Max is fair haired and wearing a cream striped blazer and jeans; Kajol has long brown hair and is wearing a patterned top and trousers
Composite: Sophia Evans/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Max and Kajol

Summer loving happened so fast according to Travolta, J and Newton-John, O, but how quickly will love blossom between Max, 25, a chef, and Kajol, also 25, and a doctor. Two professions straight out of the Game of Life or an airport rom-com! This is looking good! And so are they:


Max is fair haired and wearing a cream striped blazer and jeans; Kajol has long brown hair and is wearing a patterned top and trousers
Composite: Sophia Evans/The Guardian

and then return here for some extremely in-depth and scientific analysis of a select few answers.

Max | Kajol

What did you talk about?
Deal Or No Deal, other game shows and which one would you go on. Books. Poetry.
Poetry, music, Deal Or No Deal, books, how mountains are infinitely better than the sea, Total Wipeout, his band, writing, the Otley Run, hypothetically dating only 37-year-olds, how neither of us had ever been on a blind date.

Deal Or No Deal ✅ – Easily, by a long margin, the creepiest, most stomach-churning of that grim era of gameshows where contestants were either pretending to be best friends or merciless assassins intent on stealing the prize fund. There was something inherently unpleasant about Deal Or No Deal’s bizarre cult, with Noel Edmonds and his motorised eyebrows trading C-grade barbs with whichever producer was on the phone pretending to be the banker. It was the gameshow equivalent of being trapped in a Peugeot that could only play the first three tracks of an Ed Sheeran CD, driven by someone who really wanted to tell you about this new church group they’d joined. Incredibly, this show is about to be revived. And at the helm? Stephen Mulhern. Seriously.

Other gameshows/ Total Wipeout ✅ – Total Wipeout, the favoured TV appearance for middle managers with shady records of bullying staff, and the HR drones who cover for them.

Poetry/books/writing ✅ – Three green ticks in the ‘what did you talk about’ section? Looking promising.

The Otley run – For the uninitiated, the Otley run is a famous pub crawl in Leeds that runs the length of… you guessed it, or maybe you didn’t, Otley Road. It’s quite an occasion, attracting binge drinkers and the kind of people who wear tutus for Comic Relief, as they stagger from pub to pub, often in fancy dress, any night of the week. My brother lives on the route of this pub crawl and says it is not unknown to peek out of the window and see Tigger vomiting on the kerb, or an Elsa from Frozen squatting in a shop doorway so she can ‘let it go’.

Hypothetically dating only 37-year-olds – this is interesting because all my photos from the age of 36/37 tell me that it’s the best I’ve ever looked, so perhaps this is the way to go.

Most awkward moment?
When Kajol went to the toilet with all her stuff and I thought she was doing a runner.

Joey wearing all Chandler's clothes in Friends.gif

What kind of stuff? Bag? Fairly normal. Bag and jacket? Unusual, but maybe she had something in her coat pocket she needed. What else could she take to the loo with her? Bag, jacket, phone, and dinner, maybe?

Most awkward moment?
Max wasn’t sure what the word sideman meant, but we resolved that.

Do you know, I spent a good half-hour the other day looking for the male equivalent of ‘side chick’ and found absolutely zip that I could use. Turns out ‘sideman’ doesn’t mean that either, so I’m even more disappointed. Not sure of the definition either?

Madonna saying look it up then drinking some tea

Good table manners?
The best – we were both dropping our tacos everywhere.

I love eating tacos but I am honestly such a… I just… I can’t… food that falls back to the plate is very distressing for me. I’m in Yorkshire so I had dinner out with my mum and sister last night and we were all SQUEALING in horror at the idea of unintentionally getting something on our hands while eating it (we were still managing to scoop up curry with our naan, though, sometimes the ends justifies the means) and it’s so strange how such a silly thing can seem so serious. I rarely eat crisps mainly because I cannot stand the feel of them in my hands; I need kitchen roll nearby and wipe my fingers after EVERY crisp. If I’m out with someone and they order a burger I seriously dread the inevitable oozing of the filling and the gradual tumble of the tomato and the pickle and the shreds of (browning) lettuce back onto the plate. I wish you well but, please, control your burger.
(I realise this is weird behaviour; I am not suggesting it is an ideal way to live.)

Good table manners?
Max shares food, which is a green flag.

Au f*cking contraire, but you do you, kids.

What do you think Kajol made of you?
I think she thought I was a bit strange. I had a massive bag of stuff with me, my phone had died and I spent three hours in King’s Cross waiting for the date.

Weird how we think we might be perceived isn’t it? It’s what makes the answers to this question always so interesting. Thing is, mostly, people are too busy worrying about themselves to notice how weird you are, unless you arrive to the date covered in marmalade or sing the refrain from Carmina Burana every time the waiter hands you a bread roll. We are all so wrapped up in our terrible, tangled web of insecurities – the emotional equivalent of a carrier bag filled with a hundred iPhone chargers – that often we only notice the extremes. However, what was in the massive bag of stuff? And why, in the year of our lord Beyoncé 2023, do you not have a spare battery pack for your phone. ‘My phone died’ is going the way of ‘my fax machine is on the fritz’ or ‘my chimney sweep died of consumption’ when it comes to excuses.

What do you think Max made of you?
He probably thought I talk too much.
Nadia from Big Brother holding a glass of champagne and a cigarette and looking annoyed
Endemol/Channel 4

Well, lookee here, a classic response. He probably didn’t. And if he did, f•ck him! Sorry to mansplain, but seriously I would love for just one GBD participant – especially women – not to worry that they talked too much.

FYI: no kiss. So:

Marks out of 10?

I need to think of a name for this score, so common is it becoming. The keen double 8. The sweet sixteen. The accurate, official score when you’ve had a great time but there’s been no, er, intimate contact. It’s a good score, a hopeful score. Because:

Would you meet again?

Okay, so Kajol’s ‘sure’ is giving, ‘fine I will listen to this chugger tell me about world hunger for five minutes; I’ve nowhere else to be’, but it’s not a no. It’s an amber alert for the milliners.

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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. If you’re one of the daters, get in touch if you want to give me your side of the story. You seem to have both had loads of stuff with you – what was going on?!

Max and Kajol ate at Casa Pastor, London N1. Fancy a blind date? Email


  1. Aawh, I wish them well. Although, as a chef and a doctor, they might find it difficult to even find time for another date. But I keep my hopes up.

  2. Is finger-wiping between crisps (or any other salty, fatty, sticky snacks like nuts or biscuits) really such weird behaviour? Surely that’s just normal? Anyway, I’m with you, proudly brandishing our kitchen roll multipacks.

  3. As soon as I read her answer about sharing food, I thought ‘he’s definitely doing this week!’ I like sweet 16, but I’m an incurable romantic…

  4. >>Easily, by a long margin, the creepiest, most stomach-churning of that grim era of gameshows where contestants were either pretending to be best friends or merciless assassins intent on stealing the prize fund>>

    I’ll give it the silver medal but, for me, it’s a long way behind Robert Kilroy-Silk’s ‘Shafted’ and his catchphrase / signature move “To SHARE or to SHAFT?” in the nightmare fuel stakes…

  5. I must be jaded. The only thing interesting about this entire episode is “hypothetically dating only 37-year-olds.” Sharing food is a very weird moral standard, on either side. (Well, not on the side of not sharing. That’s perfectly normal.)
    Perhaps we should start considering what the marriages of “Sweet Sixteens” are like? I mean, is there passion?

  6. The phrase “Elsa from Frozen squatting in a shop doorway so she can ‘let it go’” gave me the biggest laugh I’ve had in a while.

    Thanks for your writing. Just started The Last Romeo and really enjoying it. Late to the party I know.

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