Photograph: Teri Pengilley and Alicia Canter/The Guardian
Impeccable Table Manners

Alejandro and Lucy

I’m not a religious person and I invoke the name of God very rarely but I admit I let out a rasping sigh and cited the supposed great creator when I saw this headline:

There is an old saying (which I love because I find martyrdom and all its associated iconography visually appealing) which goes “These things are sent to try us” and I believe this is, as ABBA would’ve trilled, me finally facing my Waterloo.

Alejandro – here I will pause for any gay readers to sing the refrain from Lady Gaga’s 2010 hit single of the same name – is 28 and a tutor. Maths? Cello? Mindfulness? We will never know. Lucy is 26 and a management consultant. At 26 my job title was Vengeful Temp Who’s Just Given Up Smoking And Hates You,  so I admire Lucy’s commitment to career progression here.

Read the full date on the Guardian website and roll your eyes right out of your head before plonking them back in it to assess my review.

Alejandro on Lucy  |  Lucy on Alejandro
What were you hoping for?
The Daenerys to my Jon Snow (minus the incest).
My future husband. Failing that, something different to the usual Tinder/Bumble/Hinge date.

I’m afraid I don’t watch Game of Thrones so this reference is lost on me. BTW I don’t think I deserve a prize for not watching it – amazing how avoiding something is often a personality replacement, isn’t it? – I just can’t be arsed. My 18-year-old godson asks me, every time I see him, whether I’ve watched it and when I say to him no (still) he tells me, “But it’s full of gay sex” and I then have to remind him that I have seen and had plenty of that in my time and he has the good grace to go bright red – your reddest tomatoes couldn’t compare – and leave the room. Actually, I lie: I have seen some of Game of Thrones: someone told me Diana Rigg was in it so I went onto YouTube and watched a supercut of all her scenes and I have to agree with “the internet” and say she was marvellous. But I feel I’ve seen enough.

“The usual Tinder/Bumble/Hinge date” is such a depressing, leaden thing to read from a 26-year-old. That’s level of weariness I would expect from a cirrhotic piano player in a grubby cocktail bar, not a *checks notes* management consultant in the prime of life. My tip for surviving dating apps: go on them less often, and download Bejweled or Wordscapes instead.

First impressions?
Fashionably late, great leather jacket, good fun.

Fashionably late?

Don’t be so ridiculous.

First impressions?
More American and less Spanish than expected, based on his first name!

I once went on a date with a guy called Marcus and was really (!) surprised (!) to discover he was not, as I’d imagined, a Roman soldier but just a guy from Buckinghamshire with halitosis and an obsession with Steve Coogan!

What did you talk about?
The sexiest member of the Tory front bench (Philip Hammond, apparently), her thesis: the media’s depiction of female torturers at Abu Ghraib.
How sexy Putin is on horseback, whether Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May is more attractive, feminism, podcasts about serial killers.

Sexiest member of the Tory front bench: Choosing the sexiest member of the Tory front bench is like choosing which basement you’d rather be found dead in. Philip Hammond looks like an empty, haunted KFC Bargain Bucket but I guess there is no accounting for taste.
The thesis: I think I’m getting “one of my heads”
How sexy Putin is on horseback: Congrats on being two edgelords (so far) blissfully unaffected by anything this guy does, so wonderfully able to throw back your heads and expose your exquisite dentistry in celebration at what a “sexy ledge” this hugely harmful person is.
Corbyn/May attractiveness: fine. You realise this is how elections are decided, right? I’m not going to rise to this but can I JUST say – on a very superficial level –  if I were Corbyn I would wear nicer suits and maybe buy a shirt that would stay white when I washed it, and if I were Theresa May I’d buy the Aussie three-minute-miracle recovery and repair mask because her hair is dryer than her fucking banter.
Feminism: I’m assuming they’re both in favour of it but going from their answers so far (we are TWO questions in), I can’t be sure.
Podcasts about serial killers: I have feelings about this. I find the glorification of murder – or the treatment of it like it’s some kind of “guilty pleasure” like M&Ms, S Club 7, or a phone case from Primark – quite disturbing. Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps I’m weird, but the casual treatment homicide gets pretty much everywhere makes me feel ill, and makes me wonder whether… something needs to be done about it. Not to get all “pulpit on Easter Sunday” here but our keenness to dismiss human life and the taking of it is actually… odd. It’s really odd. When people say they’re fascinated by serial killers, I wonder what part of the tale excites them so. It’s worth remembering that for every serial killer to exist, someone else’s existence has to cease – there must be at least one victim. I grew up just outside Bradford, in Yorkshire, and was only five years old when the Ripper was caught, but I still remember (and have been told about, often, by women in my family and beyond) that air of fear. It wasn’t a storyline, it was real life, and thanks to the police not giving much of a fuck about the victims for long enough, it went on far, far too long. My mum once told me about being followed near the flat we lived in at the peak of the Ripper murders, and how scared she was, and didn’t know what to do,  every possible scenario going through her head – few of them good. Thankfully someone came along walking the other way and the guy gave up and retreated. She was lucky and, as a result, so was I. Women didn’t come home. Their families, their mothers, their fathers, their children, wondering where they were, peeping their heads round doors to see only unruffled beds, not slept in, their things just as they left them, as they would now always be. They never came home. Think about that. And then scrub forward to the juicy bit on your podcast. (I’m not slagging anyone for enjoying these podcasts etc, honestly, but if they are real-life at least think about what had to happen for you to get your pleasure. Someone never came home. Investigate your own excitement and make sure it comes from a good place.)

Any awkward moments?
No, despite offering constructive criticism on one another’s Hinge profiles.

I once went on a date with a guy – I didn’t blog about it at the time because I didn’t want to reveal either of our identities, but hi Steven – and he got his phone out and went through every basic thing I’d written on my dating profile. When he had finished his Dorothy Parker routine – or so he thought – he was so pleased with himself and all I could answer was, well, the most obvious answer. “Yet you were taken in by it and asked me on a date all the same, so who’s more stupid? You or me?” (It’s you, Steven.)

Any awkward moments?
I’m not sure he appreciated me taking the mickey out of him for almost choosing quinoa as his main. Also, on the walk to the tube he started talking about performing CPR rectally (he’s an ex-doctor).

Making fun of people for eating quinoa is about as zeitgeist as a mother-in-law joke.

Good table manners?
A separatist piece of miso cod may briefly have escaped her plate at one point, otherwise, flawless.

Best thing about Lucy?
Excellent chat, including the revelation that she wore a beret to primary school.

I’m going to have to go to the electorate on that “excellent chat” tbh, but I am happy it went well. I googled for a few seconds to see which school it might have been before remembering life is short.

Best thing about Alejandro?
He’s driven and passionate.

So is a Ford Ka with Pepe Le Pew at the wheel.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
I think they’d scare him off.

Lucy’s friends wear Halloween masks at all times.

Describe Lucy in three words
Effervescent, anti-coriander, imperceptibly northern.

Effervescent: Lucy is 52% Berocca.
Anti-coriander: Dull fact – I used to like coriander, now I don’t. Maybe I am the problem.
Imperceptibly northern: That’s two words. Here’s another two:

Describe Alejandro in three words
Intelligent, talkative and engaging.

Intelligent: You know how you can set a Google Alert to be notified when someone talks about you on the internet (NEVER DO THISSSSSSSS TRUST ME)? Imagine if in real life there was an alert you could set so when people mentioned you in a conversation – in actual, human form – you would know. And then imagine how hard you would get if someone said you were intelligent. It would be amazing. And then they would maybe call you “faggot” in the next breath and the spell would be broken. Ah.
Talkative: In 2019 I now take this to mean, “stared up from his phone to say I had spinach in my teeth”
Engaging: Either Lucy is a regular reader (HI LUCY I LIKE YOU MORE THAN THIS REVIEW WOULD SUGGEST) or she just loves saying really basic things.

Did you go on somewhere?
No, we both had early starts ahead.
It became apparent that the evening wasn’t going to continue when he ordered a cappuccino instead of a second bottle of sauvignon.

And… did you kiss?
We did not.


If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
For the restaurant not to have sold out of chilli and lime glazed calamari – it sounded fantastic.
I would’ve got stuck into the dessert menu.

I detest answers like this. Say something with substance here or GTFO and leave the Blind Date column to the kind of people we want to read. The ONLY time I will accept “oh I wish I’d tried the fucking Chateaubriand” bollocks is if the daters are on a side hustle and taking payment from the restaurant to big it up a little. SPOILER: I used to live round the corner from the restaurant these two went to and let me just say, I hope things have changed because WOW that used to be one hostile place to go eat/drink. It’s only SE1, you know, not 90210.

Marks out of 10?

Seven plus six equals 13. Thirteen is an unlucky number for some, and indeed many a fantastic song has stalled at Number 13 in the charts, including Lisa Scott-Lee’s Electric and the lesser-known buzz single by Diana Ross called I’m Coming Out. This 13 is particularly unlucky because we have had to sit through all that ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ to get to it. Ah well.

Would you meet again?
I’m afraid not, I think we’re looking for different things.

A clue? The point? A side-winding thermal body belt? Who knows?!

Would you meet again?
As friends, absolutely.

Lucy and Alejandro ate at Village East, London SE1. 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. You both see, lovely, but, to turn an old saying upside-down, I catch flies with vinegar, not honey.

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  1. As I was reading their date, I was just thrilled they’d given you plenty to work with…and you didn’t disappoint!

  2. > It’s worth remembering that for every serial killer to exist, someone else’s existence has to cease – there must be at least one victim.

    I mean, I hate to be pedantic here, but surely more than one?

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