Marc is wearing a blue blazer and a pale shirt; he has glasses on and fair hair. Kerri has blond hair and is wearing a denim jacket over a blue polka dot dress
Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Marc and Kerri

When I was a child, my nana and I used to sit, every Saturday, in front of her black and white TV, two slices of chilled Mars Bar poised to our lips, waiting for Blind Date to come on. The theme tune, even after various butcherings by remixers in an attempt to make it more current, was so exciting, and you could even be cheered by Cilla Black’s rictus Joker smile and her in-beat curtsy. And then they’d reveal the contestants. If they weren’t in the full flush of youth, my nana used to be put off. ‘I don’t like it when they’re old,’ she’d say, even though the older daters were, more often than not, around the same age as or a wee bit older than her (and probably not that much older than Cilla herself). I don’t know exactly what it was that she objected to – but I suspect it was a combination of reminding her that she was on her own and would probably stay that way, along with the sickly, cloying, patronising way any contestant over 50 was treated. All those sentimental ‘awwwwwww’s from the audience every time one of them said something vaguely cute or funny; the boring age jokes at their expense; the way everyone acted like the stakes were much lower because, at that age, you’d just take anyone. Instead of watching, she’d get up from her chair and busy herself with the washing-up or something. Truly one of the grimmest things about ageing is being patronised and treated like a toddler by the generations that follow.

Anyway, I say this because when I first looked at the date last night as the Saturday magazine popped onto PressReader, I said to myself, ‘Oh they’re older’, and quickly caught myself in my delusion. One of them is the same age as me. Circle of life, eh? Marc is 46 and a shipping operations manager – my only knowledge of shipping comes from Alexis in Dynasty sinking Sable’s oil tankers, so I assume he spends all day in a large fur coat calling people ‘dear’ in a very acidic timbre. Kerri is 48 and an English teacher, which probably means she is quite tired of everybody’s shit and spends  much of her time saying, ‘That bell is for me, not for you’.

Please do read the full length version of the date on the Guardian website – I always leave a question or two out – and then return here for the burning.

Here they are from top to toe:

Marc is wearing a blue blazer and a pale shirt; he has glasses on and fair hair. Kerri has blond hair and is wearing a denim jacket over a blue polka dot dress
Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian/

I like Kerri’s boots.

Marc on Kerri | Kerri on Marc

What were you hoping for?
To meet someone at a similar life stage.

So, someone who understands permanent backache and that looking in the mirror means seeing a progressively more tired version of what you think you look like in your head.

What were you hoping for?
To throw caution to the wind and take a chance on someone new.

I am willing to bet all remaining crispbreads in my already opened packet of Lidl Ryvita knock-offs in my cupboard that Kerri has at least one unfinished novel in the bottom drawer of her desk/third storage basket on the right.

First impressions?
Warm and friendly. Her relaxed vibe really set the tone for the evening.

RELAXED VIBE. Marc’s done a bit of reefer in the parking lot and hey that’s cool, daddio, it’s a whole scene.

First impressions?
I liked Marc’s cool glasses and the fact he had on a well-ironed shirt.

Kerri temporarily possessed by the spirit of a stern grandmother who has a favourite grandson and is checking him over before a family wedding. (Spectacles compliments always received very well, in case you ever meet me in real life.)

What did you talk about?
We have a mutual admiration of Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones (they are incredible) and the Smashing Pumpkins. We also agreed on how the world would be a better place if everyone was just a bit more like Keanu Reeves.
The Top Gun sequel. What fun it would be to go rogue in Harrods at night. We are both single parents, so we talked about our kids a bit, too.

Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones – I am always fascinated by a concentration on somebody’s particular body part. I mean, I just about get frotting yourself sick at someone having nice eyes or a toned bum. And cheekbones, well, sure. But these are just accidents of DNA; he didn’t chisel them himself. Or maybe he did, actually. Thing with cheekbones is there’s a fine line between sculpted, elegant beauty brimming with alluring hauteur, and Kryten from Red Dwarf.

Kryten from Red Dwarf
BBC/Baby Cow

What fun it would be to go rogue in Harrods at night – the date is happening in one of the restaurants in Harrods. I am the magic combination of basic, northern, and able to remember my working class upbringing to still be impressed in some way by Harrods. I can’t afford anything in there and I know it’s just a House of Fraser with delusions of grandeur but I still revere it somehow, even though I never go there. It’s the same when I march through Selfridges – so much of it still out of reach for me but there’s something weirdly empowering about being old enough not to care whether the sales assistants can tell you can’t really afford anything, and browsing with your sticky fingers anyway. I don’t go to church: when I need spiritual enlightenment, I breeze through marble atriums and opulent beauty halls and spritz £300 fragrance on my good-for-nothing, sinning skin.

We talked about our kids a bit, too – OMFG imagine one of your parents being in the Guardian Blind Date column! Would you ever un-die from the shame? I mean, these two are okay and have obviously been briefed by their offspring not to be mortifying but what if your parent decided to do all their best sex jokes or alluded to liking anal or something. Call me old-fashioned, but your parents have a duty to remain sexless dodos incapable of finding romance ever – at least to the outside world, anyway. (This is a joke, I do not think this, please don’t write in.)

Any awkward moments?
I had travelled in my silver cowboy boots intending to change into the sparkly red heels I had in my bag. When I reached the venue, I looked in my bag to find I only had one shoe with me …

Kerri, you’re supposed to lose the shoe at the end of the date, staggering arm in arm down the street, taking long drags of the ‘funny cigarette’ your date brought with him, and saying things like ‘Let’s go to a CLUB’, even though it’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday, and you’ve accidentally stayed on the tube all the way to Cockfosters.

Good table manners?
Impeccable. We shared starters as well as exchanging steaks. The food was absolutely amazing and Kerri ordered a very nice burgundy to go with it.
Emily Bishop from Coronation St grimacing
ITV Studios

EXCHANGING steaks. What do you mean? Did you eat half of your own and then switch? Or did you take a look at each other’s steaks on arrival and decide to swap? Imagine! Two steaks dangling precariously on the end of heavy Harrods silverware, juices dripping onto the table linen below while you debate over who should plonk theirs down first. You’re not at a barbecue in the back garden of a colleague you’ve only spoken to a couple of times but feel a bit sorry for! You’re not in a pop-up trial version of a steak-based Build-A-Bear workshop! This is HARRODS, put some respect on the name of this gaudy gravestone to capitalism please! [I feel I may be being trolled by a regular reader here.]


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Best thing about Kerri?
Very attractive, lovely personality, funny and a bit sweary. Which I liked.

I swear a tad too much, I think. It’s in my DNA. I almost always regret hurling out a swear word in front of someone I don’t know very well – it can go either way and be quite revealing about both you and the person you’re trying to… I don’t know, what are we trying to do when we swear? Find common ground? Shock? Impress them? Show them we’re just an ordinary person and not la-di-da? I don’t know. Anyway, sometimes, you find someone who appreciates an F-bomb or a sharp ‘Bastard’, and it’s always such a relief.

Best thing about Marc?
He was easy company, we laughed a lot. And he seems like a really great and committed dad.

This is good, all going great, which is encouraging. The kids will be delighted/appalled to get a second mention.

Describe Kerri in three words.
One shoe wonder!

ONE, like the U2 song
SHOE, like a shoe
WONDER, like ‘I Begin To Wonder’, by Dannii Minogue, or the ‘And I wonder (wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder aaaaaaaaah) that En Vogue do at the a cappella beginning of the orgasmic ‘Hold On’

(See how this all falls apart when they don’t give me adjectives?)

Describe Marc in three words.
Relaxed, smiley, chatty.

RELAXED, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood at a spa retreat, following a healing crystal massage and news that the government has shat themselves in public yet again.
SMILEY, like a children’s TV presenter still navigating that tricky transition from vestigial cocaine buzz to ‘gently vibrating thanks to three double-shot lattes and a power smoothie’
CHATTY, like a French cat.

What do you think they made of you?
A charming, sophisticated man-about-town! Seriously, I hope it wasn’t the worst date she’s ever been on.
He probably thinks I’m a bit scatterbrained after the Cinderella shoe incident.

Kerri scrap the novel you’ve got hidden underneath your as yet unmarked Year 9 assigmentns and start another one, featuring these two main characters! I would read it!

Marks out of 10?
A perfect 10 from me.
Andrew Scott as there priest in Fleabag touching his heart
BBC

An unprecedented unflinching 10! From a man! We are through the looking-glass, but I like it here.

Marks out of 10?
A cautious 8: that could go higher if he gets in touch again.

Kerri is right to be cautious, isn’t she? Being charming on one date is no guarantee of anything. However… the signs are looking good…

Would you meet again?
Absolutely. We’ve already planned to.
Yes. He said it’d been a lovely evening and that he’d like to meet up again. We texted each other on our rides home.

Emma Stone saying 'we're gonna bang'

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Something to remember about the review and the daters that I put at the end of every review

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. Let me know if you banged yet (JOKE)!

Marc and Kerri ate at The Grill, Harrods, London SW1. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com

9 Comments

  1. Follow up column exploring Kerri’s shoe wardrobe – those boots are excellent, and sparkly red heels sound very good.

    1. I second this!

      Also, Justin, The Fake Up is – AACK – NOT available on Amazon.ca. Can you fix that??? They won’t let me order from any other country and I do love reading on Kindle so ….

      1. I’m really sorry but I can’t control that! It’s a publishing thing. Hopefully it will be available internationally soon.

  2. Keanu Reeves or Cillian Murphy? Both I reckon.

    I liked this GBD very much, I hope these two become a couple and I like that Marc made a joke about the show thing in his answers, he seems like a good egg.

  3. You’re such a sharp observer of age and class issues, always thought-provoking! It’s what I like best about your writing and storytelling (aside from the humour and wonderful empathy/kindness). Your comments have often made me reflect on my own ageist preconceptions.

  4. This was one of the best blind dates ever! Even you almost couldn’t find anything to make fun of. 😉

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