Impeccable Table Manners

Rob and Dan


Last week, we had two embryos planning their retirement, and now we zoom over to the other end of the spectrum with Rob and Dan, both 38 (it says here) – two Samantha Joneses with perma-arched eyebrows and hips that no doubt wiggle in time to the distant sound of a cocktail stirrer being tapped against the side of a martini glass. (Anybody who thinks they actually are a Samantha is a) wrong and b) ridiculous, as it’s not a thing.)

Read what happened on the date between this talent manager and film producer before I launch into my very own director’s cut.

Rob | Dan
What were you hoping for?
Someone who’d restore my faith in dating.

If you like reading the word “dating” a lot, then stick around. It is pretty much all Rob can talk about.

What were you hoping for?
To have a laugh. I try not to have first date expectations.

Really? Nothing? Not even the faint hope that you will not be matched up with a horse-frightener or mental racist or serial killer?

It must be great to be so zen about everything – I used to travel to dates imagining all sorts of horrible fates were awaiting me. Would this be the date where I would be strangled with a pair of tights in a bedroom with peeling wallpaper?

First impressions?
On arrival, Dan was in a flurry of emailing; after the laptop shut, the conversation flowed.

I cannot even imagine what kind of person would not only take a laptop on a date, but also sit there on it (emailing!) while they waited for their date to turn up.

A quick scroll on your phone through Grindr to sort out a backup plan, sure, but acting like Mr Important And Busy Oh Wow I Am Just So Busy on a first date? I am so impressed!

Rob again:

What did you talk about?
Grieving, mice infestations, tips on navigating the dating scene (Dan claims to be a “post-pro dater”).

The thing I used to hate most on a date would be talking about dating. My first ever date was with a man who did this and it was so boring and lazy. “Ooh tell me all your wild dating stories” – it’s just so depressing. It made me realise he was only interested in the date as an experience – and a mindnumbingly dull one at that – rather than the first step to something exciting.

I don’t know what a “post-pro dater” is but I certainly wouldn’t want to read that I was showing symptoms of being one in my doctor’s notes.

Here’s Rob again because Dan is keeping his answers strictly vanilla so far.

Any awkward moments?
Dan made a habit of dropping things which added extra lolz.


Any awkward moments?
When he was talking about “bearlebrities” (handsome bearded gay men with loads of followers on social media), I thought he said bear leprosy.


Good table manners?
Very much: Dan ate all the cheese and I was wearing most of our Iberian ham platter by the dessert course.

Look, at least they’re not parroting “impeccable”, right?

Apart from wearing his cap through dinner, he was a gent.

Oh, I don’t know. It’s like bumping into one of my old teachers. I don’t hate them, but I don’t like them either.

I don’t really know why you’d wear a cap to a date, but then again I am not bald. I suppose once you have this cap on your head, it becomes awkward knowing when to take it off. I mean, it’s not like at a wedding, when you have to wait for the bride’s mother to take her titfer off before you relieve yourself of your own.

Maybe Rob sat there convulsing in awkwardness, sweating like a pig, dying to take this cap off but couldn’t, in case it became a thing. Too late, too late.

Best thing about Dan?
Encyclopedic knowledge of dating and “Tinder flicking”.

Dating. Daaaaaating. DATING.

What does an “encyclopaedic knowledge of dating” entail, exactly? Anyone can arrange to meet for a drink and chuck a blowjob someone’s way if they pay for dinner. Where’s the expertise?

And as for Tinder – don’t get me started. The only thing worse than a gay guy who bangs on about Tinder all the time is a straight person banging on about it like they just discovered uranium. Swipe THIS, you congenital bore.

Best thing about Rob?
He made an effort to project a good feeling the entire night.

Is it just me or does every answer Dan gives sound like it is through gritted teeth, or at gunpoint, or just chucked out on an email, no doubt while he waits for another date to turn up? This is about as compelling as mittens.

Describe Dan in three words
Post-pro dater.

DATING. This is like that guy in Big Brother who screams “SHOWBIZ” at the top of his voice every three seconds.

Also: post-pro dater is not a thing. Neither is bearlebrities, while we’re here. Rob again:

What do you think he made of you?
Totally inexperienced when it comes to a blind date. (I’d not had a date for two years.)


What do you think he made of you?
Hopefully funny – he laughed at my terrible jokes.

Well, I am stitching my sides back up as we speak, so chances are high.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I’d have got the cheese.

Look, at least he hasn’t mentioned dating again.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Not having to write a review of Rob and anticipate my own.

The easy way to avoid this is not appearing in a magazine column dedicated to doing just that FYI happy to help no worries not a problem I can jot this down in an email for you if you like OK safe mate laterz.


“I’d probably fuck him.”

7 – I liked him, but as a friend.

“I wouldn’t let you.”

Would you meet again?
Without doubt – I’m in desperate need of a dating coach.

You certainly are.


Would you meet again?
As a mate for a drink.

“I would just like to make it as clear as possible that there is no romantic future here, and I would like to convey that message with all the effervescence of a bank manager unwrapping a Tesco sandwich.”

Thank God that is over.

Note: All the comments I make are based on the answers the participants give, which they know will appear in the public arena. I am sure, in real life, they are cool people. 

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian

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