Impeccable Table Manners

Richard and Patrick


Today’s Guardian Blind Date, which you can read in full here, is like being at school – a really horrible one – and waiting for the first day of the summer holidays. When the magical day, that you’ve dreamed of for aeons, finally arrives, it’s raining, and a car crashes into your house, kills everyone you love and you have to go and live with your least favourite teacher.

TL;DR: this week it’s gays, and it’s a disappointment.

Richard | Patrick

One question I never remark upon is the very first one. “What were you hoping for?” It’s one of those questions that, I imagine, nobody actually answers honestly. If I had asked myself, as I was setting out on all those dates, exactly what I’d been hoping for, I probably would’ve said “To be mildly drunk and wrapped in Egyptian cotton sheets getting enthusiastically sexed by whoever I’m meeting tonight”. If I were asked it in a magazine, however, I would have been more likely to say one of these:

What were you hoping for?
A fun night out.
To meet a potential partner.

I’m onto you, boys.

Anyway, I have met a lot of gay men and I know a lot of gay men and it took me just thirteen milliseconds of looking at that very picture at the top of this post to work out how this one was going to go but we may as well persevere. Richard:

What did you talk about?
Life in London, health and spirituality, the changing nature of gay culture – there wasn’t a dull moment.

“The changing nature of gay culture.” “There wasn’t a dull moment.” You suuuuuuuure? Patrick:

TV’s Cucumber, work, wine, his building project, why we don’t do the gay scene.

*hollow laugh*

Most gay men out there who have ever been on dates have met these gay men. They’re “non-scene” (such a pity there’s not a great big badge or medal for this), think Grindr is the cause of all the gay community’s ills and congratulate themselves regularly on this totally unique viewpoint.

Having an opinion on Cucumber is quite difficult, because other gay men immediately judge you on it. If you liked it, you’re stupid and if you didn’t you’re bitter that it wasn’t all about you and if you were indifferent you’re just showing off or in denial. Or so Twitter tells me. In short: I would not bring it up on a first date, but these two supercool worldly gay men know much better than I would, I’m sure.


Any awkward moments?
The restaurant insisted we shared a dessert they had prepared for us, though neither of us wanted one. I think they were trying to make the night romantic.

I am a resolute pudding avoider, so would not have stood for this. I’ve eaten at the restaurant these two were sent, and if the food were any more boring, it would be the tumble dryer in the Barratt house of a middle manager whose wife has just left him. So you really wouldn’t want “afters”.

“Good table manners?” answers are a “yes” and a “perfect” but I shan’t be trolled so let’s press on.

Describe Patrick in three words?
Charming, charismatic and bubbly.

“He never shut up.”

Best thing about Richard?
Sweet, happy-go-lucky person. Good views on life.

“Sweet.” Remember that time you got a massive boner when somebody said you were sweet? No, me neither.

“Good views on life” = we agreed Cucumber didn’t represent us in any way whatsoever.

Did you go on somewhere?
No, we walked together for a bit, Patrick seemed keen to head off and so we went our separate ways.

“Patrick realised he wasn’t going to get his hole with me as he didn’t fancy me, so couldn’t wait to scurry off and find it somewhere else. Not on the gay scene, though. Oh no.”

Or maybe I’m wrong. Patrick?

If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I would have liked to have met someone I had some chemistry with. He wasn’t my type physically.

I’m not wrong.

Last word from Richard:

Would you meet again?
Sure, as friends – I suspect however he might not think the same. I gave him my business card, so let’s see.

Oh, Richard. You could’ve spared yourself this. Patrick, any glimmer from you?

Honestly, no.

Of course not. Thing is, I have been Patrick and I have been Richard on a date and neither is a pleasant place to be. The best you can hope for is that you don’t come away from it looking like a thundering arsehole or, of you most certainly do, make sure the other person looks like an even bigger one.

They scored each other an obviously pre-agreed 7, although I feel Richard would have liked to have marked Patrick an 8. Patrick, I imagine, wanted to say 4 but even he didn’t want to look like a total cow in a national magazine.

How nice of Richard to help him out there.

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian

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