Nima and Maxim – Nima wears a black shirt, Maxim a green one
Photo: Martin Godwin/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Nima and Maxim

Let’s not call it a comeback. This week, the rainbow finally returns to the Guardian Blind Date – a whole week after Pride Month finished, timing, guys, timing. Our willing victims are 27-year-old Nima, who works in fintech – no idea what that is, never want to know, could it be computerised dolphins? – and Maxim, a mere 24, who is a client success manager. Success in what? A trolley dash in ALDI? The 100m?

Nima and Maxim, I can see those names nestling together on a Christmas card. Here they are.

Nima and Maxim – Nima wears a black shirt, Maxim a green one
Photo: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

Read their full account of the date on the Guardian website before returning here for a recount.

Nima | Maxim

What were you hoping for?
To meet someone interesting, with good chemistry, laughter and flowing conversation.

You know what else flows? Sewage, into your local river.

What were you hoping for?
A date so tremendously electric and a write-up so supremely witty it single-handedly revives print journalism.

As Meatloaf famously never sang, 0/2 ain’t bad

First impressions?
Warm and welcoming, immediately put me at ease. Also, tall.
Smiley and open! Being my first ever blind date I was a bit nervous, but Nima immediately put me at ease.

Immediately putting each other at ease. Did they fire tranquilliser darts at one another upon arrival? As an alternative nerve-steadier, have you considered necking six Kalms, draining the last of the Christmas 2021 Bailey’s and then sticking on the shipping forecast?

First ever blind date! Aren’t they a rarer thing these days anyway? It’s so easy to google someone and find out everything about them before a date – there is no element of surprise. It’s like looking up a restaurant menu before going and settling for the risotto (which is off the day you actually go). A bit of warning is mainly a good thing – take it from someone who’s turned up on many a date to find waiting for them not a charming Zac Efron lookalike as promised, but Wizbit reflected in the back of a dessert spoon.

What did you talk about?
Languages (we had a little chat in French). Travel. Music. Films/books with queer storylines. Reality TV (Drag Race for him, Real Housewives for me). Food (a shared love for Nigella). [Note: in the print version, there is an extra couple of lines – ‘His love for trains. My love for planes.’]
Barry’s Bootcamp. Having non-traditional names. Both being Virgos. Growing up in London. Planes v trains. Call Me By Your Name. Nima correctly guessing my coffee order. Our Instagram algorithms. Nigella Lawson. The Real Housewives of New York. The simple pleasures of generic pop music.

Lots of matches. Either they actually listened to one another or there was post-date collusion on WhatsApp.

Barry’s Bootcamp – who IS this Barry, anyway? Whenever I see someone on Instagram who’s a devotee of Barry’s I immediately get a whiff of moulding gym kit left in their office drawer.

Nigella ✅  – The chokehold this extremely posh and privileged, albeit very smart and personable, woman has on gay men should be studied by scientists. (Anyone who is not Nigella saying ‘mee-cro-wah-vay’ instead of ‘microwave’ is a huge red flag btw.)

We had a little chat in French. Chat in French – do you mean cat in English? I went to France recently for a lovely wedding and because I studied French at university I was the only one in the group who spoke the lingo well enough to survive twenty minutes of small talk with various cab drivers. It was actually great fun and the taxi drivers politely said my French was still very good. Want to learn a language? Get loads of Ubers. Duolingo, however, is shit and can bore off.

Non-traditional names –  Wonderful names, both, in my view – although together they sound like a particularly terrifying, ultra-chic American pharmaceutical brand, the kind that makes face wash that sears off your epidermis and an eau de toilette that smells like the special Baby Bio you get for citrus plants. What’s in a name anyway, eh? I hate mine, and longed to change it as a child. Why do I hate it? Well, try being a gay man, in a size-obsessed world, and being called ‘just in’. I mean, come on.

His love for trains/planes v trains ✅ – I don’t know the exact orientation of these two but assuming they’re gay, why do gay men love trains so much, especially  the intricacies of the London Underground. Maps, lines, service patterns. I have a theory it is because trains and the act of running them is quite an orderly, regimented process, with timetables and routines, and when you’re a young gay child you feel you have very little control over anything and there is no order to your life because your feelings are so confusing and it doesn’t always feel like there is room for you in the world, so you seek reassurance from the supposed stability of a transport network. The Tube: serving fierce moquette LOOKS, slaying severe delays, and turning up the stifling heat since 1863.

Most awkward moment?
I overzealously ordered oysters, which neither of us had properly tried before. We both grimaced as we gulped them down and pretended to enjoy them.

Oysters! For people who’ve always wanted to know what a bile duct might taste like. Solidified pond. The myth that they’re an aphrodisiac was invented by restaurants to get the perpetually horny to buy them.

Good table manners?
Impeccable.

Lucille Bluth looking suspicious

Good table manners?
Superb. Nima handled the five-dishes-for-two-people small plates model with effortless ease.

Small plates model – I tried for a good ten minutes to find an image of Kate Moss holding a stack of Eternal Beau bread plates. Never mind.

Best thing about Maxim?
He is effortlessly easy to talk to and has a strong sense of who he is.

A strong sense of who he is – knows his own name and address without having to check his driving licence?

Best thing about Nima?
He seems very secure and self-aware, which can be really difficult to achieve.

Secure and self-aware – Nima is burglar alarm on his mother’s side.

Would you introduce Maxim to your friends?
I would indeed, I think they have a very similar energy.

Nima’s friends are all 40W lightbulbs.

Describe Maxim in three words.
Friendly, inquisitive, authentic.

Friendly, like a dog who has just noticed how sausagey your fingers are.
Inquisitive, like the same dog who has come closer to sniff said fingers
Authentic, like your sausage fingers are NOT. They’re just fingers, the dog is devastated.

Describe Nima in three words
Smart, kind, stylish.

Smart, like those cars you used to be able to buy that were like a small storage box and people occasionally parked them sideways in car parks, to show off.
Kind, like the cheerful manager of the local community centre who runs coffee mornings for the old folks, pulls a shift at the food bank, organises playgroup schemes for kids without a garden, and then goes home every night, sits at his computer and posts photos of a large cowpat under every tweet by a government department.
Stylish, like the inevitable Uniqlo x Coco Chanel cross-body bag range

What do you think Maxim made of you?
Between my love for Gail’s coffee and weekend workout classes, I suspect he thinks I’m quite basic!

GAIL’s coffee? I think we know where Nima’s X landed on the ballot paper this week.

What do you think Nima made of you?
A nice if slightly nervous guy with an obsession for the the London Underground.

I would love to know the depth of this obsession. I mean, is it a lively interest in the Elizabeth line’s architecture and perhaps a mild excitement about the new Piccadilly line trains or is it an encyclopaedic fascination with the number of steps in the emergency staircases of all zone 1 stations and an ability to name every single post-war seating moquette from buses, trams, tubes, and overground services just by looking at one pixel of the design?

Did you go on somewhere?
We enjoyed three hours of lovely chat and I had an early start the next day, so we decided to call it a night.

‘I didn’t fancy him!’

Did you go on somewhere?
No, we had early meetings the next day.

‘I had to get the 0657 Bakerloo line train from Willesden Junction.’ (I have not checked whether such a train exists, please don’t write in.)

And … did you kiss?
No.
Just a quick hug goodbye before hopping on the Victoria line.

The Victoria line, which is the most frequent train service in the UK, did you know that? If you’re a gay man, you probably did.

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
Swapping Tuesday night for Friday – it would’ve been good to spend a bit more time getting to know each other.

You are 24. Every day is Friday ffs.

Marks out of 10?
7.5.

I’d say 8 – there wasn’t an instant romantic connection, but it was great to meet Nima and I’d be really interested to get to know him in a more relaxed setting.

Would you meet again?
I would, perhaps more as friends.

Ooh, this train terminates at the Friendzone.

I’d like that. We’ve swapped numbers, so hopefully we can grab a coffee.

In GAIL’s, of all places! Say hi to Boris Johnson for me. Best of luck, boys – who knows what might happen once your eyes meet over a cinnamon bun? x

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

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. What’s your favourite Tube station?

Nima and Maxim ate at Prawn on the Lawn, London N1. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com

9 Comments

  1. The 40W lightbulb remark had me tittering out loud fair play. I wonder if the YouTube channel Map Men know about this core audience they should be acknowledging

  2. Thanks for this, great read as always! What happened to “the gays get it done”, as you have taught us on numerous occasions?

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