Peter has dark hair and is wearing a blue shirt over a white T-shirt with a patterned blazer over the top. Angelica has short grey or blonde hair and is wearing a pink jumper underneath a red turtleneck
Composite: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Angelica and Peter

This week the Guardian Blind Date is an over-60s special, and they devote oodles of pages to delightful senior romantic moments – and a couple of clangers tbh – plus an update on a date from last year which unfortunately I didn’t review. Of all the couples, I decided to review Angelica and Peter because Angelica is a GREAT name – say it in a French accent, gorgeous, I can’t stop – and I like her jumper. You think this is a strange decision? People get jobs as CEOs on even shakier criteria than that, believe me. (RIP Vice. ?)

I have a friend who cries if an old person doesn’t win the jackpot on a gameshow so they’ll be in bits reading this today. Anyway, welcome Angelica, 74, an assessment manager on an exam board (thanks for that C on my maths retake, Ange) and Peter, 80, a retired journalist. Read the full account of the date – and all the others – on the Guardian website before shimmying back here for a whistle stop tour of the highlights.

Angelica | Peter

First impressions?
Surprisingly, somehow, someone I more or less hoped for. A petite, smartly dressed white-haired (neatly cropped) woman with a lovely open smile. 

Can you imagine turning up on a date and they actually represent what you’d been hoping for? Thousands of people squinting at blurry selfies on Hinge cannot relate. I’m sure this is just a syntax issue but was Peter actually hoping for a woman with neatly cropped white hair or is he just shouting at what he can see in front of him, like a toddler pointing at Bluey and saying ‘BLUEY’.

What did you talk about?
Our previous lives, our families, hobbies, work, food. We even compared our tech skills. We talked for so long, the restaurant had to politely ask us to leave because they were closing.

Our previous lives – I’m assuming Angelica is referring to their lives before the date, unless she’s one of those people who takes your hand very earnestly in the back room of a club and says, deadpan, ‘I can see you’re an old soul, like me. In a previous life, I used to play the flute at Stonehenge burials.’

We even compared our tech skills – this is both stereotyping and an acknowledgment that I too have all but checked out of learning anything new about technology since I sailed past 45, but I am imagining both of them staring at a nonstop flood of TikTok content as if it’s an ankylosaurus come back to life and inexplicably dancing in an all-grey kitchen extension.

We talked for so long etc – very romantic, yeeeees, but a nightmare for the waiting staff, who already have the lines racked out in the dry stores.

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The cover of my novel the fake up and a sticker saying 99p

Most awkward moment?
Peter said that he had a profound statement to make, but then could not remember what the statement was about.

Wonder what it was. ‘The slacks in Zara aren’t what they were’, maybe? How about ‘Boots should have more clear signage so you’re not searching endlessly for toothpaste’? You could blame this on his age, or a couple of glasses of wine, but I’m over thirty years younger than Peter and I don’t drink and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast 25 minutes ago. Someone asks me what I did at the weekend – while it is STILL the weekend – and I have to go into deep research, checking the location of any selfies and cross referencing with what particular stage of heartburn I’m at.

And … did you kiss?
No, though we shared a tube home, and when the time came for me to alight, one stop before her, we had a wobbly train hug and I think I planted a rather awkward kiss on her forehead.
Fred Elliott from the ITV show Coronation Street licking his hands and smoothing down his hair as if preening ITV

Smooth, Peter. There is something about being kissed on the forehead – intentionally – that is both heartwarming and patronising. Try as I might, I have never been able to interpret a kiss to the forehead as anything other than ‘shut up now, dear, I’m trying to watch Panorama’.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
We could have gone on talking for another couple of hours. Peter did mention that he had bought an open return back to his home town, Norwich, so it would have been possible.
Joan Collins in eveningwear and wearing a tiara dancing with a fan Vogue

Angelica thought she was OUT out, not heading home early doors after a slobbery smooch on the forehead. They were out in Soho, they could’ve sunk a few at Freedom at least. But I suppose Peter was going back to Norwich and I get antsy if it gets past 9 o’clock in town and I only live a few stops away so… fine, excused.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be
Without wishing to be too insensitive, I would have felt a little more comfortable if Angelica had shared my enthusiasm for drinking booze. She abstained, but I rather guiltily enjoyed a half bottle of a fine white burgundy.

Oh. Oh Peter. Pete. Petey. In the words of Tyra Banks: ‘I was rooting for you’. And now look. It is profoundly weird to me the way people who drink act around people who don’t. I assure you: we are not observing you closely, or committing to memory everything you do. We don’t care that you slur a little bit or perhaps say something… that you wouldn’t normally say if you were drinking a Fruit Shoot, or even begin repeating yourself, telling that story again about the parking ticket but, this time, with embellishments that reveal the truth of the matter. I get the purpose of alcohol, it is supposed to help you unwind, feel at ease, so go ahead and drink some! But if it can’t do that without everyone round the table having a drink too… maybe it’s not helping you as much as you think. You shouldn’t have to enjoy it ‘guiltily’ or feel broaching this subject is insensitive. There is this odd idea that non-drinkers are trying to convert boozers, or look down on them for some reason, or will start preaching and kill your buzz, but we aren’t and we don’t and we won’t. The only person making it annoying and uncomfortable is you! Sorry! But that’s a fact! The cult of alcohol is so unhinged and much more harmful to society than some stony-faced abstainer sourly sipping a 0& Peroni opposite you. Get pissed! I don’t care. Just don’t be boring, think you can manage that?

(Edit: an eagle-eyed reader has pointed out in the comments that this paragraph could be interpreted as the exact kind of sermon I’m claiming non-drinkers would never give, but above I’m talking about in-person, in the moment situations. Nobody will lecture you on a date if you have a drink! Although they might bitch about you later, maybe even on a blog. But so might anyone. I’m not judging Peter or accusing him of anything, but questioning the general mindset that makes him feel this way.)

Marks out of 10?
Full marks.
I would say a steady 9.

A point off for not getting drinking? MEN! Honestly.

Would you meet again?
We exchanged telephone numbers and email addresses.
Possibly. We did exchange mobile numbers. It totally depends on how many marks I get out of 10!

I adore the way Angelica says ‘exchanged telephone numbers’ – I love the word telephone, I miss it. Hopefully Peter and Angelica will be able to enjoy a drink together one day with no guilt, or judgement and maybe that awkward forehead kiss will eventually meet its target. Best of luck.

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‘Snappy, sharp, perceptive, and brim-full of wit and heart’ – Julie Cohen
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I know! Pre-orders are everything – they dictate how well a book will do, how much shelf space it gets, how much attention critics will pay to it, how many copies bookshops will order, that kind of thing. I don’t care where you get it from – support an indie if you can! – but here are links to , Bert’s Books, Lighthouse Books and Amazon. And the cover is a handsome yellow boy. Do consider buying it. Thank you. x

The cover of my fourth novel Leading Man which features an illustration of the main character on the cover and the title in large pink lettering plus my name underneath, and the caption

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

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. Next time, you’re in town, let’s pop for a drink at Comptons (upstairs, you can always get a seat)

Angelica and Peter ate at Quo Vadis, London W1. Fancy a blind date? Email


  1. “There is this odd idea that non-drinkers look down on them for some reason, or will start preaching,” declared in the middle of a 20-line paragraph lecturing someone for wanting to share a bottle of wine at dinner, ending with accusing them of cult behaviour that’s harming society. What an odd idea indeed!

    Still, they seemed like a nice and genuine couple. I hope they get something going.

  2. Maybe Pete would’ve remembered the profound statement he wanted to make if he hadn’t had a half bottle all to himself?

  3. I was so thrilled to discover The Guyliner a year and half ago, when I was very unwell during the first trimester of my pregnancy and couldn’t do much apart from scroll…so super grateful for all the laughs! As soon as I read the Date, I hop over to yours. Just wanted to say that’…unless she’s one of those people who takes your hand very earnestly in the back room of a club and says, deadpan, ‘I can see you’re an old soul, like me. In a previous life, I used to play the flute at Stonehenge burials’ made me chortle like anything and ALSO I may have felt this way about a prospect (thank goodness I didn’t tell them!!)

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