Photograph: Sarah Lee; Linda Nylind/The Guardian
Impeccable Table Manners

Charlie and Ben

This week we have a youthquake: 24-year-old PhD researcher Charlie; Ben, 21, a stage manager; and a chaperone in the shape of Ben’s lustrous eyebrows.

Read what happened on the date before we plough in to make sense of the parts of it that don’t speak for itself.

Charlie on Ben | Ben on Charlie
What were you hoping for?
Anything from losing my knickers to finding a future husband.

The spectre of Joanne and Morgan looms large. When on a Blind Date, you should always approach the fact that more interesting daters may have come before you in the same way the second Fallon did in Dynasty, or Pippa in Home and Away – just pretend you’re the first one and if anyone doesn’t like it, they can always switch over to the other side. Which is what, in this case? Exactly.

What did you talk about?
Musicals, long gay plays, Gay Pride, how wonderful our waiter Theodore was, what we could do to become famous off the back of this column.
Theodore, crying at films, Brighton, our mutual love of the Quintet from West Side Story, and latterly, dad dancing.

The waiter Theodore ✅ I wonder how Theodore, who works at the Spitalfields branch of Pho – I love Pho but some weeks the daters get to go to £££££ restaurants; this seems a bit unfair – feels about being the third wheel in this tricycle. We demand an interview about his brush with viral infamy.
Brighton/Gay Pride ✅ Same thing tbh
Long gay plays. Why are they so bloody long? I suppose it takes longer for audience to care about gay characters once they’ve stopped being fabulous, going shopping, or dying in the first act, so you need to make sure there’s plenty of room for their “journey”. Before any remaining characters also die at the end.
What we could do to become famous off the back of this column. Well, you could try to get arrested for shoplifting.

Good table manners?
Absolutely. We both ate with our hands, struggled to pronounce the dishes on the menu, and neither of us could use chopsticks.

I think even the dimmest member of the cast of TOWIE – imagine the testing process for working that out – could manage to pronounce the menu at a Vietnamese chain restaurant, Charlie. I too have struggled with chopsticks in the past but have now learned to use them, although I still prefer a fork because you can get more in your mouth at a time and I have places to BE.

Ben was either not asked this (very important) question, forgot to answer, or his response was so shocking it was redacted for fear of legal action, as it is missing from the online edition.

Any awkward moments?
One of his friends said that I need to give him a 10 if I value my kneecaps.

Terrifying, I’m sure.

Best thing about Charlie?
Very easy to get along with, and happy to bitch with me about the queens in the queue.

Live footage has just come in of these two sass masters at that exact moment:

Describe Ben in three words
Jaunty, charming, fun.

JAUNTY, like a hat. No, not the one Charlie’s wearing; a beanie can’t be jaunty. It needs a peak, a feather, or to be sitting on top of Robin Hood’s head.
CHARMING, like you might say about someone you were still desperate to work out. Like you kind of want to kiss them passionately or throw them down the scullery steps – you haven’t decided yet. (Choose the steps. Saves time in the long run.)
FUN, like you’d call someone who couldn’t count to 25 but was willing to put their chopsticks up this nose to break an awkward silence.

Describe Charlie in three words
Cheery, easy-going, high-spirited.

CHEERY, like a “with sympathy” card that sharts black confetti as you open it.
EASY-GOING, like a cat who prefers being fed to controlling the entire human race.
HIGH-SPIRITED, like someone who signs off all their emails with quotes from [INSERT DREARY CULT SHOW HERE] and queued in the rain for Viva Forever tickets twice.

Did you go on somewhere?
Yes, as we journeyed between places we sang West Side Story and the Wizard Of Oz. We also told everyone we could that we were on a Guardian blind date.

Top marks for going out and getting hammered, though. ?

And… did you kiss?
We certainly did.
Maybe a little.

Rainbow couples delivering yet again. Why can’t heterosexuality be this interesting? Answer: straight men ruin everything.

Marks out of 10?

I guess Ben would rather lose those kneecaps of his than give a 10. We can only live our truth.

Would you meet again?
Yes, I would.
Would you meet again?
We swapped numbers.

Quite a build up for that ending. Serious second series of Doctor Foster vibes there – but at least it was entertaining. Good luck boys, keeeeeeep dancin’! ❤️


Charlie and Ben ate at Pho Cafe, London E1,
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.


  1. I’m really happy they had a nice time, and seem like lovely lads, but I bet they were a bloody nightmare to be anywhere near.

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