Impeccable Table Manners

Russell and Jennifer


The Guardian must have been hard at it last night as I can’t find this week’s Blind Date online anywhere, so where I’d normally say “read what happened before I go to town on them” or whatever, I can’t. You’ll just have to trust me.

This week we appear to have two people who remembered they were going to be photographed for a magazine. Makeup! Hairstyles! Half-decent (if a bit boring and safe) clothes! At last.

Russell is 31 and an ad consultant, while Jennifer is 24 and a TV researcher. Who says all Guardian readers live in a media bubble, eh, viewers?

Russell | Jennifer
What were you hoping for?
I was just looking forward to trying something new.

Ooh, look at the pretty colours. I feel like I just got my nails did. Anyway. “Trying something new.” Perhaps Russell has never met a woman in a passable restaurant before. Or does he mean the “blind date” aspect? I suppose there is no such thing as an actual blind date in the modern age, is there? Before you’ve even agreed a venue, you’ve stalked them on Facebook, rolled your eyes at their tweets and run their LinkedIn job titles through Google Translate.

What were you hoping for?
A raconteur and a gentleman.

Jennifer is 24. “A raconteur.” You met many raconteurs, Jennifer? I’m guessing not. Here’s the thing: a raconteur is just another name for some dreary old man who talks about himself. Also: sharing “swipe left” stories about Tinder isn’t being a raconteur – unless you want to switch out that “o” for a “u”.

What did you talk about?
We had deep conversations: the perfect relationship, the middle child syndrome we both seem to suffer from.

“Middle child syndrome.” You’re 31, Russell. It is time to move on. I look forward to seeing Jennifer’s interpretation of these “deep conversations”, don’t you? Spoiler: the water is barely up to the top of your toes.

What did you talk about?
His 50-inch TV, his travelling, life mottos, carbohydrates.

HAHAHAHAHA. Oh. How’s that search for a raconteur going? Just how “deep” can you get about a 50-inch TV? “His travelling” – ugh I am 100% out here. And talking about carbs on a date? Why? We are about to find out. Table manners time!

Good table manners?
He was on a no-carb day. Boring. I ate his chips.

A couple of things here: Why would you tell someone on a first date that you were on a “no-carb day”? What a delightful first impression – “Yeah I’m on some weird diet that’s a cross between Opus Dei self-flagellation and being slightly hungry in the middle of a McDonald’s”. Diets and eating plans are like dysentery or bank balances – the details should be kept to yourself.

But HANG ON: “I ate his chips”. Russell says Jennifer’s table manners were “very good”, but she ate his chips. She put her hand in his dinner. Did she wash her hands first? Maybe she used a fork. She leant over and waggled her fork all over his plate. Jennifer, unless you do something AMAZING by the end of this post, you have lost this one for me.

Let’s do awkward moments. Russell:

Everything seemed to go well.

Really? Not even chip-gate? Jennifer:

He did insinuate I could make money “entertaining” lonely businessmen in the bar.

Oh God. OK, Jennifer, you’re back in the lead. It is a long time since I had a romantic relationship with a woman (yes, it happened), but even as a gauche, closeted string bean in my early 20s, I instinctively knew that you shouldn’t really suggest a woman could easily take up prostitution. Call it intuition, or perhaps not being a massive dickhead, but I somehow knew that wouldn’t be the right thing to say. Russell, however… Well.

Best thing about Jennifer?
Her uniqueness – hair, accent, outlook on life.

“Accent.” I don’t get accent fetishists. “Uniqueness.” OK. Hair. This says absolutely nothing.

Best thing about Russell?
His pocket handkerchief was a lovely colour; I liked how it matched his socks.

Wow the sexual chemistry is fizzing off the page here. Also, she called it a pocket handkerchief, so didn’t get the memo from GQ magazine that it’s “pocket square” – you blow your nose on a handkerchief. I’m surprised Russell didn’t mansplain it to her; perhaps he thought he’d put his foot in it quite enough.

Would you introduce him to your friends?
Only if they needed help with a sales pitch, or a personal trainer.

OUCH. Is there any way to make a man sound less and more dull than suggesting he is really “salesy”? Nobody really wants to have sex with people who work in sales. Except other people who work in sales. And that’s only because they devote so much of their time to working in sales and being “salesy” that nobody else will have them.

I’m dying here. When will this end?

What do you think she made of you?
I think she liked me. There were a lot of deep stares across the table, a lot of high fives.

I think Jennifer was staring at you fantasising about stoving your head in with an anvil, Russell, but it’s great/concerning you can read this as a come-on. And as for the high fives? What a pair of dicks.

What do you think he made of you?
Not his cup of tea. He told me how he normally takes first dates for a coffee, so he can make a quick getaway after one drink if needs be. I think I’d be the one-coffee girl. I think my haircut scared him.

Were these two even on the same date? I can’t work out whether they liked each other or not. By the way, Jennifer, you’ve got long hair with a short fringe – unless he’s been living in a cave since 1993, when this hairdo first came into fashion, it’s not your barnet putting the fear of God into him. It’s all that bloody staring.

*high fives for no reason whatsoever*

Describe him in three words
Hard to read.

Oh, this explains the staring. She was trying to read him. Sadly, Russell isn’t a Kindle and if he were, the backlight certainly wouldn’t be on.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
To have spent longer with Jenny, but I guess that’s what second dates are for

Russell does appear to have been on a completely different date from Jennifer  (or “Jenny” – I wonder if that is a dig) but he hasn’t particularly laid into her. Or, actually, said anything at all of note. However, that’s not what we’re after, so here’s Jennifer with a slam-down – it’s what we’re here for, don’t deny it.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
A little honesty/vulnerability wouldn’t have gone amiss – everything felt staged. I should have taken his carbs home in a doggy bag.

See? He’s “salesy”. Also: of course it is staged – you’re in a magazine. I’m not sure how vulnerable or honest you can be when you’re talking about your 50-inch TV. Didn’t his eyes mist up even a little when he talked about his “travelling”?

The scores are agonising. Russell goes for “8.9” for reasons best known to himself, but I think we can safely assume he fancies her. Jennifer marks Russell a “5” which is a serious, third-degree “doctor telling relatives there is a chance he may not make it” level of burn. But he did suggest she become a hooker, so… y’know, I’d say she’d marked him pretty highly.

The end is heartbreaking.

Would you meet again?

Oh, Russell. What did you do? Oh, we know what you did. It’s all here.

It depends on her review. If it’s positive, then why not?

There really are two types of people in the world: those who should not apply to appear in a magazine, and those who really, really, really should not apply to appear in a magazine. Here we have both.

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