Impeccable Table Manners

Alice and Angus

The world is going to absolute shit, isn’t it? As ridiculous and overly sentimental as it might be to pin all your hopes on a magazine column that brings together two people you have never met and tries to make romance, it’s no understatement to say today that perhaps we need this.

Last week brought the delightful news that Lizzie and Tomas, who appeared in this very blog last May, are to be married, and they have invited me to the wedding – an act which, bafflingly for us all, made national newspapers. So now I have had a taste of sunshine, I want more. Take me to the heat, fill me up with joy, nourish me with love.

And, do you know what, I might just get my wish! This is Alice, 31 and an account manager, and 25-year-old PR consultant Angus. Here they are in full, complete with shoes.

Alice on Angus | Angus on Alice

What were you hoping for?
A fun and entertaining evening with a stranger… and that’s what I got!

SPOILERS.

What were you hoping for?
Something different and some good grub.

“Grub” is one of those words I can’t say. One day I should sit and type the list of words I can’t ever say, and then try to get over my phobia of them, but I can never remember what they are until confronted by them.

My phobia of “grub” comes from a science teacher at my grammar school who was very “down with the kids” and had a really broad Yorkshire accent I was convinced was put on to make him sound more blokey. All the girls fancied him and all the boys thought he was super-cool but I just thought he was a dickhead, and I think he knew it. He would put on a hissy voice whenever I dared to ask a question – not often, I didn’t like drawing attention to myself, believe it or not – and would sigh loudly before answering. And, yes, his wrist would go limp.

One thing they never tell you about teachers is some of them are, bizarrely, absolutely obsessed by being adored by the popular pupils; it could be sickening to watch sometimes. To be seen giving the geekier, uglier or friendless pupils any time was like an odd kind of social death to them, and it happened again and again, day after day. The biggest offenders were male, and taught maths, science or, of course, PE. Anyway, this particular twat, when we would break for lunch, would tell us to “go and get yer grub” or sometimes , and even more appallingly, “scran”. I later found out this teacher fucked one of the sixth-formers on a summer trip. I hope whatever he had coming to him knocked at his door eventually, the massive wanker. Oh my God… I just remembered, he liked being called by his first name too. Hahaha. What a bell-end.

Anyway what I’m saying is “grub” is an awful word but I will forgive Angus because perhaps he is “regional”.

First impressions?
Nervous, well-presented, with a kind face.

I always think dogs usually have kind faces. It’s not the sexiest term to use for someone you’ve just laid eyes on but I suppose it’s better than “He looked like a serial killer”.

First impressions?
Chatty, confident and very pretty.

We will overlook that this is in fact an OVERALL impression and not a FIRST one because Angus ends it with “very pretty” and I cannot complain about that.

What did you talk about?
A brief life history of Angus and Alice (we both had a lot to say for ourselves), all things Spanish, and our lack of regional accents.
Strange friends, odd Tinder dates and her favourite nostalgic box sets.

No matches, sadly.  Never mind.

Lack of regional accents = same. I have said this before, but the number of men disappointed when I’d turn up to a date and not have a Yorkshire accent was… considerable. I mean, obviously the face had worked for them otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to meet me, and the patter had clearly been strong enough to warrant a date, but my lack of flat vowels, references to toasted currant teacakes and long descriptions of my whippets meant I was immediately undateable. On one particularly short, awkward date, after the guy had said for the fourth time, “Are you sure you’re from Yorkshire?” I said if he was really desperate for the full experience, I’d be happy to wank him off in silence while an episode of Emmerdale burbled away in the background. He declined.

Odd Tinder dates – fucking hell straight people love talking about Tinder don’t they? Ever since they got their very own Grindr equivalent, suddenly dating and hookup apps were no longer seedy or for saddos; they were in fact a genuine leisure activity and continual conversation point. I have never used Tinder, but if it is as twee, dim and non-entertaining as every single thing ever said or written about it then you can keep it.

Any awkward moments?
We both wanted the last scallop.
We had a debate about whether Friends is funny or not. I don’t think it is.

They ate at a Japanese tapas restaurant btw. Sharing + chopsticks, it’s like my ultimate hell. Friends. Mmmm. Can we not? It’s over. Gone. That last season – so terrible that it must have been on purpose to stop anyone missing it – was well over 15 years ago. I know it’s on TV loads but I think, for the good of our health, we should stop talking about it. I really like these two but “Tinder LOLs” and an analysis of Friends in the same evening? Drop. Me. Out.

Good table manners?
He nailed the chopsticks, let me choose the sushi and drink most of the wine.
Impeccable. Although I didn’t set a high standard with my chopstick skills.

Best thing about Angus?
There’s more to him than meets the eye. He is interesting and interested.

I would maybe interpret this as Alice originally thinking Angus looked boring and basic but was pleasantly surprised but perhaps I need stop trying to taste the vinegar and appreciate the honey.

Best thing about Alice?
Her disarming smile.

Disarming is quite a good word, isn’t it? I’m not sure I would like someone to say the best thing about me was my smile – although when I smile, I look like Victoria Beckham trying to grin her way through one of Brooklyn’s photographic exhibitions so it’s unlikely – but I guess it’s better than saying she had cracking knockers or something.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
We made friends on the date with a guy who was walking his dog. Does that count?

Would you introduce her to your friends?
For sure, I reckon they’d get on.

GOOD LAD.

Describe Angus in three words
Genuine, funny, great name.

Alice, hun, that’s four words. If you wanted to cheat, at least drop a hyphen in there as a distraction. “Well-named” doesn’t make any sense really but at least it kind of sticks to the rules. Anyway, let’s do the usual:

Genuine, like a crumpled fiver in a church’s collection plate that you’re trying to work out you can steal without going to hell.
Funny, like the word “diphthong”.
Great name, like Great Dane, but with name instead of Dane, and thus smaller turds on your lawn.

Describe Alice in three words
Creative, funny, outgoing.

Creative, like a job title on a business card that’s utterly meaningless.
Funny, like Alice also said about Angus, which means we have a ✅. Exciting.
Outgoing, like all the gin and tonics you can’t justify putting on your expense account.

What do you think he made of you?
Open, friendly, likes her food.

I once knew a woman who’d eat a sandwich before going on a dinner date with a guy and when I asked why, she said she didn’t want the man to think she was greedy or obsessed by food. When I told her how ridiculous this was, she turned to me – I will never forget the look in her eye – and said, “Of course it fucking is, but have you met MEN?”

What do you think she made of you?
Hopefully good company – if a little young.

The two things men fear the most when going on a date: being the wrong age or the wrong height.

There is some truth that women mature at a different rate to men, I suppose, but usually this is rooted in sexism – men get to stay boyish lads who can’t do anything for themselves until they’re about 57 while woman have to grow up, take care of them and bear the weight of the world on their shoulders from the age of 12. We feed the idea that women have a daddy complex and so must go out with men older than them – very convenient for those creepy 21-year-olds who dated all the pretty Year 11s – and any woman who finds a man younger than her attractive is a cougar after a toy boy and only interested in his youth because of some supposed virility. The real truth is, of course, that we all mature at different rates thanks to our individual life experiences and while age differences can make us uncomfortable if they seem exploitative – hello again to the pervo 21-year-olds parked outside the school gates – it really is just a number and not a valid reason for dismissing someone straightaway.

I notice this more in the “gay world” because age can be something of a kink – see all your “daddy/son” stuff and immediately screaming “ZADDY” at someone who just grew a pube – but I do genuinely believe when we come out, we start over again, and this can take some people a long time to do. I came out at 24-ish and felt I had nothing in common with those guys my age who’d been out and proud since they were 12, and they didn’t really understand me either. It made me feel even more lost for a while and although I didn’t seek out or have relationships with younger men, age gaps make much more sense to me than they might others. However, that’s not to say I didn’t absolutely lose my lunch when Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood’s much younger girlfriend said the dough-botherer had turned her “from girl to woman”. I mean, come on.

Did you go on somewhere?
We did. Angus had done his pre-date research and found a bar for us to go to if we didn’t hate each other.
To a bar around the corner for a G&T.

Angus is like the DREAM date. Nobody ever thinks to do that! Well, I did, and would purposely meet men in a straight pub on Columbia Road so, if it started going well – by which I mean weeeeeeell – I could whisk them to the George or – Saturday special – the Joiners (!) and let them paw me in a sexual manner. Both those venues are now closed, by the way.

And… did you kiss?
No.
Steady on.

These two are too cute but I was at least hoping for some smooching.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Not a thing, Alice is lovely.

YAY!!!

Scores. I daren’t look.

Marks out of 10?
8.
7.

Why are these so low?! What’s happening?! You are INTO it, aren’t you? Have I wished for this too much, put too many expectations on you to succeed? Have I over invested in this slightly, like people who care about the royal baby and camp outside the hospital like it’s the dullest stage at Glastonbury?

Give me hope.

Would you meet again?
He asked for my number, so who knows?
She gave me her number, so we’ll see what happens.

Phew.

Alice and Angus ate at Cubé, London W1. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com.

NOTE: The comments I make are based on the answers given by the participants and not what they may actually be like in real life. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits it to suit the column. Get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story; I’ll publish whatever you say. And please let me know if you saw each other again. I need this, guys.

NOVEL: My first book is out really soon and if you like this, you might like IT. Google “The Last Romeo Justin Myers” and order from your preferred retailer. You can also read some reviews of it. Ignore the bad ones. Thanks!

4 Comments

  1. I feel like these are 7s & 8s that maybe want more. <3

    I also read your book and it was delightful – (dare I say a gay Bridget jones’ Diary?). Anyway I hope it is one day made into a high budget rom com.

  2. I love it. This blog got me through a crappy job abroad. Now I’ve caught up, I dread that I have no materials whilst working in a passive aggressive office now!

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