Impeccable Table Manners

David and James

It was my birthday yesterday. 41. Christ. Because my sado-masochism knows no bounds, I drank for the first time in six weeks. This was a mistake. I feel like I’ve been coughed up by an asthmatic stegosaurus. With that in mind, here’s a review of this week’s Guardian Blind Date.

Come on. It’s gays. It’s Christmas. I couldn’t not.

I think we know how this is going to go, thanks to our eyes and mildly curdled life experience, but let’s play along.

David (beard) is a 24-year-old journalist and is in pink, while James, a 29-year-old PR (hand on chin, for some bizarre reason) is in blue.


how r u
love ur profile
any more pics
no not face
tho they r nice
like full body ones


Chatty. Only two queens could see “chatty” as a plus, and actively encourage it. Yearn for it, even. Thank God for gays. We’re not just good with colours, hair and crying at Bette Midler concerts, you know.


Charming and warm. Candles are charming and warm, David. Watch yourself.


little girl runs over brother 2 power wheel

That “super” at the beginning is the velvet glove around a fist of pure iron.


What’s worse? A date who has read all the Harry Potter books – they bought the ones with the “adult” cover, though, so they wouldn’t look stupid on the Tube – or a date who purses their lips. carefully puts their G&T down on the table, and proudly tells you they’ve never read anything JK Rowling has done? (It’s the second one.)

Plans for the future. Wow. I don’t know what I’m doing in the next two hours (I do, I’m getting dressed and going to the Jupiter-sized Tesco on Canal Road) let alone “the future”. How far into the future are they talking? Were they showing each other retirement villages?


I’m sorry but every time I read James’s answers, I imagine him saying it with his hand on his chin.

HOBBIES. Literally nobody has hobbies anymore. It is 2016. Just.


Oh my goodness. Coffee people. Are you one? Do you know one? They are the worst. The actual worst. Worse than murderers or people who wait until they’re at the barrier in the Tube station to get their Oyster card out.

Years ago, I wrote this about dating a coffee enthusiast:

“It’s hard to say exactly when coffee became a fetish. It seems like only yesterday it was perfectly acceptable to drink endless cups of watery slop made from claggy granules, topped up with hip-expanding white sugar. Since the arrival of big coffee chains, of course, we have turned to lattes and espressos and are asking for types of coffee by name. Moldovan Wheelbarrow Roast? Why, certainly. And that’s fine; it gives us something to think about while we queue patiently behind the man ordering a very specialised frappuccino. But for some men this isn’t enough – for them coffee isn’t just a means of keeping your eyes open and your belly warm, it’s a way of life. They caress their espresso machine with the fervour of a closeted teenager finding Zac Efron’s wang in their hands. They tell you about the beans. You find yourself nipping to Starbucks in secret, because the mere sight of that mermaid on your paper cup sends the Coffee Snob into paroxysms of horror. “How can you drink that stuff?” he’ll wince. “That’s not proper coffee!” The more he bangs on and on about how special this latest blend of coffee is, and how he’s going to get up really early to enjoy an authentic cortado at the farmer’s market, the more you crave the ordinary. You find yourself sweating like a junkie in your local supermarket aisle, grabbing jars of instant own-brand coffee called things like ‘Whoops Mum! Super Value Coffee-Flavoured Powder”’. The word ‘artisan’ starts to make you nervous. You come to dread the pong of freshly brewed coffee, holding your nose like you’re driving by a field full of cow dung in a convertible.”

So you like coffee. Great. Not much use if you can’t fuck like a train, though. Just saying.








DAMN that man never shut the hell up.


You have your hand on your chin. Explain.


I love that David has certain social echelons he feels he could introduce James to. Presumably he has an entire sect of cohorts who would be totally fine with talking to someone who agreed to be photographed with their hand on their chin, like they were in a Russian wedding photo. Others, however, would frown on this. James couldn’t meet them.




Erudite like a word you never, ever say out loud, but often write. (Although you do know how to pronounce it, you are worried that someone not quite as, oh shall we say erudite, as you won’t know what it means and ask you to explain.)
Pleasant like the most boring day in your life where it didn’t rain.
Groomed like a man with his hand on his chin.


Intelligent like a man you don’t fancy, who you would perhaps describe as erudite had you ever heard the word in your life.
Polite like, guys, I honestly don’t fancy him and I want to make that absolutely crystal.
Friendly like a DOG you might come across tied up outside an off-licence. Christ.




That is not an answer to this question. It just isn’t. “What did he think of you?” “Oh we had a lot of common and he liked that.” I mean, they’d ask you to qualify if this was a normal conversation.

What James really wanted to say is that he knew David thought he was “easy on the eye” – #NotAllEyes – but it wasn’t reciprocated.




Dessert in this case does not, I assume, mean a quick beej in the loos.  Gay men in 2016, eh? What’s even the point of them?


Oh, David. Perhaps that hand that perma-rests on James’s chin got in the way.


Other things that are solid: rock; gold; opinions; impacted faeces.





monkey puppet omg shock gif

6. Six. SIX.

A “pretty solid night” that elicited only a six from each of them? Just goes to show: gay men – even cuddly avuncular ones with beards and coffee addictions in lieu of any bite – are brutal bitches unless they get to see the D.


Oh, whatever. Your hand is on your chin. Talk me through this.



OOH. This kitty’s got CLAWS. I bet David also looks forward to picking apart the typos in those press releases, rolling his eyes at the sad clichés and marvelling at how PRs always sign off with “best”, when the material preceding it is anything but. And then deleting them.

See you in 2017.

Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

Note: All the comments I make are based on the answers the Guardian chooses to publish, which may have been changed by a journalist to make for better copy. The participants in the date are aware editing of answers may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena.  This isn’t about me thinking these two people are bad people – I don’t know them. I am sure, in real life, they’re great. I’m critiquing the answers, not the people themselves. If you are the couple in this date, please do not take this personally; I don’t see the date in advance so my reactions are my first ones. I do this live on a Saturday morning and today I feel delicate to say the least. If you want to give your side of the story,  get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal or comments you might have. 

No Comment

  1. Happy Birthday! As soon as I laid eyes on James’ photo I thought: pity Guyliner is taking a break, but no, here you are, back for Christmas! Hee Hee!

Leave a Response

%d bloggers like this: