Impeccable Table Manners

Lucy and Jamie

Lucy, a teacher, and Jamie, an assistant TV producer, have a comforting, familiar look, don’t they? They’re the kind of couple who always get picked to be on Blind Date. Young, but not young enough to be off-putting to older readers; aspirational, but still with a few rungs of the ladder to climb.

I predict jokey answers, an unwillingness to say anything of any depth and a table manners quirk or two. Read what happened on the date before I take a closer look.

Lucy | Jamie
First impressions?
I knew he was trouble when he walked in.
I spotted her great hair across the room.

Told you. Ooh, a song lyric. Always good to give absolutely nothing away apart from the fact you’re too scared to say anything nice or mean. It’s a boring answer dressed up as an interesting answer. Even Taylor Swift herself wouldn’t bother. Anyway, great.

Jamie’s answer is another dull thud masquerading as a sharp zing. It would be funnier if it weren’t for the fact Lucy later mentions her “amazing hair” in another joke answer later on in the column. This suggests Jamie has been groomed to say that.


I have to take my hat off to Lucy here – and thus reveal my own amazing hair – because if I had the power to make people compliment my hair in national newspapers, I would use it on an hourly basis. It would certainly brighten up Ukip scandals and ‘love cheat’ tell-alls. However, I feel compelled to ask: what exactly is so amazing about her hair? I don’t get it. Is it sentient? Does it play piano. No idea. Just looks like your average long hair to me. But what do I know? I’m just a big gay. Onward.

Any awkward moments?
He admitted he’s off to a Papa Roach gig soon.
I cut into a piece of bread and it launched across the room.
Good table manners?
Too good. He used a knife and fork to cut up bread.

Good of Lucy to involve Papa Roach here so the Guardian could take the rather weird step of cross-linking to the Californian rock band’s official site. I have to admit, I clicked. Latest news: they’ve just performed in Sweden.

Anyway, admitting you like bands that aren’t Girls Aloud is pretty awkward, I agree, and Jamie only makes things worse by trying to cut a piece of bread with cutlery. Immediate questions:

– Was he cutting up a loaf? Or a baguette?
– If already sliced, how big was the slice?
– Did he butter it before or after – if at all?
– Does Jamie have a small mouth?
– Was he trying to impress Lucy with this act of sophistication?

We’ll never know, but Jamie has the good grace to mention it himself as an awkward moment.

But then any affection I have for Jamie melts away like a snowball against a blowtorch as he delivers a “Yes” for the table manners question. Every other answer simmering with awkward humour and double-meaning and “God I don’t know if we really like each other so let’s just say ‘stuff’ instead of actual words”, but here, I get nothing. “Yes.”

Best thing about Jamie?
He entertained me for the evening.
Best thing about Lucy?
She doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Jamie is also a stand-up comedian, apparently (this is not a barb; Lucy goes on to say she’d like to see his routine), so Lucy’s answer is not unreasonable. It does, however, seem to support my theory that this date was a massive bants-gasm and nothing else.

Jamie’s answer almost cements it – I have never thought being described as not taking yourself too seriously was anything resembling a compliment, have you? It’s what Alfie Moon from EastEnders does. It’s annoying.

Sometimes when faced with someone who won’t take themselves too seriously, you want to kill a family member in front of them to bring them to a level where you can have a conversation with them without a comedy eye-roll or the use of a nearby baguette as a joke moustache.

They went on for a “cheeky” drink, didn’t snog, scored each other 7 and 8 respectively and said, in a roundabout way because God forbid they would actually give a straight answer about anything, that they might meet again. So that’s nice.

Let’s hope that when the laughs run out, there’s still something there.

It’s either gonna be for ever, or it’s gonna go down in flames.

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian

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