Harry has dark hair and is wearing a checked shirt, dark trousers, white trainers. Jack also has dark hair but curlier, he is wearing a green hoodie, white trainers, dark trousers
Composite: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Harry and Jack

This week we’re in Sydney! Not literally, sadly. Perhaps in recognition that either I’ve scared off British single people from appearing in the Blind Date, or just to get some decent material from people whose lack of inhibitions allow them to wear shorts eleven months of the year, the GBD has widened its net to include our famously laidback pals down under, where the Guardian also has an office. Sydney is, of course, famous for the Opera House and Mardi Gras so hopefully this will mean that rainbow representation will once again rise and we’ll maybe get some light frotting while the shrimps sizzle on the barbie.

Taking their chances with me this week are Harry (left), 26, a supply planner, and Jack, 27, a dictionary editor. A dictionary editor! Now this is a JOB. Imagine the hours and hours of meetings deciding whether now is the time to allow BUSSY in the latest edition. Amazing. Anyway, here they are, dressed as if they were papped on their way to the 7 Eleven at 1am rather than summoned to a studio for a shoot.

Harry has dark hair and is wearing a checked shirt, dark trousers, white trainers. Jack also has dark hair but curlier, he is wearing a green hoodie, white trainers, dark trousers
Composite: Jessica Hromas

Read what happened on the date on the Guardian website before returning here for… whatever it is we’re calling this. A review? An analysis?

Harry (left) | Jack (the other one)

What were you hoping for?
To meet someone interesting without having to endure the trials and tribulations of online dating.

Imagine sounding this over it at 27, with a touch of Jane Austen fanning herself at a picnic to boot. I’m calling it now: sword fight chances are low.

What were you hoping for?
Chemistry so powerful they would have to evacuate the pub and send in a hazmat team.

Contender for my favourite answer to this question ever. Jack has come prepared. All is not lost.

First impressions?
I turned up early, so I was very glad he was on time.

Good lad. As regular readers may know (are you still out there) I believe in punctuality but arriving three minutes late is the optimum time for arrival because the other person is likely already here and you will get to make an ENTRANCE, which is very important. Remember to sweep in with a purposeful stride and a confident smile. Maybe brush your hair out of your eyes as you scan the room for them. What happens if you both arrive three minutes late? I don’t know. You both get stuck in the door and have a story to tell the group chat?

First impressions?
Tall, good-looking, shirt decidedly unbuttoned, and in possession of a great vibe. My doubts vanished.

A rather more descriptive and dare I say mildly lustful first impression than the one from Harry. I would love to know what constitutes a great vibe. I don’t think I have one. A skin forms on custard whenever I walk by it. Bloomed roses fold themselves away again.

What did you talk about?
Only Connect and the rise of Connections. Climbing. Fleabag and how Claire is the best character. A lucrative concept for a blind dates app.
Travel. Movies. TV. Music. Art. Board games. Bouldering. Comedy. Careers.

Climbing/bouldering ✅ – funnily enough, there is a key scene in my new book LEADING MAN, out 9 May, that takes place at a climbing wall . You should pre-order it and find out just how key it is. It’s got gay men in it!

Fleabag and how Claire is the best character/ TV/comedy ✅ – correct opinion

Most awkward moment?
Jack said his favourite cocktail was a bellini, which I misheard as a blini. Rest assured, he did not order a glass of tiny pancakes.

Dame Edna grimace

No harm to either of those lovely boys but exactly how chronically unwell must the patter have been for this to have been a standout moment? Let’s assume the rest of the date was delightfully smooth and they really had to search for an awkward moment because this is the kind of thing that those ‘Didn’t Happen’ losers on social media would be crawling all over just as soon as they’d dropped their kids back at their ex-wife’s house.

Most awkward moment?
The ambience when the DJ got going. We went from talking to half shouting.

Susan Kennedy in Neighbours puts her head in her hands

I’m sorry this might make me sound like an old bag but I am with them on this. However maybe the DJ heard you talking about Only Connect and decided the only way to rescue you was to whack ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ up to 11.

Best thing about them?
Easy to talk to, and a strong sense of self.
Effortlessly and unaffectedly friendly.

Look, it may not exactly be a face-off between the Archbishop of Banterbury and Bantersaurus Rex, but at least they’re not the usual sociopaths you get applying to be on this.

Describe Jack in three words.
Bright, genuine, friendly.

Bright, like the camera flash that goes off somewhere in the restaurant you’re sitting in – you’re not sure exactly where – right at the moment you were jamming your finger up your nose. You think about being in the background of someone else’s shot and ending up a meme (captioned ‘WHEN YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR DESSERT’) for at least a decade after the event.
Genuine, like the Pope’s Rolex.
Friendly, like a doctor’s receptionist on their last day before quitting to work in pest control.

Describe Harry in three words
Fun, curious, genuine.

Fun, like watching a wasp fly inside the can of Diet Coke in Rishi Sunak’s hand.
Curious, like someone setting up a Grindr profile who types, and then deletes, ‘into piss play’ at least seven times before putting it live.
Genuine, like, someone who is not fake, which seems to be a problem we are all concerned with, perhaps because of social media or whatever, but I am afraid nobody is truly genuine. You’ll get a version of a person presented to you and you must decide whether you are willing to accept it, or hope you can hold them into a slightly different iteration at some point. But for something truly genuine? Date a Picasso.

Did you go on somewhere?
No, it was a school night!

Kylie saying 'hold up'

Can I see your birth certificates? Are we in a new gay, Australian version of Get Out, and Harry and Jack are actually 72-year-old brains go-karting in these younger bodies? I mean, I suppose school wasn’t that long ago for either of them but you can’t be that institutionalised. Isn’t Thursday the new Friday (he said, quoting clichés from two decades ago)? Phone in sick! Get fired spectacularly! Or… just get home half an hour later than you’d like. Anyway, horses for courses but no manmade construct of time would ever stop me. Mind you maybe this is why I look twice my age.

Did you go on somewhere?
No. But after three hours of conversation and three kilograms of food, I was pretty content.

I hope you rounded the evening off with a lovely weak cup of tea, a scone (currants removed to avoid getting stuck under your dentures) and a Werther’s Original.

And … did you kiss?
I had half my meal stuck in my teeth. It would have been like sharing another entrée after dessert.

Kermit in a top hat, grimacing

Having once found an onion under my tongue that I definitely didn’t eat, I have to respect this.

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
The doof doof beats as we discussed social deduction board games were a little bit jarring.
A Friday instead of a Thursday.

Hahahaha. Oh, bless them. Truly.

Marks out of 10?
A very solid 7.

You know what else is solid. A Boxing Day turd. A seven is a 1, Harry, we all know.

Marks out of 10?
Eight. I think the full 10 should be reserved for love at first sight. Still, one of the best dates I’ve had.

Oh, darling.

Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost saying you in danger girl

Would you meet again?
I think so, I had a great time. Maybe more as friends.
Definitely – but we’re both going away soon. It might be a while.

In a soundproof booth, I hope. Good luck, boys. x


If you liked this, consider leaving me a small tip on Ko-fi.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My next novel Leading Man, is out 9 May and is apparently the best thing I’ve ever written according to early readers! Believe me, nobody is more surprised to hear that than me. Pre-orders are everything because they dictate how well a book will do, how much shelf space it’s given, how much attention critics pay to it, how many copies bookshops order, that kind of thing. I don’t care where you get it from – support an indie if you can! – but here are links to Waterstones, Bert’s Books, Lighthouse Books and Amazon. It’s a messy comedy about dealing with demons you didn’t even know you had. Here’s me unboxing the hardbacks!


Subscribe to my best-selling weekly newsletter, The truth about everything* for new writing from me, most of it free.

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. Did you REALLY think a bellini was a blini?

Jack and Harry ate at the Unicorn Hotel, Sydney. Fancy a blind date? Complete this form (Australia only) or email blind.date@theguardian.com


  1. The onion under the tongue comment made me cackle and groan in one. (“Cackle and groan” makes me think of U2, and I’ve no idea why?!)

  2. the onion under the tongue comment made me actually laugh out loud in my apartment, all alone – a very rare occurrence. Thank you!

Leave a Response