Tim is wearing a pink shirt and jeans, while Patrick is wearing a blue shirt and jeans – he also has glasses on.
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Tim and Patrick

In a week where the negroni finally usurped the latte as the ultimate signifier of the metropolitan elite – you can buy it in cans in Tesco, catch yourself on, it’s as elite as Coke Zero – we have, for your delectation… your adorable guncles who pressed a tenner into your hand every time they saw you, have stories about your mum that you definitely do and don’t want to hear, and are eagerly anticipating the day they can cry at your wedding!

Meet Tim, 65, a retired actor and decorator… does this mean he’s retired from both acting *and* decorating, or did he act and now he decorates? Was that his niche, acting and decorating at the same time? Must’ve been a bit of a nightmare for the director; you’re there trying to wring the emotion out of a lull in a lesser known Agatha Christie when your butler starts splashing apple-blossom white on the window frames. Anyway, his date is Patrick, 59, a teacher.


Tim is wearing a pink shirt and jeans, while Patrick is wearing a blue shirt and jeans – he also has glasses on.
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

then return here for highlights.

Tim | Patrick
First impressions?
Tall, beaming, kissy right off the bat.

TALL, like the Eiffel Tower
BEAMING, like the Cheshire Cat trying to make the best of 36 months of wearing train-track braces.
KISSY RIGHT OFF THE BAT, like… I don’t know, I’ve never heard of ‘kissy’ before except when seeing ‘Kissy Sell Out Mix’ in brackets after the titles of various frantic gay club bangers.

Kissy. Good sign.

First impressions?
Entertaining, polite and handsome.

ENTERTAINING, like anything Natasha Lyonne is in.
POLITE, like the waiter who’s clocked your top is from Primark and helpfully recommends the second-cheapest wine on the menu.
HANDSOME, like someone you are probably quite up for banging, hence being ‘kissy right off the bat’

Most awkward moment?
Dogs v cats – we got through that minefield like true gentlemen.

dog ignores tennis ball thrown at him

Dogs. It’s dogs. Sorry to all cats. Dogs are much harder work, I get it, and crouching in the middle of the high street trying to scoop a pile of Labradoodle evacuation into a tiny black bag is certainly one of the Top 40 most harrowing experiences I’ve lived. But dogs. Aw, dogs. Good doggy. (Never ‘doggo’, please, if you can eat solid food you probably shouldn’t say that.) Cats have their own charm and they seem to like me fine, but you never know what a cat is thinking, although it’s probably, ‘God, you’re pathetic’. My friend sums up the difference between dogs and cats: if a dog was bigger than you, it would probably lick you to death; a cat, however, would eat you, starting with the head, like a Lindt Easter bunny.

Good table manners?
Laughing, talking and eating at the same time is never a pretty sight, but I like to think we rose above it. Though our waiter might disagree.
Perfect! Watching him shell the prawns was like a masterclass.

Neighbours Mrs Mangel looks very stern

I have to say, hats off to them for managing to make it through the date when there are prawns shell. I just… what an awful experience it is. I remember going out for a friend’s hen weekend dinner – I’m a gay man born in the 70s, I get to go on those – in a beautiful baby pink shirt and ordering some kind of prawn pasta dish – PASTA! This was 2009 and I went to the gym four times a week – and then it arrived it was essentially a prawn mausoleum, flooded by tomato sauce. Shirt ruined. Fingers stained red for two days. Relationship with prawns ended. I’m not one of those simpletons who says ‘I can’t eat anything with a face’, but I draw the line at ripping something’s head off. I can’t eat tomatoes now either, so that really was the last days of Rome in the culinary stakes.

Anyway, if they can still make f•ck-me eyes at each other after watching them disembowel shellfish and send crumbs flying everywhere, then that is (yet another) good sign.

Best thing about Patrick?
This was his first go at a blind date and he took to it like a pro.

Other than here and the various inferior ripoffs of this column in other, more boring publications, does the concept of a blind date even exist anymore? I mean, most of us now are Google-able. Even if you do it the old-fashioned way and are set up by a friend, you’ll ask to see a photo and the chances are they’ll be able to locate one. Yet another thing tech has taken from us: the terrifying reality of turning up for a ‘blind date’ and realising that Nosferatu was real and is waiting at the end of the bar, stirring a negroni with his one long fingernail.

Best thing about Tim?
Cheeky in the best possible way, and super attentive.

Cheeky how? Like a Nando’s or a can of G&T on a delayed LNER to Darlington? Or maybe cheeky like a postcard from the end of Blackpool Pier, or a gif of Barbara Windsor’s bra flying off in Carry on Camping? Or more likely cheeky in that flirtatious way where you gently nudge at one another’s boundaries (the good kind, not the Jonah Hill kind) and almost dare each other to say something that takes it from ‘Well this has been a lovely evening’ to ‘Let’s frot in the back seat of an Uber’.

What do you think Patrick made of you?
Tall, loud, never feed me unpeeled prawns in a messy sauce? Also the dog had bitten my nose the day before but he coped manfully with my stomach-turning disfiguration.

For a moment there I misinterpreted the ‘never feed me unpeeled prawns’ and thought Patrick had actually fed Tim at the table, which made me think:

Nigella Lawson usuig a cocktail shaker with great vim

But anyway. I sympathise, Tim. Pushing aside the detail about the dog-related injury, this is all getting quite ‘camera briefly focuses on happy gay couple at a wedding in a Richard Curtis movie before going back to whatever the boring straights are doing’, doesn’t it?!? Yay.

What do you think Tim made of you?
Good company and a different perspective as an American in London.

Andie MacDowell saying is it raining I hadn't noticed in Four Weddings

Oh Patrick is American! Hence the kissy! And kind of being less uptight about prawns and crumbs and… everything, really.

And … did you kiss?
Two big smackers.
Yes, as we said goodbye. Then we realised we were going the same way so I got another kiss one stop later. Win-win!
Jennifer Coolidge in Single All The Way saying the gays just know how to do stuff, you know
Marks out of 10?
A big fat 10. He’s a great guy. I felt lucky to meet him.
Marks out of 10?

TWENTY. Double ten! Qualifying statements! I have been reviewing Guardian Blind Dates for exactly nine years this weekend and double tens are vanishingly rare and still a huge buzz.

Me right now:

an illustrated cat leaning out of a house that appears to be on fire, with the caption 'beautiful screaming lady'
Richard Scarry/HarperCollins

This is the thing when you get older. If you feel it, don’t fight it, f•ck playing hard to get, just go for it, cards on the table – who has the time to do otherwise?

Would you meet again?
Yes, hopefully we are meeting again to go out later in the summer.
Yes, we are going to see if we can see a show this summer.

Go guncles! We did it, Joe!

angela lansbury looking amazing and celebratory in a fur stole

Impeccable Table Manners is taking a break for a while.
To support my work, consider leaving me leave me a small tip on Ko-fi to help keep the lights on.

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My weekly newsletter, The truth about everything* will continue. Please do subscribe – a lot of the content is free!. This week: the six hairdressers you meet in hell.

The paperback of my third novel THE FAKE-UP is out now and it makes a big difference if people buy it, believe it or not! Get it from Amazon, Waterstones, Bookshop.org, Bert’s Books, or indeed anywhere you like.

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. Have you been to see the show yet? And is it a Sondheim?

Patrick and Tim ate at Sale e Pepe, London SW1. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com


  1. Mildly (very) obsessed with Patrick’s shoes. A simple, robust derby with a great patina and great details in eyelet and commando sole. Just fab. Does anyone know what brand/model these are?

  2. I loved these guys, but I am feeling that they are going to be theatre-going pals, not lovers.

    Have a good break!

  3. Their exchange was so cute I came straight here to see your take. So good, thank you. & The Jonah hill comment ??
    Enjoy your break, I’ll miss your work!

  4. Thank you!

    Good for you to take a break, but hope to see you back. GBD won’t be same the read without you.

  5. Richard Scarry. An excellent reference. My childhood was spent in the world of Richard Scarry. Yes, friends after 40 is very hard. I love what you say about cards in the table. Too fucking right. Have a beautiful, peaceful and restorative time along with the joy and messiness of life. Us Blind Daters will still be all out here, obsessing over every detail together.

  6. Best wishes Justin, take care of yourself! Thanks for all the fun reviews! I still need to get your third book, so I have that to look forward to! May you not be eaten by a cat (I too think cats look at me like ‘you’re pathetic, just hand over the food’) and may you have a good rest with lots of dog love (my dog greets me like I have been away at a war for 4 years, despite me just leaving the room for 19 seconds. It’s nice to be loved!). May this couple enjoy many more fun outings! Kind regards.

  7. If this was your last write-up, what a high to go out on! But if you’re ready to come back, please do this week (30 September) – it’s a classic!!

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