Impeccable Table Manners

Julie and Dorothy


I would hate to be psychic.

Imagine always knowing what was going to be for dinner, or who the killer was in Murder She Wrote, or that the man you married was going to bang somebody else before you’d even opened the last wedding present (a Dualit toaster, in a colour you don’t like).

But now I am slightly worried I may have ‘the gift’. As I opened my eyes (two, blue) this morning and reached for my iPad to see what today’s column would be like, I wondered why we’ve never had two women – at least not while I have been doing this blog in any depth.

For all the right-wing haranguing that us Guardian readers are a bunch of quinoa-knitting, refugee-loving, professional offence-taking lesbians, you never actually see any in the Blind Date column. Not often.

julie and dorothy

Well, grab a coaster for your cup as it is about to runneth over. Behold Julie, 25, a journalist and 26-year-old Dorothy who has orange hair and the very specific job title of deputy box-office manager. I’m guessing the actual box-office manager is quite insecure and phoned Dorothy before the date to make sure she gave her exact job title. Anyway, read what happened on the date before I go in, make nice and remind you all that it could be worse – Dapper Laughs could be writing this blog.

Julie | Dorothy
What were you hoping for?
That it wouldn’t be someone I already knew.

Ah, welcome to being gay in 2015. Thanks to the world shrinking minute by minute, with social media and dating apps and the dreary bar scene, the chances you will already know the person you’re going on a date with are quite high. And they usually all look at least five years older than their photos.

Someone who wasn’t a troll.

Rightio. I had a really long conversation with a colleague yesterday about the pronunciation of ‘troll’ and ‘trolling’. She pronounces it like ‘roll’ and ‘rolling’ whereas I think it should be like ‘doll’ and ‘lolling’. The hours flew by.

The new definition of a troll appears to be someone who merely disagrees with you and isn’t afraid to tell you, rather than the old reliable piece of shit on a message board who says they hope your children die or something, so it will be interesting to see where this one goes.

First impressions?
Easy to talk to and great hair.
Great hair, tiny bag.

Both liking each other’s hair is a good start, because if the night plays out in the best possible way, you’ll end up with rather a lot of it in your hands.

It’s a shame Dorothy couldn’t think of a few personality traits for Julie here rather than admire her handbag but maybe it really is ridiculously tiny. Snapchat or it never happened.

What did you talk about?
Teaching abroad, why half-pints should be illegal, queer politics, regular politics and, bizarrely, canals.

Why should half-pints be illegal? I love a half-pint. Not only do they mean I can have a little drinkie with Sunday lunch if I am feeling delicate and don’t want to be bloated and overwhelmed by a pint – which I can drink in about 90 seconds flat – but they also allow me to pretend I am a giant drinking a pint.

Queer politics. Oh well, somebody’s got to.

What did you talk about?
Travel, roller derby, cheap pubs in London, when food isn’t served on plates, canals.

Dorothy is into canals. This is actually quite normal. Almost everyone has a slightly odd, retirement-couple type of thing they’re into. I shan’t tell you mine because the perceived captivating personality afforded to me by anonymity is hanging by a thread as it is.

Food not being served on plates is quite a good first-date chat topic. I actually think most places do it now just to troll us and get shares on social media, so we can all bantz each other to death, tell pubs to get in the sea, or wherever, and post that GIF of Beyoncé pulling a pizza out of her hair. This one:


Any awkward moments?
When I convinced her I’d voted Ukip (not a thing I would ever do).

I am quite po-faced when I want to be and I do hate somebody pretending to do something that they know will get a reaction out of you. “Just kidding.” “It was a joke all along.” Ugh, kill it with fire.

Anyway, it looks like Dorothy has got her troll.

a troll

Any awkward moments?
When I talked about canals. And a drunk man sat in my seat when I went to the loo.

And the worst thing was, I suppose, at the end of this conversation, Dorothy couldn’t suddenly throw her head back in raucous laughter and claim she’d been “joking all along” and it wasn’t actually canals she liked but pulling off million-dollar jewellery heists with a 12-strong pack of sexy Amazonian bikers.

We are at table manners. Hold on to your hats.

Good table manners?
Better than mine, but she didn’t have to deal with a burger with half a pineapple on top.
She ate the half-pineapple on her burger with grace.

Can I just say I would never again go home with anyone who’d eaten a burger on a first date. I once went on a date with a man who had the face and body of a god – but wearing denim the colour of a urinary tract infection, sadly – and he ate a burger. I was picking onion and bits of cow out of my teeth for what felt like decades.

But, anyway, Julie has somehow managed to get a good table manners rating despite ordering a ‘Hawaiian’ and eating with her hands so Dorothy is either crazy in love or drunk or both.

Best thing about Dorothy?
She doesn’t believe in halves, either.
She agreed pints would go best with pudding. They did.

This vendetta against half-pints. The existence of halves doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a pint, you know. Have a pint, have two. But don’t come running to me when you only have room for a half, when it is the difference between you waking up tomorrow “a little fuzzy” or covered in your own vomit on the hard shoulder of the M25 in a car you have never seen before. I have hidden all the half-pint glasses. They are mine. You’re on your own.

Also: “Best thing about Julia?” That she’s actually called Julie, perhaps?

Describe her in three words
Funny, chatty, enthusiastic.
Chatty, clever, confident.

CHATTY. The Guardian Blind Date go-to when you can’t think of a third attribute to give them. It’s kind of unusual to get a double-chatty – usually it’s wheeled out by one half of the duo who wants to communicate the other person’s total lack of interest in anyone but themselves.

I always suspect ‘chatty’ is just a really pass-agg way of saying someone didn’t shut up no matter how hard you tried to interject, so this must have been like a crossed line or a good old-fashioned threadclash on Popbitch.

What do you think she made of you?
She told me I wasn’t a troll, so I’ll take that as a compliment.

I really need to know how these two pronounce “troll” – could you write in, please?

Anyway, despite a really weird potential disaster by pretending to be a Ukip voter, Julie escapes being labelled a troll, which is quite impressive really.

It should be a prerequisite on these dates that before you meet up, you have to tell each there your Guardian comments’ logins. I wonder how many people would turn up.

Did you go on somewhere?
To the pub for a pint.

We understand

And… did you kiss?
A lady never tells.
A wee peck on the cheek.

I have noticed an increase in power struggles and one-upmanship in the answers to the kiss question. It used to be the table manners answers where we’d get some real insight but in 2015, snogging is the weapon of choice.

Saying “a lady/gentleman never tells”, unless pre-agreed, is a bit of a dickmove, really. It suggests something has happened and, if your date answers differently, you make them look like a liar or a prude or someone who just can’t answer a simple question.

You’re in a magazine and have agreed to go on a date and answer questions about it. That’s all we ask of you.

Anyway, according to Dorothy it was just a peck on the cheek so Julie is obviously trying to make all this a bit more #content than it actually was. Bloody journalists.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I wouldn’t have given the impression that I’d vote Ukip.

LOL white people

Yes, I’d probably have workshopped that one a bit harder too, Julie. Oh well.

I wish I’d had a nap beforehand. I was knackered.

A nap. Canals. Is anyone else starting to suspect 26-year-old Dorothy is actually three little old ladies standing on top of one another under a raincoat? All of whom are actually called Dot?

I suppose she could’ve worked late in the box-office or whatever but I have never had a nap in my life and I am not about to start now.

They don’t mention it so maybe it didn’t happen to them but being stuck on a date with someone whose main pleasure in life is telling everyone how tired they are – see also: busy obsessives – is the absolute pits. Here, take this duvet. Go to sleep. I’ll be at the next table sliding into the DMs of everybody within a 10-mile radius.


8 (I had to take off a couple of points for the canal chat).
A solid 8.

Sooooo is Julie saying it would’ve been a 10 had it not been for Dorothy’s tales of the UK canal network’s proud beauty? Do we have some serious liking going on here?!

Would you meet again?
Hopefully. I have her number, so we’ll see what happens.

If only our Cilla were here to see this – she’d be tearing through the nylon hat department in BHS before you could say “our Graham with a quick reminder”.


Would you meet again?
I gave her my number, but don’t bank on wedding bells. We’d be excellent pub pals.

Oh well. Maybe you could meet for a PINT?!

Sadly, despite their loathing of halves, Julie and Dorothy find themselves in a couple that certainly has two very distinct ones. One that will, and one, well, that won’t.


Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian.

Note: All the comments I make are based on the answers the Guardian chooses to publish, which may have been changed by a journalist to make for better copy. The participants in the date are aware this may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena. I am sure, in real life, they are cool people. I am critiquing the answers, not the people themselves. If you are the couple in this date and want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 


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