Impeccable Table Manners

Ben and Katie


Oh, I don’t know. They seem nice. Ben’s surname is Wren, so rhymes. I guess that would kill 20 minutes or so if you were stuck for something to say.

Read what happened on the date and then we’ll have a look with a decidedly more cynical eye.

Ben | Katie
First impressions?
Um, didn’t I live with her for a month 10 years ago?
Polite and well-dressed.

Do you like themed evenings? You know, the kind of night they’d have in the Queen Vic or, less often, the Rovers? Dead movie stars perhaps? Or 1920s style? The theme usually overpowers everything else, until you stop really having fun because you are too busy thinking about the theme.

Well, this flatmate thing that Ben mentions for the first time above is about to become the theme for this date. It seeps into almost every corner of it. It is the equivalent of a vicars and tarts party you can’t escape from.

Small note on Katie’s first impressions answer: this is what someone’s grandmother would say. “Such a polite young man” was all anyone over 50 said about me until I was 25. Katie’s reached peak blue rinse at least 45 years early. We are not getting any romance here.

What did you talk about?
Being flatmates in the distant past (we didn’t really get to know each other at the time). Also: fashion week, funerals, kittens.
Our shared interest in film and TV, and a little about our jobs – we’ve a mutual friend.

See, this is a big thing for Ben. Katie would rather focus on something else, but Ben won’t let this flatmate thing go. And a “mutual friend”, you say? Could this be how you ended up sharing a flat together?

I’m prepared to let “fashion week, funerals, kittens” go, because a least he wasn’t droning on about that flatshare. Oh, hang on…

Any awkward moments?
I wasn’t 100% sure she was the same girl at first, so didn’t mention it straight away. But after a while I just had to ask.
About an hour in, when it finally clicked that we’d lived in the same flatshare.

An hour. Ben waited an hour to bring up the flatshare thing. I bet he could barely concentrate on the conversation. No wonder funerals and kittens came up. He was probably nervously sweating.

Perhaps he was waiting for a flicker of recognition to come from Katie’s “soulful eyes”. Alas, none, until he finally broke.

If Ben somehow manages to shoehorn the flatshare thing into the table manners question, he is a God among men and I shall immediately retire from this to dedicate my life to spreading the word about this hallowed flatshare.

Good table manners?
Perfect. Could have been tricky in a buffet-style place.


Despite the date going relatively well and the pair being very complimentary of each other, they rate each other a SIX, which you just don’t see with people who claim to have got on.

I’m guessing that their month-long flatshare loomed large – all those arguments about washing up, hairs down the plughole and using their butter even know their name was quite clearly written upon it in permanent marker never really go away. And so we end on a 6 and the biggest brush-off you could imagine.

Would you meet again?
Maybe in another 10 years?
Maybe in another 10 years!

Note Ben’s hopeful question mark. You blew it when you reminisced about how long she used to take in the bathroom during that flatshare, bro.

Katie’s exclamation mark suggests she’d be happy for another decade to go by – maybe she still hasn’t stumped up her share of the shopping kitty from way back when. Hey, she definitely only used the butter once, OK?

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian

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