Jamie and Molly
Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Jamie and Molly

In a week where we discovered that not only are cabinet ministers still having affairs like it’s the 1980s or something, they’re doing it pressed up against office doors, with all the eroticism of being frisked by a former halitosis champion in a hi-vis on entry to a local cheese-rolling festival, we must turn to the Guardian Blind Date for some good clean, magnolia sexual energy.

Hoping to give us slightly more of a sensation than a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and rather less than the emetic sight of two middle managers dry-humping each other in the photocopy room are Jamie, 30, and a student recruiter and Molly, 28, a charity worker.

Jamie and Molly as they appear in the magazine
Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

– well, I say ‘happened’, read their witness statements might be more apt – before we reconvene for a tongue-lashing.

Jamie on Molly | Molly on Jamie

What were you hoping for?
I had no expectations, but to enjoy an evening out. Last time I was in a restaurant was in 2020.

Not many of us have been in a restaurant since 2020 so this is relatable. Much more relatable than columnists screaming, ‘I just want to eat a meal that someone else has cooked for me!’ in one of their three spare bedrooms.

What were you hoping for?
An excuse to get out of my pyjamas. It wouldn’t hurt to find the love of my life while I’m at it.

Now that more people have been working from home for over a year, I wonder if it will mean fewer people telling me, on hearing that I work from home (usually), that it must be wonderful to sit at my desk in pyjamas. I’m always, like, did you mishear? I said I worked from home, not that I’m a character in a soap opera having a nervous breakdown in an episode with a lazy director. I don’t actually do this – except, ironically, on Saturdays, writing this blog.

First impressions?
She looks nice! We’ll have a good time this evening.

Nice! Too early to do shots? Okay, well how about you have an extra large bite of your breakfast brioche every time someone says ‘nice’ or ‘good’ or ‘pleasant’ or any other adjective you would ascribe to a weatherless day eating white-bread sandwiches (no mayo) as Radio 4 burbles away in the background just slightly too out of earshot to her what they’re arguing about on the Today Programme?

First impressions?
He was super willing to jump right in with no awkwardness.

Molly brought an inflatable paddling pool with her, clearly.

What did you talk about?
Politics, why Molly went into charity, existential questions and the amazing name of her cat, Abraham.
We kept it to small talk like Brexit, morality, gender inequality.

Politics/Brexit ✅ Still? In the year of our Lord Beyoncé 2021? Taking about not just politics, but Brexit? What is there left to say? Don’t you want to talk about something else? Anything?

Existential questions/morality ✅ Didn’t morality die as a concept the day we elected a balloon animal in a never-dry-cleaned suit to run the country?

Which Abraham do you think her cat is named after? Lincoln? Bible guy? Victorian cricketer Thomas? Someone else I got off Wikipedia? We’ll never know.

Any awkward moments?
I started a conversation with the people next to us who had lots of questions about what we were doing. Nothing more awkward than a stranger asking if you were nervous while you’re still on the date.
patsy from Absolutely Fabulopus scowling and or concentrating

Why would you do this? Fair enough if some Harold or Hilda from the next table starts sticking their neb in and asking if you’re on a date, or on your honeymoon, or whatever it is that straight people do when they can’t just read novels for excitement instead. But why initiate a conversation with the next table when you’re on a date? ‘Nothing more awkward than a stranger asking if you were nervous while you’re still on the date’ – apart from maybe striking up a conversation with them in the first place?

Also, if you’re out for dinner and it looks like the two people next to you are on a date, the correct thing to to do is nudge each other, mouth ‘I think they’re on a date’ really exaggeratedly like you’re in an am-dram production of a Carry On in Goldalming, then listen in for any clangers and, upon hearing one of them ask if the other has any opinions on the propriety of doing bicycle maintenance in a shared garden, tweeting about it. Have some decorum, have some panache! Don’t interrupt them – would you trot on stage halfway through The Mousetrap and ask Nigel from EastEnders ‘how do you think it’s going so far?’

However, I am going to let Molly off here, as after a year of lockdowns perhaps she, like many of us, is craving conversation so badly she would ask a self-checkout machine in Superdrug if it fancied a quick  250ml of Pinot Greege down the nearest All Bar One. Or maybe she’s into group stuff? Dunno.

Good table manners?
Amazing. I was definitely the barbarian: a year locked in seems to have removed all my table manners.

I’m starting to wonder if Molly was actually in prison, or caught in a bear trap for a year.

Would you introduce her to your friends?
Living in different cities may make that a bit difficult.

All buses and trains on Earth eradicated by covid, apparently.

Describe Molly in three words
Charismatic, pleasant and easy-going.

Charismatic, like someone with a clipboard doing market research outside a supermarket who reassures you that your choice of margarine makes you sound hung.
Pleasant, like turning the Febreze plug-in in the hallway up to 4 with your bra off.
Easy-going, like a waiter on their last day.

Describe Jamie in three words
Open, good-hearted, thoughtful.

Open, like your skylight in the bedroom, halfway through a torrential storm.
Good-hearted, like a little old lady collecting Yeokens so she can donate an adventure holiday weekend to the (loud) family next door whose children are always chucking tennis balls right into the heart of her geraniums. And she doesn’t even like yoghurt.
Thoughtful, like the little lad saving up money from his parents’ swear box to buy the old lady next door (who smells like yoghurt wtf) some new geraniums so he can smash them to bits all over again.

What do you think she made of you?
Hopefully she thought I was nice, and had a good time.
I think I came across as passionate and, hopefully, kind.

I have to say, for all my bitching, these two do indeed come across as nice and kind. We can’t hope for much more, really, not at the moment.

If it weren’t for social distancing, would you have kissed?
I don’t think either of us felt a romantic spark.
Someone dressed as a dolphin looking perturbed, from dating show Sexy Beasts
If it weren’t for social distancing, would you have kissed?
I don’t think so, but a hug would have been nice.

I can’t afford the inevitable copyright battle, but just imagine here that picture of Matt Hancock grappling with his aide’s bottom like he’s on the Generation Game trying to identify marrows blindfolded.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Nothing. It was perfect.

I mean, I probably could’ve done without the open forum with table six, but Jamie is a nice guy.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
As I got there first, I found myself at least a drink and a half ahead, which I think made him feel he had to drink faster. Drinking pressure is not a nice date feeling.

Does she mean she felt under pressure, or that he clearly was? He was probably drinking faster because he was nervous, or because it was free, or because he doesn’t have a corkscrew at home and can’t go to his local off-licence because of a previous altercation with the owner over the sell-by date on a bag of migraine-and-witchhazel flavour Doritos.

(This does shine yet another light on how weird our attitude to booze is. ‘Oh no, you have had one more drink than me; I simply MUST be as drunk as you otherwise this isn’t going to work.’)

Marks out of 10?
10. I had a great evening.
Martin and Roman Kemp on Celebrity Gogglebox looking at each other quizzically
Studio Lambert/Channel 4

I mean, lovely – nice, even – but a 10? Really? I guess it has been a long old lockdown.

8, solid date.

This seems more like it. I’d actually say 7, because there’s no spark but they didn’t want to kill each other. Also, I know we’ve all been through it but we need a moratorium on the word ‘solid’ appearing in the scores like this. The word solid together with a number is best left to the Bristol stool chart, okay? Unless you’re drawing comparisons and the whole night really was an absolute Type 6.

Hard to gauge where this is going to go for the last question. It feels, to me, like a meeting that could’ve been an email, but what do I know.

Would you meet again?
Sure. It would be nice to hang out at some point.

‘No worries if not.’

We did exchange numbers but it was more because that felt like the thing to do.

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The Magnificent Sons cover on an orange background with a quote from Adam Kay saying 'the storytelling is first rate'

About the review and the daters: 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, they seem very nice, so please be kind to them in comments, replies, and generally on social media. I will not approve nasty below-the-line comments. If you reply to my tweets about the date, please don’t embarrass yourself. 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. If you’re one of the daters, get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story. And do let me know if you’re staying in touch with the nosey bastards at the next table.

Jamie and Molly ate at Flora Indica, London SW5.

Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com


  1. I’m voting for Abraham Erskine, memorably if briefly played by Stanley Tucci in the first Captain America movie.

    We used to eat pretty regularly at one pub, and on at least 3 occasions saw a guy on an obvious first date. The same guy. The eavesdropping was amazing. With one of them we were pretty close to waiting until she’d gone to the loo and telling him we’d tell her he’d been abducted by aliens if he wanted to do a runner.

  2. Have you considered compiling a ‘three words’ dictionary of your definitions? Out for the Christmas market, in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner by the spring!

  3. Ew, Justin, ‘The Bristol stool chart’ so true, hilarious and gross at the same time. I’ll be having flashbacks all day???

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