Impeccable Table Manners

Sophie and Gareth


At first I thought, in a rare twist, the Guardian had fixed up two people who were actually related to each other. But no.

Read what happened on the date before I get my microscope out to better see the woodchip on the wall.

Sophie | Gareth
What were you hoping for?
I entertained the idea that we’d really hit it off, but didn’t want to get my hopes up.
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
First impressions?
Easy to get along with, but not my type.
She’s Australian.

If you listen very carefully, you can hear Sophie’s hopes plummet, like a buffalo falling from the top of the Empire State Building. Gareth, who appears to have been hoping his date would turn out to be the treats cupboard from a kindergarten, slams even harder back down to planet Earth with his flatlining “She’s Australian”. An unexpected Antipodean – it can be a hard thing to recover from.

Any awkward moments?
No – it was quite easy and comfortable.
Right at the end of the night.

Good table manners?
Yep, very polite.

Yes, much better than mine.

Sophie isn’t really being a “friend of the show” here, is she viewers? When you realise you don’t fancy someone, it can be very disappointing, and it can destroy your evening. What you should actually do is either cut your losses –which I suppose this pair were reluctant to do because they were getting a free dinner and also appearing in a magazine – or, alternatively, decide to have a brilliant evening anyway. You’ve nobody to impress, it’s not going anywhere, but you’re dressed up and you’re out of the house now so you may as well make the best of it. Sadly, this option doesn’t appear to have occurred to either of them. Or if it did, they’re keeping it out of print.

Blind date 10 Jan 2015

Gareth’s answer to the awkward moments question sounds hella promising and I was becoming quite excited about getting to the end, but I guess I should’ve known better.

Describe him in three words
Laidback. Easygoing. (Slightly) awkward.
What do you think he made of you?
Not sure: maybe chatty, but not his type. I think he’d prefer someone more keen on music.

Sophie keeps things professional here. Good work. Then it’s Gareth’s turn.

Describe her in three words
Homemade Earth mother.
What do you think she made of you?
Eccentric, possibly a hipster.

I feel Gareth is administering a third-degree burn to Sophie here. And, G-man, nobody thinks you’re a hipster. Anyone self-identifying as one almost certainly isn’t one.

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
I’d have worn flat shoes instead of heels.

Is this Sophie getting shady about Gareth’s height?! Only she can tell us.

So you’ve probably all been waiting for Gareth’s awkward moment, right? Let’s face it, there wasn’t much else going on here this week.

What did our friendly neighbourhood, absolutely-not-a-hipster do at the end of the night that was so bad? A goodbye hug with an unwanted erection? Did he ask Sophie back to his flat to look at some war memorabilia? Slipped a quinoa recipe into her hand and said “This is something to remember me by”? No. It was this:

If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
On saying goodbye in the tube station, I was getting pushed farther along the busy platform, and out of anxiety said we’d speak soon – this despite having not swapped numbers.

Oh. It’s called the brush-off, Gareth. We all do it.

Photographs: James Drew Turner for the Guardian

Bonus: Here are Sophie and Gareth as they appear in today’s Guardian Weekend magazine, which still doesn’t really solve the height shade question, but they do look totally out of proportion.

IMG_1815 copy

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