Impeccable Table Manners

Silvia and Ed


Saturdays. They come around awfully quickly, don’t they? Today’s contestants are Silvia, a 50-year-old performance artist who looks like she could have been in the original cast of EastEnders and Ed, 57, a driving instructor. Older people tend to be fantastically frank in the Blind Date column, so I’m hoping for some zingers today.

Read what happened on the date before we have a closer look at their answers. First up, Ed:

Ed | Silvia
Any awkward moments?
Good table manners?
Of course.

“…” Thanks for coming, Ed. Silvia, help me out here.

Any awkward moments?
Good table manners?
He ate his steak medium, he smiled rarely.

I had a mild panic attack when I saw that “Nah” – I thought we were hurtling toward an “Impeccable”for the next question.

Thank goodness, then, that Silvia remembers what she says is going to be in an actual magazine that people will read. “He ate his steak medium, he smiled rarely” would probably get a groan if someone said it in real life, but I quite like it, as it says so much, despite the laboured pun. Silvia’s not having fun on this date. Not only is her date a bit miserable, he has also committed this cardinal sin:

What did you talk about?
Class, his dating, his family: he didn’t ask one question.

Dates who don’t ask questions are a strange breed. Sometimes it is because they think they are so fascinating they don’t have time to break off from actually being so fascinating to ask you any questions about your life. Occasionally, of course, they cannot get a word in because of the barrage of questions coming their way. Usually, however, it’s because they’re not interested in what anyone else thinks. Simple as that. Meeting someone like this is always a challenge because nothing will persuade them otherwise. You could have the most wonderful career, a treasure chest of scintillating facts and trivia about all manner of things, or be the brightest person in all Christendom. It doesn’t matter. Not interested in you. Who cares what you think? They know their own mind. They know what they like. Your approval is neither relevant nor welcome. And so on.

You should never date someone who doesn’t question, or wonder why, or take an interest – you might as well be alone. Curiosity may well have killed that cat but it has definitely helped remove my underwear from time to time. Remember that one next time you’re on a date. Ask something, anything. Even if it’s “Is that a coldsore on your lip?” (Someone has actually asked me this. Don’t ask that.) Onward.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
On reflection, not to dwell too much on the decline of civil society.

Oh Ed. Is it a cliché to say that Ed sounds a bit lonely, or world-weary? It seems like he’s gone off on a bit of a rant. Men who do this tend not to have anyone else to talk to. I guess when you have spent your working day watching 17-year-olds sit trembling at junctions, scream at roundabouts and reverse park into a skip, you’re going to crave a receptive ear.

While Ed may come across as a slightly more morose Sad Sack from Raggy Dolls, it doesn’t appear to have put Silvia off, as she explains in quite possibly my most favourite last answer in a Guardian Blind Date of all time.

silvia_see again

Again: oh Ed. Back to the reject bin.

Sad Sack from Raggy Dolls

Photograph: Sarah Lee; James Drew Turner, both for the Guardian

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