Peter is wearing a dark top and trousers and had dark straight hair. Nick has on a patterned shirt, spectacles, and jeans and has brown, textured hair.
Composite: Linda Nylind/Graeme Robertson/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Peter and Nick

December rain. Not as bad as January rain, or maybe even November rain, but bad enough. There’s something miserable and uncivilised about Christmas shopping in a downpour, especially now all the shops give you paper carrier bags, which disintegrate before you get even 20 metres away from Boots, sending all your Frizz-Ease and Dulcolax tumbling into the kerb.

Lucky then, that bringing sunshine to the last two weeks before tinsel starts to get on your nerves are Peter, 26, who works in film and TV (no actual job title, which is both mysterious and a refreshing change from the usual parade of LinkedIn speak we get here) and Nick, 30, a human rights charity project manager. Lots to talk about, I’m sure, perhaps starting with how they both have necklaces on – a sign of compatibility or perhaps a fixation on Paul Mescal? Who can say?

Peter is wearing a dark top and trousers and had dark straight hair. Nick has on a patterned shirt, spectacles, and jeans and has brown, textured hair.
Composite: Linda Nylind/Graeme Robertson

and then reconvene here for some choice highlights.

Peter | Nick
What were you hoping for?
Interesting conversation and someone with a good sense of humour. And someone not from Hinge.
A different kind of experience to a dating app date. Someone who made me laugh.

Isn’t it funny how dating apps were invented as a solution and have now become the problem? Rather than revolutionise the way we date and find a supposed soulmate (RIP Guardian Soulmates I wanna run to u, thank you for all the twee dates and disappointing sex), dating apps have become the Jurassic Park of romance – just because we could, it doesn’t mean we should.

First impressions
An open smile and an engaging demeanour.
Great jumper, confident, handsome. He was a bit late, so when he arrived my first thought was: relief.

All very good answers and it’s nice to get a compliment on a smile but if I had a GREAT JUMPER on, that’s exactly what I’d want the date to say. My eyes, my smile, my hair, whatever – that’s DNA, bestowed upon me – but my GREAT JUMPER (always capitalise fantastic clothing) is my choice, my taste, says much more about me than the freckles that have peppered my family’s skin for generations. GREAT JUMPER. Thanks. Thanks. It was really cheap and it’s years old… oh why do I have to ruin a compliment every time?

What did you talk about?
Sugababes. Rome – we’d both been there this year. Our friends. Swimming. Dating.
Pop culture. Girl bands. Queer culture and the “drag race-ification” of language. How we both think our therapists would be the best people to match us on a date. Cooking – he sounds like a great cook!

Sugababes/girl bands ✅ – Oh Sugababes. How great they are. I interviewed them once. Can you imagine. Mutya is the most charismatic, mesmerising person ever, yet she only said about seven words. But every one of them was golden. Before I switched to streaming, ‘Push The Button’ was the most played song on my iTunes. ‘Freak Like Me’ probably second.

Queer culture and the “drag race-ification” of language – No word on whether they approve or disapprove of the apparent drag race-ification of language. I’m a writer, I like how language evolves and love hearing new words or interesting developments in slang – even if I don’t use them myself, I’m pretty fond of my own writing voice anyway and am cautious when it comes to adapting turns of phrase. Drag Race language, like that of internet stan culture, borrows heavily from AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and the original drag ballroom scene, so sometimes it can sound a little strange coming from a 23-year-old sales manager from Sidcup who has never so much as added pepper to their roast chicken. I have no opinion really on Drag Race‘s impact other than when I went to the Madonna concert, a man in his 30s was sitting behind me screaming “MOTHER IS MOTHERING” and “YES BITCH” at her throughout and I really wanted him to stop. (I didn’t say anything, I just let him get on with having a good time. He did get tired eventually.)

Most awkward moment?
When I said I thought moussaka was a Turkish dish. Peter is a Greek man – and was appalled.

Surely by the big old age of 30 you’ve idly checked out the menu taped to the outside of a branch of The Real Greek?!

Good table manners?
Yes, exceptionally good.
Very good. It was small plates so we shared everything – no awkward food moments at all.

Aubrey Plaza in White Lotus. Caption says [breathes deeply]

Best thing about Nick?
Nick was really present throughout the date. I felt they were really interested in our conversation and I enjoyed chatting with them. The whole date was relaxing and easy-going.

This is nice. I do start to worry if I am always ‘present’ in conversations; it seems to be a requirement these days. Do people know that while I am listening to what they’re saying, I am also composing email replies in my head, wondering what to have for dinner a week next Tuesday, and mentally packing my suitcase for my next break away.

Best thing about Peter?
He got the answer right to my best British girl group question: Sugababes. His confidence and humour were attractive qualities, too.

Confidence and humour? Sure, great, A+. An affection for Sugababes? Call a preacher, grab your tux or a white floaty dress and go stand in a room full of people you are obliged to invite and get married! I could write an essay on why Sugababes are the most wonderful thing in pop (and maybe I will one day, you have been warned) but instead I will say that someone liking them is a very good sign that they are a good person who appreciates pop at its most magical.


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Describe Nick in three words?
Warm, passionate and chatty.

WARM, like the big Primark throw you have to chuck over yourself every time you stand still in your own house because you just got an email from EDF telling you that electricity is now more expensive per unit than the top tier VIP packages on the Eras Tour.
PASSIONATE, like a lecture from a 13-year-old at the Christmas dinner table about why they’re a vegetarian and why Doctor Who is much more important than wherever bilge ITV are showing that day.
CHATTY, like that one person in the office who you suspect spends Christmas alone so will talk to you about anything perhaps in an attempt to store up enough socialising energy in reserve to last them through the holiday season. You feel sorry for them and it’s very endearing, but you’ve read the same line of this email fifteen times while they twat on about their favourite stapler and the state of the toilets in the office back in 2001.

Describe Peter in three words.
Confident, creative, funny.

CONFIDENT, like the government. I mean, the brass neck! The levels of horror! That basement of immorality is being extended down to hell so fast that the descending lift can barely keep up. UGH.
CREATIVE, like my excuses when asked if I have five minutes to answer some questions about spirituality by a wax-faced religion chugger on Wigmore Street.
FUNNY, like no joke in Ricky Gervais’s entire set. (He was on Graham Norton last night. Just hugely unpleasant, isn’t he?)

What do you think Nick made of you?
Nick guessed that I’m someone who wears an eye mask when I sleep. They weren’t wrong.

Peep Show – Mark saying "earplugs, eye mask, the full lot"

I wonder how they knew? I suppose you can always tell someone who gets a good night’s sleep; they don’t tremble as they lift their wine glass or sit, head propped up on one hand, elbow on the table and go “coooooool” after everything you say. I am an earplugs guy myself. The slightest noise and I am bolt upright, wide awake.

What do you think Peter made of you?
That I was also quite confident, chatty and (hopefully) interesting … with good taste in noughties pop music.


And … did you kiss?
Just on the cheek after I made a joke about how awkward first date tube station goodbyes are.

Sean Bean as Sharpe looking disappointed

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I would’ve ordered more of the bread. The chilli butter that came with it was a treat.
I would have ordered more food.

I know I have said this many times before, but I want answers like this banned. I want the Guardian to phone them back and say “Chilli butter? Chilli sodding butter? That the best you got? You realise this is going in a magazine, it’s not a post on Digital Spy?” Anyway they both seem lovely and charming so I will allow them one dullsville response on this otherwise delightful and articulate date.

Marks out of 10?

Sharon and Shirley from EastEnders looking disgusted

Oh. Is that it? I know there was no sensuous touching – which would be a nine – but you both got on quite well? The 7.5 from Peter is particularly cutting. BUT it’s worth remembering that a score isn’t just about the person they’re reviewing, but their own expectations too. Maybe Peter had been hoping to go home with his tonsils throbbing from a good going over. Or maybe he’s knocked off half a point for the bread and chilli butter faux-pas. Nick’s 8 is, I suppose, apposite and still carries a bit of hope, but it doesn’t sound like they’re gearing up for the romance of the century. I mean, at least it’s not two threes, right?

Would you meet again?
We swapped numbers. I didn’t feel an immediate romantic spark with them, but you never know.
I would, either for a second date or as friends.

Oh Peter. Oh Nick. But as you say – you never know.

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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 Sugababes song? If it’s ‘In The Middle’ or ‘About a Girl’, please do not get in touch.

Nick and Peter ate at Hithe and Seek, London EC4. Fancy a blind date? Email


  1. Happy Saturday Justin — you made me laugh with the JUMPER comment, even if as a Canadian my brain first supplied an exuberant bouncy chap.

  2. Now I’m not as disappointed by the scores and reactions as you are. Sure, we all love people who go on to a club and lose their underwear, but if we’re talking about people actually Looking for a Happily Ever After, I think this is very promising. Enjoying someone’s company and liking them as a person is surely a great foundation…

  3. Hello! I love the idea of capitalising good clothes choices! I had to click on the link for the restaurant to check you hadn’t made a typo. Looks fancy FANCY and not a typo! Loved the intermission, and I am really looking forward to your new book Justin!

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