Katie has dark hair and is wearing a silver-ish dress over a white T shirt; Will has light hair and is wearing a blue Oxford and blue jeans
Composite: Sophia Evans/Andy Hall for The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Katie and Will

It’s nice to be nice, they say. And I tend to agree. As exciting as it is to feel the adrenaline surge from having just verbally annihilated everyone in a ten-mile radius (but only if they deserve it), I must admit that the feeling of being nice to someone is much more satisfying. I mean, I’m still a bitch; I just smile while I’m doing it now.

This week, we have two nice people who say nice things about each other after a nice dinner and I suppose we can’t ask for much more than that. Well, we could – a lot more – but this is where we are so let’s meet them. Behold Katie, 29, who works in television, and Will, 35, a senior finance analyst.

Katie has dark hair and is wearing a silver-ish dress over a white T shirt; Will has light hair and is wearing a blue Oxford and blue jeans
Composite: Sophia Evans/Andy Hall for The Guardian

‘Works in television.’ Could be anything couldn’t it, from opening Holly Willoughby’s post (wear gloves, Katie!) to sitting on the top floor of the executive suite and slashing the hair lacquer budget for Loose Women. Either way, as I learned myself when I ‘worked in television’ a number of years ago, it’s a great way to get people to talk to you at parties. Just make up the celebrity gossip, they won’t care. As for ‘senior finance analyst’, I have no idea what that means but I’m sure it’s tonnes of fun. , before returning here for leftovers.

Katie | Will

What were you hoping for?
The closest I could get to being on First Dates – without making a fool of myself on television.

I am not a fan of First Dates, which tends to surprise people given much of my shtick has been writing about dating. Aside from a near-anaphylactic reaction to that man who hovers round the lectern like a wasp on a jelly, I hate that the whole thing is so twee and forced. The banter between the waiters, the phone calls in the toilets, the post-date interviews – actually, no I like those, because you can always see how drunk they are, trying to form their thoughts and not show disappointment through streaming Sambuca sweats. The first couple of series were perfect as they were very real, but now it’s overly scripted which, as it always does, has somehow made it more boring than letting daters just get on with it.

First impressions?
Anyone who arrives earlier than me immediately gets a gold star.

Katie likes to make an ENTRANCE. As I always say, to an increasingly uninterested audience, three minutes late is the optimum arrival time so they can get a good look at you as you sweep in like Sophia Loren strutting into the Greggs on Streatham High Road.

First impressions?
Katie was very friendly with great energy.

So is a lightbulb in a Disney movie.

What did you talk about?
How we both have friend groups that organise surprise trips for each other. How Irish men are funnier and more handsome (his words). How anyone without a vice is not to be trusted.My deep fear of turning 30.
Spicy v non-spicy margaritas. Niche dating apps. Rainy holidays in France. Coincidently, we discovered that we had both booked holidays for mates and only revealed the destination at the airport.

Surprise trips ✅ – I screamed (internally) when I saw this. I wouldn’t like this. Not finding out here you’re going until you get to the airport? I know some people love things like that (clearly, usually very outdoorsy people or the types who have costume birthday parties but don’t HIRE their costume or buy a flammable one off eBay like normal people, and instead get someone to lend them a dress from Dangerous Liaisons or something) but if I’m ‘surprised’ I feel cornered, unless it’s something I would definitely love. Please, please do not take chances. Obviously, this shows that our couple are both very thoughtful and generous and no doubt they know their friends very well, so hats off to them.

Niche dating apps – I assume they mean ones like Veggly (for vegetarians) and Tastebuds (for music bores) rather than Feeld (kinky, groups etc), Scruff (bearded queens), and Gelbe-Dusche (maybe run that one through Google Translate). I was watching a dating show the other night – the very charming I Kissed A Boy – and one of the contestants said they were ‘sick of the apps’ and it occurred to me just how long people have been saying that. AGES. Well over a decade. What’s the answer, other than taking holy orders? I don’t know.

Anyone without a vice is not to be trusted – No offence but I reckon my list of (now expired) vices are not the kind of vices they mean, and would no doubt send them running for the hills. It’s amazing to me how vices of any description somehow seem cooler when you’re young – there’s something a little bit sad about still being embroiled in them as you age. Ageism truly reaches its tentacles into every corner. My biggest vice now is Ryvita with a thick layer of butter on the bubbly side, like the kind of thing they’d serve you in prison and tell you it was cheesecake. Oh, and I add cherry choc granola to my ice cream.

My deep fear of turning 30 – *bitter laugh rings out*

Good table manners?
Better than me! I wasn’t going to try eating pan con tomate with a knife and fork, but Will did it gracefully.
Flawless on her part. I dropped a croquette.

Renee Zellweger sipping from a cup

Good proper ‘forgot how to eat’ table manners answers – we are back in a more innocent time.

Describe Will in three words.
Kind, adventurous and intelligent.

KIND, like a bumper sticker on a car says you always should be. Trouble is, the car belongs to [REDACTED].
ADVENTUROUS, like someone who buys a surprise ticket for a friend who has told you, many, many times, that they are afraid of flying. It’ll be fine, they say, you’ll be great, they say, just have a wee drink before you get on, come on, honestly. Cut to an hour later and you’ve been sick on their lap and are whirling through Duty Free like the demonic trees in ‘The Christmas Invasion’ episode of Doctor Who.
INTELLIGENT, like a pig leaving pithy comments under TV recap articles on Vulture.com

Describe Katie in three words.
Fun, chatty, confident.

FUN, like a hula-hoop salesman doing balloons on the Pride march.
CHATTY, like an old-school cleaning lady at the office you worked at in 2003, who smoked in the toilets and intimated that her husband may have robbed a post office in the 70s. She called anyone with short hair ‘young man’ (regardless of gender) and would tell you about her dreams of dancing at the Moulin Rouge as she swept the debris from the toaster crumb tray into the bin.
CONFIDENT, like the Guardian Saturday editors scheduling a straight pair of daters for the first week in Pride Month.

And … did you kiss?
No kiss: we said goodbye on the train and the fluorescent lighting wasn’t quite the vibe.
Just a hug goodbye.
Fleabag looks at camera

I… I don’t think it was the lighting that was the problem. Although… what would happen if the world were lit nicer? As someone with horrible skin and a face like a dropped pie, I can probably blame lighting for a lot of my dating woes. It doesn’t help that most pubs and restaurants are lit like prestige dramas on Netflix, with one candle for every ten tables, and then you find yourself in the Tube station or the train, which has the charmless glare of a drive-thru KFC. I know we need good lighting for health and safety reasons, but just once I’d like a lightbulb to go on somewhere and not have it send whoever I’m talking to rearing back as if they’ve just opened a Jiffy bag of ricin.

Marks out of 10?
8. There wasn’t that spark but I had a really fun time.

No spark. Of course, if you really want to make a spark, you have to rub things together so it’s a bit of an old chicken-and-egg innit? Sad story.

Would you meet again?
Of course – probably as friends, it would be fun to reminisce on this experience.
Would you meet again?
Unfortunately not – the spark just wasn’t quite there.

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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. Exactly how long are these flights that you’re booking for your friends?

Katie and Will ate at Aqua Nueva, London W1. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com


      1. I add nut granola and almond flakes to mine, delicious. Also, in my opinion, calling eating Ryvita with butter a vice is like saying at a job interview that your biggest flaw is being a perfectionist. Anyway, a great text, as always. Reading your column is my sacred Saturday ritual.

  1. How else would any person of taste and discrimination eat Ryvita? Isn’t that what the butter holes are for?

    Except, and I realise some lost souls may disagree, by adding a smidge of Marmite to the buttery goodness.

  2. This is my first bias cut slip dress over tshirt sighting of the 90s revival.

    Surprise destinations sound appalling. How does one pack? I’d need to be given such explicit instructions (should I wax? Do I need waterproof SPF or just my usual?) that it would take the fun out of it for everyone.

  3. “Surprise trips – I screamed (internally)” – Who cares about their table manners??? We must stand strong against those people.

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