Jordy has a shaved head and beard and is wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with a Renaissance painting on it and dark jeans. Luke is wearing a blue sweatshirt with flowers on it and paler jeans.
Composite: Linda Nylind & Graeme Robertson/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Jordy and Luke

What a week, huh? Let’s never speak of it again. But before we Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind the last few days – or should we go back and do the last few months? – let’s spend an evening with my fellow rainbow alphabet darlings Jordy and Luke. Jordy is 29 and works as a graphic designer, like every other 29-year-old in London who isn’t a Deliveroo driver, and Luke is 30 and a design consultant which sounds a little more grown up and like he has a few more Pilot 0.7mm pens littering his kitchen worktop. Anyway, here they are, as photographed in a very small room in the Guardian offices.

Jordy has a shaved head and beard and is wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with a Renaissance painting on it and dark jeans. Luke is wearing a blue sweatshirt with flowers on it and paler jeans.
Composite: Linda Nylind & Graeme Robertson

Read what happened in full on the Guardian website before returning here for a barb or two. Like Pablo Escobar cleaning the grouting in his shower room, let’s try and get them done in one line.

Jordy (left) | Luke (the other one)

What were you hoping for?
To meet someone who’s up for a laugh.

Judging by some of the abject miseries that tend to grace the thumbnails on Tinder these days, I suppose anyone who gives a mild smile at a Christmas cracker joke would count as ‘up for a laugh’ in the dating arena.

What were you hoping for?
A hot date with someone who shares my ambition to feature in the Guardian’s “most viewed” section.

Wondering for the first time what a hot date actually means. Sex? Ravishingly handsome? Sweating profusely because they just got off a packed Bakerloo line? Pocket full of chillies? No idea.

First impressions?
Good. He was chatty, had interesting opinions and suggested sharing food.

The police car light emoji

Suggested sharing food? Germ fetish.

First impression?
Handsome, smiley, pretty eyes.

Some grammar pedant will be along in a minute to tell us that this sounds like he’s saying his eyes were smiley and handsome but you know what, men? (It’s aways a man.) Maybe just don’t.

What did you talk about?
Our jobs in design. Family. The Velvet Rage. Gays. Luke being a film extra. Beyoncé. Living abroad. Languages (Luke speaks Spanish so he carried us through the food ordering). Exes. Turning 30.
The horrors and struggles of being gay. The joys and thrills of being gay.

Gays/struggles/thrills/joys ✅ – Occasionally out of nowhere I am jolted out of my regular state of obliviousness and remember with chilling clarity just how complicated and scary my life has been sometimes because of the fact that I am gay. It heartens me to know it is (ostensibly) ‘easier’ to be gay now in an allegedly safer and more switched on world, but then you look at what’s happening around us, and how fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community are being demonised and you think, well, nothing’s changed at all, has it? The people who so ‘generously’ afforded us the very basic of human rights love to remind us, with startling regularity, in national newspapers, TV shows, and as they pass us in the street, that these rights can be revoked at any time, that permission to be ourselves is something to be granted or withdrawn. It can make you feel quite heavy sometimes. But then there’s all the good bits like being wonderful and generally more attractive, interesting, and clued up about skincare and what Madonna’s up to (I am joking, please do not write in to say this doesn’t represent you) and it doesn’t feel so bad. We won’t be beaten, though. Not if we stand together.

Languages – I used to speak three foreign languages. Can you imagine? Now I can barely get through a sentence in English.

Exes – the worst thing you can speak about on a first date apart from politicians you fancy, football, your gap year, rising council tax, what really happened at the end of The Sopranos, and Dua Lipa’s dancing.

Turning 30 – I was so traumatised the day I turned 30, I wore the most horrible jumper I’ve ever owned. I don’t know what happened to it. Maybe I burned it.

Good table manners?
Very good – he topped up my wine. There was a spillage later on, but we were both a bit drunk by that point.

‘There was a spillage later on.’ I bet.

Sharon from eastEnders covered in cream
Good table manners?
We shared everything. It was like that scene from Lady and the Tramp.

woman holding a large sausage retches slightly

Best thing about them?
He’s up for a good time and very open to different points of view.
He is easy to chat to and he’s up for a good time. I love that he can navigate situations and varying depths of conversation so easily. Also (checks notes) he’s handsome, smiley and has pretty eyes.

Both of them are ‘up for a good time’! Is this collusion on their notes or, shock horror, two men who were open with each other on the first date rather than doing that dreary ‘hard to get’ or ‘I must remain mysterious to be sexy’ dance that so many tangle themselves up in. We don’t have long, just get on with it. Good for them.

Describe Luke in three words
Intelligent, friendly, fun.

Intelligent, like Miss Piggy going through Kermit’s bank statements to see if he bought Janice that new lipstick she’s been sporting.
Friendly, like Zara fitting room workers are until the very second they clock on for work.
Fun, like being in the middle of pressure-washing your drive way and seeing an enemy across the street and jet-blasting them until even their appendix is soaked through.

Describe Jordy in three words
Attractive inside’n’out.

Attractive, like Jonathan Bailey is. What do you think it’s like, waking up every day and being Jonathan Bailey? Can you imagine, even without being famous, the extremely f•cking good customer service you would get absolutely everywhere? Tbh, the main reason I wish I were more attractive is so shop assistants wouldn’t be so sharp with me. I am ugly but I can pay for this coffee and I always say please and thank you and I SMILE. Where are my flowers?
Inside’n’out, like a colonoscopy.

What do you think they made of you?
Knows nothing about wine.
Someone that can speak Spanish (I seriously cannot).

Both pretending to be dumb. It’s cute! They maybe saw it in a movie once.

Did you go on somewhere?
Yes, a queer place and then a bar. We went back to mine for a drink after that.
We went to a new queer space, then to a bar where we got the aforementioned slushies, before a final drink back at Jordy’s.

Villanelle in Killing Eve saying 'take me to the hole'

And … did you kiss?
We did.
We did.
Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development holding a drink and laughing with the subtitle reading 'cackling'
20th Century Fox Television

Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we get it done. Even if it went no further than this, it is still a victory for being GAY. We win.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I wouldn’t have spilled my slushie.

This is code. (Joke: he really did spill a slushie earlier.)

Marks out of 10?

There’s so much you can read into this but I’m not sure I can be bothered. That 9, though. An optimistic sign that there’s room for growth or… a point knocked off for not getting him a towel quick enough. Who can say? As for the 10, well, we love to see it. But do they love to see it, and by it I mean each other, again?

Would you meet again?
I would. We swapped numbers, so let’s see.
Yes. I think we said we’d see each other at a gay club night.

Hahahaha, not only do we get it done, we get it over and done with. If these plans were any vaguer they’d be Jeremy Hunt’s budgeting. Best of luck to them both. x

More from me

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

Buy Me a Coffee at

Subscribe to my best-selling weekly newsletter, The truth about everything*

My next novel LEADING MAN, is out 9 May 2024. It’s about a lovely young man who has spent his entire life in the shadow of his more outgoing and attractive friends and he starts to question whether they really have his back or have been holding him back. Cool, huh?

Here’s what a few incredible authors have said about it:

‘This is the gay rom-com we’ve all been waiting for – I’ve never read better!’ – Matt Cain
‘Unputdownable, deliciously cutting, darkly funny and wonderfully observed – Laura Kay
‘The writing is rife with Justin’s gorgeous trademark humour and I didn’t stop laughing – and then crying’ – Lucy Vine

I know! Pre-orders are everything – they dictate how well a book will do, how much shelf space it gets, how much attention critics will pay to it, how many copies bookshops will order, it is a huge deal and I want this book to fly because it is seriously the best one. What an I say? Buy it wherever you like – support an indie if you can! – but here are links to , Bert’s Books, Lighthouse Books and Amazon. And the cover is bright yellow and has a lovely tall man. Do consider it. Thank you. x

The cover of my fourth novel Leading Man which features an illustration of the main character on the cover and the title in large pink lettering plus my name underneath, and the caption

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 get the slushie stain out?

Luke and Jordy ate at Parrillan Borough Yards, London SE1. Fancy a blind date? Email


  1. Nothing makes me feel more like a 20th century boy more than the positive comments daters in these columns give to “sharing food”. Makes me realise that I wouldn’t thrive in this sharkfest (not that I was any more successful back in the 90s). / This date brought out the best in you, Justin. Thanks for the commentary. Yes, they sure got it done.

Leave a Response