According to a long-forgotten duet between Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera, ‘nobody wants to be lonely’. I dare say Ricky and Christina may not have been aware of the joy of dropping £9.99 on an ‘any pizza, any size’ deal in Domino’s and tanking the lot, solo, in front of a C-list Netflix comedy, nor had they fired off an email to the Guardan’s in-house cupids and demanded a free dinner at a semi-swanky ‘eatery’. If they had, perhaps they might have bene willing to give loneliness another go.
This week we have Henry, 24, according to my sheet, and 30-year-old Chloe. Henry, named after ONE of the eight kings by that name – fingers crossed it wasn’t the syphilitic wife-killer, eh? – is a consultant and semi-professional poker player (I assume not at the same time, unless Deloitte & Touche have installed a casino behind the staff snacketeria) and Chloe is a doctor. Look, at least they don’t work in PR.
Here they are:
Read the Guardian’s version of events and then let’s reconvene to see if we can, somehow, make things more exciting!
Henry on Chloe | Chloe on Henry
What were you hoping for?
Exhilarating beauty and memorable energy.
I must say, I like the surge in popularity for using the word ‘energy’ in this way. Up until a few years ago, it would only have been yoga instructors, THC dealers, and blond trustafarians who kept crystals in their glove compartment who would use ‘energy’ like this, and to those not keeping up to date with linguistic trends it must sound like the rest of the world is in a Duracell commercial. But I like it when language evolves. It can be hard to see words and expressions you love fade into obsolescence but there is no need for your mind to follow them there.
What were you hoping for?
Laughter and attraction in equal measures.
A deconstructed ‘we want plates‘ kind of Blind Date, perhaps, with laughter in a conical flask, attraction served in a beechwood goblet, and a side order of ‘spark’, which comes as a greasy smear on a reclaimed dustbin lid.
BINGO. Love this as an expression too, but… do people still say it? Henry is three grandmothers standing on each other’s shoulders beneath a taupe rain-mac, en route to the local Mecca Bingo.
Intimidation. He was reading Ovid.
Sorry, but I had to google. A lot of the space in my brain is taken up by Eldorado storylines, the lyrics of Rachel Stevens album tracks and Pauline Mole quotes. Poor Ovid got evicted long ago. Anyway well done everyone on being very clever.
What did you talk about?
Beloved news outlet the Guardian, public schools, wine (we know nothing), the rest of the clientele, energy, olive farms, A&E, Martin Amis.
Nationality envy, climate doom, energy, expat life, poker, cougar logistics, what was free on the menu.
Olive Farms would be a good drag name.
So would Martine Aimless.
Energy gets another mention and is a double ✅✅. Is Henry a car battery on his mother’s side?
A&E, the Goldfrapp track I presume oh no hang on Chloe is a doctor.
Nationality envy/expat life – I am sensing an Australian may be in the vicinity?
Cougar logistics – a six-year age gap may not seem much, but if one of you is reading Ovid and the other one struggles to follow a 15-second segment on Love Island, it may as well be six millennia.
What was free on the menu – I’m always amazed by how much of a grift the Blind Daters think they’re pulling off. Hello guys you literally agreed to be in a magazine in a national paper, waived the right to edit your words and don’t even get to choose the pictures – you are not the con artist, you’re the mark,
Any awkward moments?
I told the waiter that he had ruined salad for ever, since the one he gave me was so good. He thought I was just accusing him of ruining the salad.
Forrest Gump’s ‘momma’ was wrong when she said life was like a box of chocolates. It would appear life is actually a deleted scene from an episode of Frasier.
Any awkward moments?
My disbelief when I realised that the Guardian had set me up with a 24-year-old.
It’s not like he turned up in a school uniform and asked if you needed a spare battery for your hearing aid, Chloe.
Good table manners?
We were both clumsy, but the only person to spill a whole glass – sherry – was me.
I was pleased he is as clumsy as me. I think we spilt more wine than we drank.
The Earth is dying, please do not waste its natural resources. GOD.
Although this exchange is kind of cute.
Best thing about Chloe?
Tall, funny, attracted to me.
The best thing about Chloe is that she is tall? Okay. The best thing. Perhaps Henry has been looking for someone tall enough to fetch down the Cointreau from the top shelf of the local off licence, I don’t know.
‘Funny’ and ‘attracted to me’, however, are very good things to say and this is great and despite their disrespect for wine and the fact they talked about far too many topics – seriously I refuse to believe they did anything other than shout tweets at each other – this is looking very encouraging and what could possibly go wrong?
Best thing about Henry?
He is generous with his laughter, which is louder than mine.
I think this is a very nice thing to say but imagine you were at the next table, or even three tables away, and trying to have a lovely quiet resentful argument with your partner, or perhaps read a PowerPoint presentation down the phone to someone (we all have our kinks) and these two strangers were dashing wine everywhere and laughing like hyenas? Horrible! I’ll wager that sinister, wispy-bearded French dude who hovers around the First Dates restaurant like a ghost who carries NDAs in his back pockets and looks like he wears speedos to funerals wouldn’t put up with that.
Would you introduce her to your friends?
She has already met the waiter.
Yes. I know he would hold his own.
It’s like they were knitted by a Radio 4 listener and sent into the BBC and now have their own ‘digital-only’ sitcom.
Describe Chloe in three words?
Spicy healthcare professional.
Again, we are watching language evolve here, so for anyone over… oh, say, 45 (I am 44 and still ‘young’ hahahahaha… sigh), who still says ‘cheeky Nando’s’ without a tinge of irony, spicy here does not mean what you think it does. Pick your favourite reinterpretation here.
Anyway, in a word, this is exciting.
Describe Henry in three words?
Confident, charming, charismatic.
Confident, like Gwyneth Paltrow adding a nought or two onto the end of the price of a jade face-roller on Goop, knowing it will sell out in seconds.
Charming, like the host of a dinner party who has yet to work out it was you who brought a) Liebfraumilch and b) dog poo in, on their shoe.
Charismatic, like the man who called you and somehow managed to get you to tell him your PIN (which he called a PIN number, which blindsided you because you wanted to correct him but felt unable to as he sounded so nice and… charismatic)
What do you think she made of you?
Henry you are SERIOUSLY Boris Johnson’s dad after spending two weeks straight face-down in a huge vat of Crème de la Mer.
Unless this is a direct quote from Chloe, of course.
What do you think he made of you?
According to his follow-up text, “very attractive and an excellent kisser”.
And… did you kiss?
Scores, then. Seems to have gone well. Kissing. ‘Banter.’ Lots of ‘energy’. We’re heading for 20, right?
Marks out of 10?
Sorry, hang on, some kind of technical error. Let’s check again.
Marks out of 10?
It is worth remembering that we cannot live our lives vicariously through two photogenic strangers and also that Chloe’s 9 is fair enough because, let’s face it, we all need somewhere to go. If you give a 10 on the first date, you’re saying it can never get better. This is Chloe saying that next time, don’t spill the sherry, and please a pop a quick Airwaves before you head in for the snog, it’s only polite.
Would you meet again?
I’m game for anything.
We have exchanged numbers, but I think likely only to meet for book club.
Perhaps something by Ovid! Wasn’t Hollywood Wives one of his? Don’t play it too cool for too long, though, you two.
And with that, I’m out.
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About the review and the daters: 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. Most of the things I say are merely riffing on the answers given and not judgements about the daters themselves, so please be kind to them in comments or replies. Please do not tweet horrible things about them. If you’re one of the daters, get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story; I’ll happily publish whatever you say. Henry, I will need to see your birth certificate.