Michael and Dom – Michael is taller and wearing a white shirt and glasses. Dom has a beard and is in a navy shirt
Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi/The Guardian
Impeccable Table Manners

Michael and Dom

The eagle-eyed among you, or perhaps even those still with sleep in their peepers, will notice this is the third rainbow date in a row. Since Guardian got shot of Weekend and replaced it with the larger Saturday magazine, we’ve had two guys, two women, and now two guys again. This feels right, somehow doesn’t it? Despite a slew of LGBTQ dates around two or three years ago – which caused quite a few complaints by regular readers who were under the impression that Blind Date was not just a fun column that didn’t mean that much and did in fact had some kind of charter to ‘accurately represent the population’ (seriously people emailed me and tweeted that I was to ‘blame’ for this) – the GBD has been quite heavily heterosexual for a while now and, I have to say, it was all the worse for it. Especially those dark days where the date was done over Zoom. Gosh, remember? I mean, I tip my hat to anyone willing to ask a stranger about their hobbies over a shaky video connection and trying not to judge them by their kitchen wallpaper but… we have been crying out for some excitement for quite a while. And perhaps, this morning, we have found it.

Today, treating us to their presence and – spoiler – willing to get their hands dirty in the name of entertainment are Michael, 26, a PhD student, and Dom, 26, a charity press assistant. Michael is on the left, with the glasses and the shirt that may very well be some part of his school uniform that he’s inexplicably still attached to. Dom is the other one, because that’s how it works. As I was writing this, I had no full-length pic because the Guardian no longer loads the last third of Saturday magazine onto the service I use to read it, which is a bit annoying but beyond my control, so I had to use my imagination. I guessed we were missing two pairs of denim-clad legs but for the sake of entertainment imagined Michael is wearing the bottom half of an ostrich costume and that Dom has sparkly cabaret leggings like Liza doing Mein Herr. Oh hang on, a well-wisher (my bf) has saved the day. Turns out I was nearly right.

Michael and Dom – Michael is taller and wearing a white shirt and glasses and denim shorts. Dom has a beard and is in a navy shirt with pale jeans
Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi/The Guardian

None of the features added for the magazine relaunch appear here – no selfie, or alternate take, no mini photo to tell you who’s who – and we even lose a long-standing feature of the Blind Date page: no choice pullquote from each of them. Shame. Anyway, we mustn’t dwell on it as much as we did when they changed the Pippa in Home and Away (30 years ago, I need to update my references), we must struggle on. Read the full account of what happened on the date on the Guardian website, then return here for a quick dissection of some of the choicest answers.

Michael on Dom | Dom on Michael

What were you hoping for?
A face out of Caravaggio’s sketchbooks? A body cut from the Parthenon friezes? Hopes should outpace expectations.

Caravaggio’s sketchbook? I think with the Guardian Blind Date you’re better setting your sights no higher than Neil Buchanan’s jotter but hoping for the best.

What were you hoping for?
Either a free pint or a proposal – nothing in between.

If only life were that simple. I wonder how many married people would, if they had a time machine, pick the pint.

First impressions?
Good. With cocktails on order when I arrived, Dom was clearly on the same page as me.

Assuming Dom ordered for Michael too, ordering a cocktail for someone you’ve never met is a huge risk – what if they’re more of an Old-fashioned kind of guy but you’ve ordered them a Screaming Orgasmic Flamingo and the sparklers set off the fire alarm just as they walk in carrying their Gap jacket (A/W season 2013)? Anyway, according to Michael, they were on the same page – of which book I wouldn’t like to guess.

First impressions?
Tall, good-looking, dressed like an extra in Call Me by Your Name.

Tall – congrats for noticing. Good-looking – nice to get a compliment right out there. Dressed like an extra in dull, Instagram-filtered straight-gaze flick CMBYN – what Dom is trying to say is that Michael was wearing shorts. It’s a bit like saying I’m dressed like an extra from the Star Wars cantina when I open the door to the delivery guy in just my dressing gown and a Nip + Fab foaming face mask, but we’ll allow it as we’ve all got somewhere we need to be.

What did you talk about?
Lots: Catholicism, Desert Island Discs, death row meals, whether “Australiana” music is a thing.
Our talk was extravagantly digressive. Here’s some of it: feeling at home in other countries, Rome in winter, Catholic families, coming out, that it has become un-chic to like Timothée Chalamet, peaches, the professor-student relationship.

Catholicism – ✅. My discussions of catholicism begin and end with Madonna rolling around with St Martin de Porres (no, he’s not supposed to be Jesus) in the Like a Prayer video.

Desert Island Discs – I’ve listened to DiD a handful of times and it can be occasionally moving, yes, I suppose, but usually it’s very twee and boring. It feels like the kind of show middle-class people listen to when they’re erroneously – and wilfully – parking in a disabled space at the supermarket, or telling people how much they love Rome in winter, or evicting someone.

Death row meals – Yeah funnily enough, I don’t think I’d fancy that much to eat if I was about to be led away to be barbecued on a kitchen chair.

Australiana music – any excuse for this gif:

Kylie Minogue arrives on stage at Glastonbury with a knowing look
BBC

Un-chic to like Timothée Chalamet – we can’t all live our lives according to the barometers in Sunday magazine supplements BUT I will say it would be nice if they could cast literally anybody else in a role every now and again. (I will admit he has very good stylists who get very little credit and his jawline is quite something, so congrats on that.) I love the idea that it is un-chic to like a particular person, like they’re a style of jacket, or a song using a tired sample and featuring an even tireder guest artist. There is nothing we dimwit humans will not try to look cool about.

Good table manners?
Faultless.
Impeccable.
Nadia from Big Brother holding a glass of champagne and a cigarette and looking annoyed
Endemol/Channel 4
Would you introduce him to your friends?
In a heartbeat. He’d charm them all.

Well, this is a good answer. As I have said many times before, the idea that your friends can’t be trusted not to pull somebody apart is rather a damning indictment of your taste in friends. Although, there are lots of other reasons we don’t introduce lovers to friends – they are usually the ones to tell us, ‘What the hell are you doing? He looks like the kind of guy who tortured wasps as a child.’ Or perhaps they are hotter than us, and we don’t want to have yet another lover imagining your friend’s head on your body while you half-heartedly bang on the single bed in their shared flat above a Costcutter in zone 4.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
If they promised to be nicer to him than they are to me.
Muriel's wedding where the friemds tell Muriel that she listens to 70s music
CiBy 2000/Film Victoria/House & Moorhouse Films

I actually love this as an answer, because one thing friends are very good at the meeting a new lover is tearing you a new one and bringing up every embarrassing thing you’ve ever done, just to test if this new guy can handle it. To be honest, it’s your own fault for confessing all your sins to them over Long Island Teas in TGI Friday’s or wherever it is you have your ‘catch up with the gang over lurid cocktails’ meetups.

Describe Dom in three words
Dalston’s hottest ticket.
timothee chalamet taking a drag of a cigarette in Call Me By Your Name
Memento Films International

This is called a statement of intent – look it up.

(For me, Dalston’s hottest ticket is one you might have bought on a bus LEAVING it back when bus tickets still existed.)

Describe Michael in three words
Intelligent, articulate, charming.

Intelligent, like one of those smart-fridges that emails you to tell you you’ve eaten too many Chambourcy Hippopotamousses that day.
Articulate, like someone on the phone in a customer service centre who has picked YOU as the customer they are going to destroy because no, BEN, you’re not entitled to a refund on an ASOS vest top you wore out to a club just because it ‘didn’t vibe with the decor’ and YES the whole team is looking at your Insta right now and laughing at your tattoo of a packet of Wotsits.
Charming, like someone who is going to have sex in the next question.

Did you go on somewhere?
He offered to walk me to the station. (Notice how I didn’t answer the question?)
No comment.

‘How do we let the readers know that we banged but leave it ambiguous enough that everyone in Mum’s book club, and the dreary homophobes that drink in the same pub as my dad, might think we’re just kidding?’

Like this, I’d say, because I don’t have to run this through the Enigma descrambler. We now go live to the last ten minutes of the meal:

Villanelle in Killing Eve saying 'take me to the hole'
Sid Gentle/Endeavor
And … did you kiss?
The better question is how we kissed.

Is… is there more than one way? Have I been living a sheltered life? It’s just mouths touching and tongues going at it like the rollers on the final rinse in a car wash, no? Did they do it with one of them descending from a fire escape upside down like Spider-Man that time? In the rain – is it raining, I hadn’t noticed – like Andie and Hugh in Four Weddings and a Funeral? Or is this all an elaborate way to tip the wink – but not tell Grandma, of whose eye they are the very Cox’s Orange Pippin – that they rimmed on the first date?

And … did you kiss?
He came all the way from Cambridge – it would have been rude not to.

Well, I suppose I can think of worse excuses to grind up against a stranger in the doorway of a Costa.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. Even the rain added something. He lent me his jacket.
Andie MacDowell saying is it raining I hadn't noticed in Four Weddings
Working Title Films

Ah, there you go.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Nada.

Thank you to Penelope Cruz for stepping in to answer this question on Dom’s behalf.

Marks out of 10?
10.
A solid 9.

a rainbow unfurling and crashing into a plane

Ooh. That 9, no matter how ‘solid’ feels like a warning not to get too excited. It’s a ‘sorry we’re out of stock of the chocolate brownie, but here’s some red velvet cake that gives you the illusion of cake but is in fact some dense, tasteless atoms’ or a live performance from Steps but Lisa is appearing over FaceTime from the All Bar One in the Burj Khalifa. Any other time, a 9 would be a great score, but when up against a 10… its sheen is dulled somewhat.

Would you meet again?
We exchanged numbers …

Very good.

Would you meet again?
Michael is lovely, but Cambridge is a long way away.

Oh. I didn’t realise he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Scene from Absolutely Fabulous with Miranda Richardson overhearing someone say is that it darling
BBC

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About the review and the daters: 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, they seem very nice, so please be kind to them in comments, replies, and generally on social media. There has been an increase in readers being quite horrible about the daters – this isn’t what we should be about. I will not approve nasty below-the-line comments and will report any abusive tweets. If you reply to my tweets about the date, please don’t embarrass yourself or assume I agree with you. 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. If you want us to crowdfund a season ticket to/from Cambridge, let us know.

Michael and Dom ate at The Buxton, London E1.
Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com

9 Comments

  1. Ugh, Cambridge person here. It’s 50 minutes train to Cambridge from Kings Cross. Give him a second chance, Dom!

    1. A lot of London daters already think that the other side of London is too far, so, say, 20 mins to the station, 50 min train, 20 min to destination is almost always a non-starter for someone you’ve just met.

  2. That is a school shirt! Wish they did have legs like you imagined! Glad they had a great evening, maybe they will meet again! And you have a NEW BOOK, how exciting! And I didn’t know you did a review last week, so will have to go look at that! Thank you!

  3. Not knowing who Holly Valance is shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. I feel like she was a much bigger deal here than she ever was in Australia (and Australiana is definitely a music genre but I judge a 26 year old who is into it unless there’s an accompanying heart-warming story about their nan loving Paul Kelly).

    Is there just not enough accessible queer cinema for these two to have CMBYN as their main reference?

  4. I’m still confused by Australiana – Kylie? Nick Cave? Midnight Oil? All of the above?

    (actually, given they’re 26, it’s quite possibly none of the above)

    (P.S .+1 for the “how we kissed” being a fellatio / salad-tossing spoiler)

  5. Excellent, as always. (And I will never forget the new Pippa arriving in Summer Bay, and how we were all supposed to pretend she was just the same Pippa. It was a betrayal, 30 years ago or not.)

    1. Well and truly. It was such a romp before that! And yet I do relate. I’ll only date someone of the relative burbs of my city if they’re on the same subway line as me. A single transfer and I lose the twinkle in my eye.

  6. ME TOO!

    It was all sunshine and roses and puppies until he complained that Cambridge is too far. He’s in Dalston! Cambridge is probably easier and quicker to get to than Richmond

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