George is white and is wearing a black and white striped top underneath white dungarees, he has a mullet hairdo and glasses. Stephen is s white also and is wearing a grey suit and tie and has short black hair slicked to the side
Composite: Linda Nylind and Antonio Olmos/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

George and Stephen

It’s the 300th of January, you’ve decided the fairy lights on your balcony – in your new-build flat overlooking a Kwik Fit next to a dual carriageway – might as well become a year-round feature, and there is no such thing as good news. Thankfully, love, or the search for it, endures, and as it approaches its 15th anniversary, the Guardian Blind Date is still throwing together the UK’s singles and seeing what happens (usually nothing).

Today, your decorator and your bank manager have something very important to tell you about your plans for a new conservatory.

George is white and is wearing a black and white striped top underneath white dungarees, he has a mullet hairdo and glasses. Stephen is s white also and is wearing a grey suit and tie and has short black hair slicked to the side
Composite: Linda Nylind and Antonio Olmos/The Guardian

OR this is George, 27 and a doctor, and Stephen, 26, who works in sales. It’s like when MC Skat Kat and Paula Abdul made that song about stealing duvet covers off each other, isn’t it?

– spoiler ? – and then return here for some choice cuts. Yes, I mean cuts.

George | Stephen
What were you hoping for?
Troye Sivan. Or in the event of his unavailability, a fun evening out with someone silly and up for a laugh.

Troye Sivan? Hmm, close.

What were you hoping for?
Someone I could have a lovely evening with. Worst-case scenario: we both laugh at the fact we signed up to do this.

Oh I think you will find the worst-case scenarios on a GBD tend to get a lot worse than that, Stephen!

First impressions?
Cute. He’d also ordered me an Aperol spritz, ready for my arrival. Slay.

I am old enough to remember when ‘slay’ meant something. A drag queen doing a death drop from the ceiling. Beyoncé and Lady Gaga poisoning customers in a diner in the Telephone video. Popstars and actors and models and other assorted hot people – or even if they weren’t hot, confident – doing things that took your breath away. Ended you. Gagged you. Fast forward to 2024, and someone ordering you the second-worst cocktail known to man – liquidised carpet beetles with undertones of chewed-up dental appointment card for root canal surgery – is now a SLAY. George. Come along.

First impressions?
Unapologetically himself, charming and smiley. I was not a fan of the mullet, however.

‘Unapologetically himself’ feels like one of those pens you used to be able to buy that changed colour if you scribbled over them with another pen. It’s a compliment and a dig at the same time. Charming and smiley! Lovely. “Not a fan of the mullet” – then don’t get one, Stephen. And don’t overlook its uses. Something to grab onto.

What did you talk about?
Him living abroad. My dislike of Monopoly. Theatre highlights. The loss of queer spaces. Spotify Wrapped.
Work. Hobbies. Partying. Travel … the usual first-date conversation suspects.

Him living abroad/travel – ✅

Dislike of Monopoly – YES GEORGE. I hate that game. Landlordery remodelled as a leisure pursuit. The Venn diagram of people who go on Homes Under The Hammer, paint their purchase magnolia, throw in the cheapest kitchen units from B&Q and start talking about ‘yields’, and Monopoly enjoyers is a complete circle.

Theatre highlights – the interval? Maltesers in a box?

The loss of queer spaces – Some might talk about apps and the more open and accepting views on sexuality and the move away from labels negating the need for queer spaces, but the truth is there are now much fewer places you can be, as Stephen might put it, unapologetically yourself. People might mistake the function of gay bars or whatever as places to pull – and they can be! – but it goes much deeper than that. The fact is queer people are more likely to spend most of their childhood self-editing and hiding who they really are, and that doesn’t stop once you come out. Oh, I’ve been going to straight places for years, and even now, out of the corner of my eye, I will sometimes see someone – usually a straight man – clock me. And he might only look over for a second or two, giving me that quick sweep from head to toe, and it might lead to nothing, and be over, just a casual glance. Or he might nudge someone next to him, or another person might follow his gaze, and they might hear me laugh, or notice that the pitch of my voice is slightly different, and I will become that person’s irrational hate figure for the evening. I can pretend to ignore it, or dial myself down a bit to see if I can find the magic level that will make them get bored and stare at someone else. Or I can feign a headache and leave, so I don’t ruin the vibe for everyone else. But I will have to do something to make me feel more safe. And that’s why we need queer spaces. To be ourselves.

Spotify Wrapped

Adele on SNL doing the wavy hand gesture to show that she's not sure about what someone has just said
Good table manners?
Impeccable, despite his pizza collapsing.
Diane from the second series of the traitors sips her tea in suspicion

Do people in their mid-twenties read this blog? Surely not. Anyway, double impeccable, our Diane is smiling a rat.

Best thing about them?
Excellent chat. The evening flew by and it didn’t feel at all awkward.
What you see is what you get, and he can hold a conversation very well. It’s rare to find that mixture in a person.

But isn’t this LOVELY? Conversation FLOWING like watery Coke – ‘it’s Pepsi, is that OK?’ – out of a drinks gun at your local. We can ignore yet another “magic changing colour pen” compliment from Stephen on the ‘what you see is what you get’ front, and whatever mixture he’s talking about. (Is it rare to have a ‘what you see if what you get’ person who can also hold a conversation? I have no idea. I haven’t talked to a stranger since I last bought three mitsubishis in Wilkie House in 2001.)

Would you introduce Stephen to your friends?
We already share plenty of mutuals and I’d happily introduce him to the rest.
A screenshot from EastEnders showing Sharon Watts looking on in horror as something horrible happens, while subtitles say 'sirens blare'

This is very nice and everything but also extremely depressing. Plenty of mutuals! Great but… argh. Can’t you go anywhere with a clean slate anymore? Is it now impossible to be a surprise? You can look anyone up on Instagram, join any number of WhatsApps, and Shagatha Christie your way to finding out all sorts of personal details about people you fancy. I feel like one of those people who goes to Forties-themed nights and listens to the Puppini Sisters but there was something to be said about being a mystery of sorts. Not the horrible kind, like an escaped convict or charming fraudster, but the chance to make a proper first impression, and not ‘Oh he hides that chin well in all his posted selfies doesn’t he”. YES I DO, WHAT OF IT?

Describe Stephen in three words.
Cheeky, charming, funny.

CHEEKY, like a Nando’s.
CHARMING, like a serial killer in the 1920s who offed his victims by strangling them with silk scarves in the back of his Rolls Royce Phantom.
FUNNY, like the smell of damp washing in a hotel room.

Describe George in three words.
Funny, adorable, mullet.

FUNNY (again), like Michael McIntyre steadfastly refuses to be, ever.
ADORABLE, like a kitten in mittens on the lap of Fern Britton.
MULLET, like seriously Stephen we need to move on. Just yank it if he uses his teeth too much.

What do you think Stephen made of you?
Brave, for my mullet, zebra print and dungarees combo.

Actually what is interesting about the mullet is that I have now witnessed it be in fashion THREE times. And of course I had one, from late 2003 until early 2005, easily the worst hairstyle I have ever had. It got so bad toward the end, so huge and pineapple-like, that I have had to kill everyone who ever knew me during that period. The trick is never to go for your Saturday morning haircut with a hangover – thank you very much Toni & Guy on George Street, if you are still there.

What do you think George made of you?
Lord knows! Probably that I’m a chatty person who does a Mickey Mouse job in sales while he actually saves lives.

You might save lives too, Stephen! Depends on what you sell. If you flog Carmex, or hair products, or nasal spray, or baked apple flavour skyr, then guess what, you have saved my life on numerous occasions.

Did you go on somewhere?
We did. To a pub up t’hill.

I haven’t got time to go into the whole ‘writing people’s dialect as phonetics’ argument but, politely, don’t do this. (This doesn’t even work, that’s not how a northerner would say it!)

Did you go on somewhere?
The local pub, where he got hit on by a drunk man, to round off a lovely night.

See, Stephen, that mullet is a bat signal. Do not ignore it, lest others answer the call before you.

And … did you kiss?
Yes. He went for peck on the cheek, but took the hint to follow it up properly.
After such a wonderful evening, it would have been rude not to.

A graphic from a computer game which shows a picture of a huge hole in the wall, and the caption enter whole? Yes or no

Marks out of 10?

I’d usually expect a snog and such good conversation to be a 9 but then again I once saw someone review ‘Rebecca’ and say it was ‘amazing’ and give it 2 stars out of 5 so what do scores mean, anyway? Good luck to them both. I mean, mullet x side parting couples combo? It’s giving:

A screenshot of an interview with Paul mescal and Andrew Scott publicising the film all of us strangers
Would you meet again?
We are planning to.
We swapped numbers and socials. Let’s see what happens with that.

Stephen’s magic pen optimism/pessimism strikes again but I reckon this rainbow duo has legs. Matching mullets by the close of 2024? I wouldn’t rule it out.

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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. Can you learn to live with the mullet?

Stephen and George ate at Berberè, London NW5. Fancy a blind date?


  1. Love a good Justin moment first thing on a Saturday! I wonder if he commented so much on the mullet ON the date. Sounds like doctor guy was a lot more interesting than that!

    Thanks for the laughs 🙂

  2. I have never met anyone who admitted to liking Monopoly.

    Always felt that Buccaneer better reflected Cameron’s rentier spivs. Shiver me timbers, avast there ye lubbers, aaaar!!, etc…

  3. Almost 15 years of GBD: Is there a record of the earliest occurrence of “Impeccable” in response to the “Good table manners?” question? I like to imagine that person reading each entry on this blog and thinking “I started that,”….

  4. Great defense of queer spaces, Justin. And I would never have put these two together from the pics. So was really happy they had a great time! Oh… Paul + Andrew. Still feeling it and I sqw the film 7 days ago now.

  5. I, myself, am dedicated to a black & white top, so I admire that George has two different stripy options to go under the dungarees.

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