As Steps once wisely trilled: ‘Summer is over and all we are is apart’, except, luckily, we don’t have to be apart, because we are back for a new term. September! Our pencil cases are currently sans-graffiti, our shirt is crisp, the rest of our uniform is still a size too big, and our teacher is still in a good mood and really thinks this is gonna be the term they can get through without sertraline.
Joining the class are Rudi, 24, an NHS admin coordinator, and Kana, who is 25 and a consultant. I’m not sure what kind of consultant, I’m guessing not the medical kind as they don’t mention how much they’d like to slam a Boris bike into the Health Secretary’s ankles. So I’m assuming Kana is the other kind of consultant who goes into businesses and chews a pen for a month before recommending the entire workforce is made redundant. (JOKE! I’m sure they work very hard.)
Anyway, whoever they are, we are not here to judge. Oh hang on, we are, I suppose. Here they are from nose to tail:
My grandma would have had a LOT to say about these outfits being worn on a date. Read the full account of what happened on the date on the Guardian website or in the Saturday supplement, then return back here for a kind of bizarre, forensic recapping.
Rudi on Kana | Kana on Rudi
What were you hoping for?
Someone I had things in common with, who was funny and a good conversationalist.
Obviously too young to remember the first law of dating, as written by famed academics Abdul, P and Skat Kat, MC – opposites attract.
What were you hoping for?
A fun evening with someone who I’d otherwise never cross paths with – and to relish the absurdity of it all.
Kana’s answers today were co-written by Emma Thompson.
Very good – I’d been tipped off by the photographer that my date was very good looking. (I think he thought I was punching above my weight – he was probably right.) Kana was up for a laugh and very easy to talk to.
I do find it fascinating how we are taught, in this era of kindness and encouragement and talking each other up, to reach for the stars, follow our dreams, be anything we want to be, let nothing stand in our way… except when it comes to dating people hotter than we are. It’s a hierarchy that likes itself just a little too much to tumble just yet, thank you very much. Obviously, if you’re Nosferatu and fancy a date with Princess Aurora – this particular cinematic universe exists only in my head – then you can bypass this age-old system by having a) money or b) charm, but also money, to get you in the door. My advice to people who aren’t that good-looking is get a decent haircut and a nice pair of shoes and learn all the words to ‘My Neck, My Back’ by Khia and you won’t go far wrong.
Polite and talkative. Maybe a little nervous, but who wouldn’t be?
If you remember that nerves and excitement are more or less the same thing, but with different marketing teams, that can help. Just don’t pick up any teacups or Fabergé eggs.
What did you talk about?
Jobs. Music. Dating experiences. We also decided in about five minutes how we would reform education policy.
Albums. South London hotspots. Our experiences of being an only child.
Music/Albums ✅ – ‘Albums’ feels oddly specific, doesn’t it? Do you think this date happened during Beyoncé release week? Hmm, I can’t really see these two screeching ‘Uncle Johnny made my dress’ or ‘UNIQUE’ at the top of their lungs but you never know.
South London hotspots – Ah, south London. I returned last year after five years away and have no regrets. What kind of hotspots do you think they favour? Suburban curry house nobody else knows about (they read about it in Vittles)? Ironic burger and chicken popup owned by two brothers from Oxfordshire that got a slagging off Marina O’Loughlin? That club under the arches at Vauxhall that people stagger out of at 8:30 on a Tuesday morning? The Co-Op on Streatham Vale? We’ll never know.
Our experiences of being an only child – I was an only child for 20 years or so. A summary of my experiences:
– Constant accusations (by adults) that I needed to be ‘taught’ to share, which usually involved taking something off me and giving it to another child – their child, more often than not. (I knew how to share just fine.)
– Incessant harassment of my mother by (often the same) adults about having another child, with claims I would enjoy having a brother or sister and that I was ‘lonely’. I mean, darling, I was an effeminate child who liked Lego and reading books; I was BORN to be lonely.
– Eventually I honed an ability to be on my own and not have a nervous breakdown about it (although I had my mind blown at university because there were just people, everywhere, constantly, and when there wasn’t, the loneliness hit different)
– Constant wondering what it would actually be like to have a sibling, quickly dismissed when I realised they would have to sleep in my bedroom, and that most people I knew at school hated their siblings with volcanic passion
– Forging a completely unromantic view of what it’s like to be a child (I hated it and much prefer being an adult)
– I enjoyed saying I was ‘un fils unique’ in French lessons.
Good table manners?
Excellent, we shared our starters and mains so I was chuffed when she left me the better half of the asparagus.
He handled the pita and dip situation much better than I did.
Oooh, speaking of sharing! I guess that is one hangover from being an only child. You want to be seen as generous and eager to share so you don’t look selfish. I wonder how long the back and forth of ‘No, you, go on, I insist, please, it’s fine, I mean it, are you sure, well if you’re sure, I really don’t mind, I could eat it, yes, but, well, no, really, okay then… oh, did you actually want it?’ went on over that sodding asparagus. Trust me, I’ve been there. (If you’re on a date with an only child, just let them have the last piece, okay?)
Best thing about Rudi?
Kept up with my questions and had opinions on most things. Observant of things like the waiter’s outfit.
I tried to find a photo of these waiters’ outfits – the restaurant itself looks like a staff canteen given a zhuzh by a Changing Rooms crew – but was unsuccessful. I’m guessing they’re slightly more elaborate than the standard garb of white shirt, black trousers and apron that could do with a 60º wash. Because the best thing about you being the fact you can identify an M&S trouser from twenty paces is, quite honestly, a catastrophic state of affairs.
Would you introduce them to your friends?
Indeed – I think she would cotton on to the in-jokes pretty quickly.
If we bumped into each other, sure.
Describe Kana in three words.
Insightful, funny and charming.
Insightful, like the child you’re babysitting, who watches you intently for about ten minutes and then asks why you’re not wearing a wedding ring and will they get a neck like yours when they get older.
Funny, like an in-joke among friends that is, most likely, a bastardised quote from Withnail, or Legally Blonde, or the SouthWest Trains fold-out timetable from 2004.
Charming, like a hench piranha in Orlebar Brown trunks bobbing in a hot tub, who assures you that while they’ve gone veggie, they still eat ****, if you’re game.
Describe Rudi in three words.
Proud south Londoner.
What do you think Kana made of you?
Hopefully that I was a bit funny and didn’t talk too much!
A… a man said this? But… they never say this. Years and years of reviewing these dates (Rudi will have been in Year 10 when I started) has taught me that men very seldom worry about talking too much. They just don’t. Although at the top of the page, Kana does mention that he’s talkative, so maybe he was overdoing it, but the thing we need to build on here is that he’s aware, he’s open to change. This is the beginning of something wonderful.
Did you go on somewhere?
To a lovely pub garden with the romantic hum of railway tracks.
The restaurant was on Minories, one of the most charmless, depressing streets in London, so God knows where this pub was. I did once meet up with a man I’d been dating in a pub on Minories, to get some DVDs back. It was all very sad and desperate and ridiculous and… just a thing that wouldn’t happen anymore. Return borrowed DVDs? About as modern a reference as spending your day off mangling your stockings or refilling your oil lamps.
And … did you kiss?
I’m only glad that Lea Michele will never read this, so will be spared the disappointment of this clearly going absolutely nowhere.
Marks out of 10?
A strong 8; a great experience overall.
Is Rudi on a Blind Date or leaving a note in the London Dungeon guestbook?
Marks out of 10?
A solid 6.
Solid. Six. Solid. Not 7, not 6.5, but an immovable, cast-iron 6. You know what else is as solid as this? A Boxing Day turd.
Anyway, unfortunately we have a ‘these two radios are tuned to different stations’ situation here so the final question is likely to be a but crushing to read over bran flakes this morning.
Would you meet again?
I would definitely want to. We did talk about it, so hopefully it’s on the cards.
Would you meet again?
I imagine I’ll bump into him at a gig; we share the same taste in music so would be open to finding other bands.
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Something to remember about the review and the daters that I put at the end of every review
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. And, please, tell me your favourite south London hotspots; I’ve lived here years and I’m clueless.