t wait for me to eat or drink first.’ Is this a thing?’ It’s a long time since I’ve been on a romantic dinner with a woman, but Adeena appears to be going for dates in a Jane Austen novel. Not just Elizabethan architecture that Adeena is into – she’s quite into their table manners too. It’s polite to start eating only when everyone has been served their food, I know, but we’re not at a state banquet and last time I checked Adeena’s head was not on a banknote.
Am now wondering a) where Adeena’s dates usually put their napkins and b) why a 24-year-old is going on dates somewhere they even have napkins.
Good table manners?
Best thing about Tomi?
He said he’s a careful driver and I think that’s an important attribute.
At this point in the review I would quite like a not very careful driver to take me out for a run along a terrifyingly winding cliff top road in their ancient Mondeo that has failed its MOT.
Best thing about Adeena?
‘She looked at me.’ The best thing. The best. Okay. The bar is ant’s ass high.
Would you introduce them to your friends?
No, they would not get along.
Describe Tomi in three words.
Thoughtful. Attentive. Calm.
Thoughtful – like a surprise birthday card from an old acquaintance, or a note tucked into your lunchbox that says ‘have a good day – p.s. I’m leaving you’
Attentive – like that one member of the train crew on an LNER going from London to Leeds who takes a shine to you and gives you extra complimentary biscuits and somewhat inappropriately calls you ‘gorgeous’ or ‘my lovely’ but you don’t mind because they’re filling that wine glass right up to the brim and you may well need hospitalisation by Grantham.
Calm – like a 1940s movie siren staring blithely out across the lake now that the last bubble has popped and the surface is still, after watching her millionaire husband drown.
Describe Adeena in three words.
Diligent, smart, devoted.
Diligent – like companies are when it comes to taking your money, and like they aren’t when it comes to refunding it.
Smart – like a tube of Smarties in a Next suit.
Devoted – like:
What do you think Tomi made of you?
At the end of the date he said, “Please be nice in the review,” so I don’t think he was particularly fond of me.
I’m not sure I make that connection – why would his saying this mean he wasn’t fond of her? Might it be more likely he got the vibe she wasn’t that impressed because, as he says in the next answer, she was a little reserved? I suppose we’re still adjusting to seeing people again after around two years of it not being normal to sit in restaurants and be forced to make small talk, and both daters will have been not long after graduating when this all kicked off. I know we read lots of doom-laden articles about the effect of the pandemic, both physically and mentally, and most of them are quite unhelpful. But: something has changed in our wiring and we’re maybe not quite reading the room as well as we used to. After so long left in our own heads and away from the social cues that tell us we’re actually doing absolutely fine, maybe it’s not entirely surprising to dread small talk, or think people don’t like you, or that someone is reserved just because they don’t talk too much. We were bad enough at decoding signals before all this happened. Now? It’s like waking up and discovering everyone now exclusively speaks Finnish except you.
I am trying to be generous here. We should all give that a go sometimes.
What do you think Adeena made of you?
She maybe thought of me as quite honest, calm and driven. I think we are both rather reserved but naturally quite humble.
She did indeed think he was calm. Fancy that! Maybe the signals aren’t quite so haywire as we think.
Did you go on somewhere?
The tube! He doesn’t know London well so thought we were going in the same direction. I may have been a bit abrupt…
Adeena pointing Tomi in the right direction:
And … did you kiss?
I just gave a side hug to be polite.
Is a side hug better or worse than a handshake? I’m quite surprised there was any physical contact at all, really. Based off these answers, I was expecting one of them to say they climbed out of the toilet window and sent an email saying they weren’t coming back.
If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
Maybe a different restaurant – he said he likes cooking at home and isn’t familiar with Italian food. He also said at the beginning that he wouldn’t go on a first date at a restaurant again.
To sit away from the window. My food got cold quickly.
Live footage of me trying to review this date:
Marks out of 10?
Would you meet again?
No. I’m quite busy with work and we didn’t have anything in common.
If you’re a fan of Blind Date there’s nothing wrong with going on it and experiencing it to see what it’s like but, uh, thanks for coming.
Would you meet again?
Yes, but at a different location.
Middle of the dance floor at Ministry, so it’s too loud for small talk, maybe?
Good luck to them both, but I did not have a good time on this date. Would NOT meet again.
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. May all your talk be very big in the future.
Tomi and Adeena ate at Pastaio, London W1.
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