Impeccable Table Manners

Guardian Blind Date Review 2015: A summer of love


There is no new Guardian Blind Date review this week, for I am away in the city of love itself, Paris!

Instead, then, and with more than a pang of guilt that this is two weeks in a row without any fresh #content, here is another ‘Best Of’ collection, taking in July, August and September – a veritable summer (and autumn, OK) of love and mercifully few impeccables.

Edina and Jonathan (pictured)

edina talk about

“His activities, my lack of activities.” Nothing worse than finding yourself on a date with Surbiton’s answer to Bear Grylls when you’re the kind of person who considers switching over to something else in the half-hour gap between Corrie episodes on a Monday to be quite adventurous.

It would be easy to mock Edina’s passion for being a librarian, a job many would probably imagine to be very boring. But if you think about, Edina has been dying to tell people to shut up AND GET PAID FOR IT since she was 17. That’s a burning ambition I can truly get behind.

jona friends

Oh yeah? Friends with a pack of werewolves are we? Close pals with everyone on the serial killer wing at Broadmoor? Did you go to school with a rare strain of small pox?

I doubt very much, Jonathan, that Edina would be scared of any of your golfing, “just the one, I’m driving”, cheese-and-biscuits pals.

Edina is a librarian. Do you know what kind of people you find in a library? All kinds. All fucking kinds. People who hide sandwiches in books or talk loudly on their phone RIGHT NEXT to signs telling you to be quiet. She has caught people fucking in the toilets, smoking weed in the agriculture section and has almost certainly read unflattering graffiti written about her in the study room. Edina has met every soulless, thankless, rude, gross human you could ever even think of. She could handle your mates. Trust me.

joina made of you

“Appreciation” of the wines. This means Jonathan couldn’t just sit there and quietly get wrecked while Edina told him about the complex photocopying credit system she’d introduced, he had to wang on about the wine each time he sipped it.

I like my wine in three types: Under £9.99; Over £9.99; Champagne.

Any other amateur sommelier bleatings are utterly wasted on me.


Max and Grace

grace talk

I have some friends who went to university in Hull and look back on it very fondly. I can’t find the right GIF for this part so just imagine one. Any GIF at all, doesn’t matter. It’ll work.

“Max’s love of shopping” – the more this date goes on, the more Max sounds like that fabulous gay BFF you’ve been waiting for all your life.


? for the Cilla reference. Well done, chuck. I hope it was proper champagne. None of your cheap plonky fizz for the terror in 1A.

max meet again

Somewhere up there, in the fluffy marshmallow clouds of the hereafter, Cilla has excitedly put down her glass of champagne and her harp, made her excuses to her hostess Princess Diana, and is tottering over to Heaven’s very finest milliner because, viewers, “Isn’t it lovely when they get on?”


Martin and Samantha

samanatha friends

I have never, ever understood why someone would point-blank say that they’d never introduce someone to their friends. Why wouldn’t you? What’s so special about your group of acolytes that puts them a cut above?

I’m sure even your cabal of deep-thinkers and trivia experts wouldn’t mind having a pint with Martin. If you have the kind of friends who wouldn’t welcome someone new, whatever their story, maybe you need to rethink your social circle.

This is not the Algonquin Round Table. You’re nobody. We’re all nobody. Until others treat us like a somebody, at least

samantha change


A suit? On a first date? He works in IT. They wear suits to funerals and speeding-fine court appearances and that’s it.

Maybe Martin was super cazh and arrived in a onesie – I don’t know. You have the rest of your life to stare lustfully at Foxtons’ basics in suits, Samantha. Your twenties should be spent being pressed up against the doorbell of your flat kissing away whisky fumes with someone you shouldn’t be in inappropriate, unlaundered denim.

martin meet

The answer to the brain-teaser, Martin? Why I have it here. It’s: “Who gives a fuck? Go back to sleep. It’s 5am.”


Martin and Ola

ola first

alexis look up and down

As Destiny’s Child would say, Martin: “Here’s your papers, baby, you are dismissed”.

martin bfriends

The online dating world is minuscule. All the same people are on all the same sites and apps. Log in after six months away from a dating site – perhaps after a rather boring yet sexually adequate fling with one of Martin’s friends – and you will see the same old faces, each bio more depressing and lame than the last.

They should clear out all that meaningless text, all the “I like going out and staying in” and the erroneous colons and double spaces after fullstops and wittering and replace it with “Yes, I am still here. You may as well date me now to save time later”.

Anyway, who gives a shit whether Ola dated Martin’s friend? I hope she screwed him on Martin’s desk.

martin go on

Apart from remembering your mother’s birthday, show me one thing more important than waking up on a weekday on the wrong side of town, your mouth dry and groin tender, absolutely dripping in last night’s sex with a perfect stranger. Impossible. Il n’y a rien.


Philip and Elaine

elaine hoping for

Elaine has the world-weary air of a singer in a late-night cocktail bar in 1982, lamenting lost loves and shattered dreams through half-closed eyes to an audience of drunk, ugly businessmen who are all going to try to come on to her as soon as she finishes the last bars of The Man I Love.

She has been on boring dates, she has listened to in-depth assessments of the best way to put up an Ikea wardrobe and she has pretended to like Led Zeppelin just so she doesn’t have to ask a man about his day. She. Is. Done.

elaine introduce

doctor who cry

Oh, Philip.


Leon and Sue

leon talk aboiut

“Her work summer party” – I could feel my eyes glazing over there, even from the safe distance of my sofa a full week after the date has actually happened. PAs work incredibly hard, I know, but nobody wants to hear about that big do you’ve organised for your overweight, adulterous bosses.

“Zorb football” – I’m not even Googling. I don’t care.

sue table

“I was too busy recounting, in mind-numbing detail, how hard it is to acquire an ice sculpture of our company logo (two arrows whooshing beneath the word ‘SYNERGY’) at such short notice for my work summer party.”


Hannah and Scott

hannh talk about

The sax, it appears, has replaced the ukulele in the hotly contested category of “favourite instrument for men to learn while staring long and hard into the abyss of a midlife crisis”.

scott talk about


So this is how it feels on the other side of the looking-glass. Sixth in a list of topics below university and baking (something about how amazing Mary Berry was, no doubt) and one above James Bond. I’ll take that. Excuse me while I go call my mother.

scott best thing

It appears that just out of sight, Hannah was hand-rearing some lambs under the table and pausing every 10 minutes during the meal to donate to charity.

Don’t know if I’d want someone to describe me as “warm and caring” on a date, like I worked in a old people’s home or something. Anyway, I doubt they ever would, for I am neither.


Kirsty and Alex

kirsty thing

A businessman in a denim jacket? “Yo babe that’s cool I’m down with that uh huh yeah, fancy a few drinks on the balcony of my luxury flat above a Tesco Express?”

alex thing

If you go to a self-checkout machine, perhaps the one in the Tesco Express below Alex’s flat, and ask it what it likes the most about you, this is what it will say.

alex 3 words

The absolute state of heterosexuality in 2015, though.


Ricci and Roger

There are lots of misconceptions about gay men out there. That we’re promiscuous, spending alternate weekends at chillouts, spangled out of our nappers on meth. That we all love Kylie. That we’re freakishly tidy.

But the biggest one of all? That we’re all interesting.

Oh how I’ve enjoyed, over decades of existence as one of the most boring people on Earth, watching people’s faces fall after talking to me for longer than five minutes.

Not only do I have nothing to say, I won’t even bother filling the dead air between us with small talk. I’ll just leave you there, dangling, praying for an anvil or a piano to fall from the sky and end this hell for us both.

roger kisdd

Oh, I’ve often been reeled in by the promise/threat of a “quick goodbye kiss” only to be manhandled and pressed against the wall while my date’s tongue goes full “octopus on its first day in a pole-dancing job” around my unsuspecting mouth.

If straight people did “a quick goodbye kiss” like gay men did, you’d all be pregnant 24-7-365.

roger change

It is poor form to slate another gay man’s dress sense to his face and I would say this column counts as face-to-face.

There is a group of guys I once met who have a system where, if they feel one of their friends has worn something that perhaps doesn’t look very good on them or isn’t particularly ‘suitable’, rather than show them up and make them feel self-conscious while they are out on the town, they will, the next day, send an anonymous postcard to their house. Upon the postcard will be just one word: MUTTON.


Sam and Milly

sam after

milly after

This answer perfectly sums up  the differences between the two. Sam “watched the lightning”, Milly “had a few jars”.

Milly sounds great, really. Convivial. I bet she doesn’t take off her makeup before she goes to bed, booms at people to move down the Tube in rush hour and stubs fags out in coffee cups. Has a bad date? She shrugs. Gets chips on the way home. Laughs with her mouth wide open. She will always have chewing gum and she will always offer it to you in times of crisis.

Sam… well. Sam watched the lightning.

milly meet again

This seems like a sweet sign-off from our Milly, but it’s a scorching hot BURN and if you can’t recognise this,  you need to get schooled.

Got an enemy you’d rather see drown in custard than succeed but you’re just too classy to call them out? No problem – just say you “wish them well”. It’s “fuck you” in furs.

“My date was a dreary manchild who bored me to cardboard about his job, tutted his way through all my smoking, whinged about holding my glass, moaned about my swearing, pointed at the lightning with his mouth open, and said I looked OLD – but I wish him well.

Course you do.



Vikki and James

james awkward

bitch please anne hathaway


Owen and Marina

marina best thing

If I were a basic bitch I’d say something here about herpes being contagious too but I’ve got more class than that so let’s just say Marina here seems like she really wanted to answer, “Owen’s cackle sounded like a fire in a pet shop”.

owen meet

Oh OWEN. Sweetheart.



Julie and Dorothy

dot awka

And the worst thing was, I suppose, at the end of this conversation, Dorothy couldn’t suddenly throw her head back in raucous laughter and claim she’d been “joking all along” and it wasn’t actually canals she liked but pulling off million-dollar jewellery heists with a 12-strong pack of sexy Amazonian bikers.

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 this may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena. I am sure, in real life, they are cool people. I am critiquing the answers, not the people themselves. If you are the couple in this date and want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. Oh, and I promise: business as usual next week.

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian.


No Comment

  1. At least you’ve got a reasonable excuse this time.

    I thought you’d covered every possible faux pas with acerbic verve, and that I may as well read your back catalogue whenever I needed a fix. Until I read this week’s date.

    Perhaps you could drop your thoughts on that into the comments at some point?

    More importantly, I trust you’ll have fun in France.

Leave a Response