Now that 2024 has woken up, had its first ciggie, and finally chucked the Christmas tree out onto the pavement, let’s delve back into the broken hearts and dashed dreams factory that is the Guardian Blind Date. This week cybersecurity engineer Jayson, 26, meets fundraising and events manager Eleanor, also 26, in one of those small, local restaurants in a loft-conversion/double-basement heavy neighbourhood where main courses are inexplicably £28.
Read the full version of the date (nothing happens, really) on the Guardian website so that they get the clicks and the advertising revenue and then return here to my blissful, ad-free pages where I’ll give their answers several blows to the head with a blunt instrument.
Jayson | Eleanor
A very nice and easygoing person. She was welcoming and a pleasure to talk to.
He was tall and had a really kind face.
The two definitions of ‘first impressions’ here. Jayson’s is an overall, end-of-date first impression, and Eleanor’s is the instant reaction. Which version of a first impression you find more useful can depend. Jayson’s round-up, like he’s just reviewed Toy Story 4 on Letterboxd, is informative, but a bit of a spoiler, in many ways. If the date had been more romantic, perhaps he wouldn’t compliment her as if she was the ‘nice lady on the mobility scooter desk at Asda’. However, there are worst reviews to read about yourself.
Eleanor’s first impression is my preferred one, the first thing that pops into your mind, because there’s generally more opportunity to say something borderline insane. However, Eleanor’s first impression is more akin to what a toddler would say about their teacher on their first day at nursery or wherever it is you send your children when you’ve had enough of them. No idea.
What did you talk about?
Eleanor’s work at a local charity and her passion for fundraising. I was very impressed with how she travelled across Asia on her own at a young age. Travelling. Food. Horror films/TV shows. Family.
Work. Holidays. TV we watched as kids. Jayson’s passion for streetwear. Our shared love of horror films.
Horror films ✅
Okay, so they are both very good at remembering what they talked about.
I was very impressed with how she travelled across Asia on her own at a young age – I am impressed too, if she was seven.
Jayson’s passion for streetwear – I think we might have a sneakerhead here! Is that good? I don’t know, I have never collected anything other than enemies and dust.
Most awkward moment?
I didn’t drink any alcohol or eat a full meal. I’d had a very late breakfast and I’m in training – so perhaps that mismatch was a bit awkward.
Me dining solo. He wasn’t hungry because he’d had breakfast at 3pm!
Before we go all in on this, from the other answers it seems that Jayson is probably marathon training, which I’m sure we can all agree is very admirable and it might be for charity so… you know.
However, there is ‘very late breakfast’ and… having breakfast at 3pm. I think even a freshly awoken Dracula might consider 3pm a bit late for yoghurt and blueberries. I’m not comfortable speculating about the eating habits of others because this stuff is very personal but a meal you eat at 3pm is lunch, I feel, and a fairly late one at that. I mean, I would even accept ‘brunch’ at a push – but maybe straight men don’t say that? Can they say it? Does it stick in their throats, like ‘sorry’ or ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ll leave you to it’?
Did he have bacon and a dippy egg? Coco Pops? Maybe he’d just got up. Working nights? I don’t know, I really don’t.We’ll need Jayson to write in.
I can’t speak for this date because I wasn’t on it, but I never really enjoyed the ‘no, you go ahead, I’m not hungry’ kind of date. In fact, I hated them. Like, why are you here? Is this your kink? To watch a stranger demolish a burrito? It’s no fun having an audience while you tussle with your Singapore noodles, your chewing motion scrutinised, all those minor filthy eating habits you were vaguely aware of suddenly magnified to surround-sound IMAX levels. Did you know you gently lick your lips after every bite? WELL NOW YOU DO.
Good table manners?
He didn’t eat much or drink anything, so I’m unsure about his table manners.
Would you introduce Eleanor to your friends?
Yes. She is a funny person with a great personality.
But Jayson seems lovely so perhaps we can forgive him not wanting to eat. I actually lowkey love it – I’m just imaging the histrionics in the kitchen. ‘He doesn’t want ANYTHING?’
Describe Eleanor in three words.
Open-minded, family-oriented, positive.
OPEN-MINDED, like someone who’d pop a finger in.
FAMILY-ORIENTED, like someone who’s looked up Granny’s house on Zoopla.
POSITIVE, like your coworker trying to make the best of that post-Christmas coldsore.
What do you think Jayson made of you?
I think he found me rather unserious and wild, especially when I had my third solo spicy margarita.
In her ‘three words’ Eleanor calls Jayson ‘serious’ which I now translate as ‘sober’. Drinking three margaritas isn’t unserious, and it certainly isn’t wild. It’s just drinking as a coping mechanism because the man opposite you hasn’t eaten a thing. And who can blame her. Wild, though?! Quick, somebody take Eleanor to Fire in Vauxhall on a Sunday morning.
If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Perhaps I would have had breakfast earlier, so I could have eaten a meal with Eleanor.
Jayson, love, yes, I think that might have been a good idea. This is the one time I will accept food regret as a valid answer to this question.
If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
That we could have shared a few small plates and sampled more of the menu.
A food sharer! Maybe Jayson had a lucky escape! Only joking, I feel for Eleanor here. I mean… how can you bond if not over how nice (or horrible) the food is? I bet by the end Eleanor was holding out a breadstick saying, ‘please, for me, please’
Marks out of 10?
Or, as I call it, ‘thanks for coming, bye’
Would you meet again?
Unfortunately, no. We had a great time but I don’t think there was a spark.
I don’t think so. We are very different people, with different priorities in life.
These answers are so unintentionally hilarious, I don’t feel I need to write anything, other than: no shit!
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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. Jayson, we need to talk. What did you have for breakfast?
Eleanor and Jayson ate at Brooke, London SW4. Fancy a blind date? Email email@example.com
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dearest, oldest friend in the world (in time we’ve known each other, not age), Nina. ❤️