Impeccable Table Manners

Scott and Harriet


Read what happened on the date

Today’s couple went for a Sunday roast, which is quite unusual for a Blind Date. I have actually been to the place they went to. It was all right, but the guy I went with was distracted by two much prettier men on the next table and then there was this lascivious barman who… sorry, this isn’t about me. Onward.

Scott | Harriet
Good table manners?
I was too focused on putting beef in my mouth to notice.
Good table manners?
He didn’t pour my wine, but he did pour my water.

Any novice can tell you, just from the answer to this question, that Scott was rather taken with Harriet. For some reason, he can’t quite bring himself to say she had brilliant table manners, so instead makes a self-deprecating reference in the hope nobody will notice he is covering something up. Full marks for not copping out with an “impeccable”, but what gives.

Clearly, Harriet ate her lunch like a horse chewing through an electric fence, but Scott doesn’t want to say in case it ruins his chances of seeing her again.

“Oh, clumsy me, busily trying to put roast beef into my mouth without falling out of a window or accidentally starting a nuclear war to even notice what my dining partner is doing. What am I like?”

Scott, when you are sitting directly opposite someone and talking to them as you eat, pretty much the only thing you can concentrate on is what they’re eating, how they’re eating, and whether any of it will land on you. I respectfully call you out on this.

He needn’t have gone to so much trouble, as it happens, because Harriet’s replies are definitely on the cooler end of the scale.

Harriet seems puzzled why Scott would pour her water for her, but not wine, but this seems painfully obvious to me. Either: he wanted to get drunk and she was standing in his way, or, and more likely, he was worried a man topping up a woman’s glass can be misinterpreted as an attempt to get her drunk.

While Harriet doesn’t look like the kind of girl who’d be singing rugby songs or throwing her jumper over her head after two glasses of corked Merlot, it’s only polite for a man to let a woman control how much she drinks. Although, let’s be real: he could have just asked her if she wanted more.

Harriet’s parting shot as she condemned him to a “friends only” reunion is that Scott talked about money quite a lot. I’m intrigued as to whether he talked about his lack of it, or that he was rolling in it. If you refer back to Harriet’s table manners answer, however, we can plainly see that Scott was topping up his wine because he didn’t know where his next drink was coming from. Thus, skint.

See? You can tell pretty much all you need to know from that seemingly innocuous, dull-as-a-dishcloth-in-Daventry question. Impeccable.

Photograph: James Turner for the Guardian

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