Impeccable Table Manners

Tom and Oona


You know that feeling when you have been at a dinner party – some might call it a soirée – all night and had to cope with somebody’s absolutely bullshit behaviour and even-more-bullshit opinions? Maybe they “can see Ukip’s point” or think “Sam Cam has really nice taste in handbags”. Something like that. Well, today’s Guardian Blind Date is that dinner party. And there is no exit. No handle on the door. And a rottweiler guarding it. You’re here for life.

Today we have Tim, 23 (no, really) and Oona, 26 (seriously). He works in HR (walks from room to room with a sheet of paper in his hand, looking busy) and she’s a deli manager. OK.

Read what happened on the date – hide all sharp objects before doing so – and then I’m going in. I am praying that venom doesn’t poison you from the inside. I may not make it to the end.

tom hping for

Effervescent is a good word. I once wrote it in a Christmas card. Imagine that. Imagine receiving this card with “effervescent” in it. You’d worry the sender had a brain tumour, wouldn’t you? The recipient texted me the next day. “Were you drunk when you wrote that card?” they said. “Or were you just being pretentious?” I fessed up. Pretentious. Tom? Which are you?

oona hoping for

Maybe try sitting on a chihuahua.

tom first impressions

Why doesn’t “confident” feel like a compliment here? How would that be your first impression? What did she do – clamber over shark-infested waters to get to the table? Perhaps Tom is trying to say that she didn’t laugh into her hand or twirl her hair upon first introduction. Anyway, here’s Oona with a humdinger of a reply.

oona first imp

What? Why? “I’m glad he looked older than 23.” What does this even mean? I’m glad he lied about his age? I’m stoked that he must have had a paper round that covered the north face of the Eiger?

tom talk about

Line up all of the “eyeroll.gif” files in the world. Every single one. And then watch them all. And you still won’t have enough eyerolls. I rolled my peepers so hard they span out of my skull, went to the shop for milk, and came back with the wrong change.

“Boat-building lineage” – this entire column is the reason we can’t have nice things. “Syllabub.” Welcome to the try-hard Olympics. Bad news, you’re up against Geri Halliwell and she’s just had a vitamin shot. Here’s Tom again.

tom awkward

Were you PRAYING for measles to take you out of this dire date and into the great unknown? I know I am. Imagine two people in their twenties talking about this on a date. Like an editorial meeting in the sixth form common room. “The vaccination debate” – it isn’t a thing. Go back to lobbying the teachers to add Topic to the vending machine by the science labs.

oona awkward

Bread is awesome. I’m not really into a man deciding for me that I’ve had enough bread so I fully back Oona here. Except for the “awesome” – that makes me wish everything was on fire and I was made of pyjama. Bread isn’t awesome. It’s bread. (Bread.)

tom taBLE

Tom feels to me like he’s auditioning for that BBC radio comedy we will all eventually get around to writing.

oona table

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a revolutionary. Even though I agree with Oona that table manners are not really a thing you think about unless someone is eating like a wild boar let loose at a christening, there is something about this answer that is so try-hard, I can’t get behind it.

tom best thing

Wine has been coming up a lot on these dates, especially among the twentysomethings. Here’s a hot take from someone old enough to be your older brother who wishes you’d never been born: nobody cares whether you know about wine. Leave it to a sommelier.

Fuck your wine list musings. Do what we all do: pick the second or third cheapest and pretend it doesn’t taste like vinegar.

oona introduce

Oona, there’s a telegram for you. It says “You are not actually in a Richard Curtis movie”.  Any thoughts?

tom 3 words

“High-powered.” “Hippy.” Reader, I can’t feel my legs.

oona three woerds

How can you be morally upstanding at 23? What about? Maybe he had some totally amazing opinions on GamerGate. Dunno.

tom made of you

This answer reminds me of a very funny post I read on BuzzFeed this week. Tom’s answer, however, isn’t funny. I know you’re in a magazine and trying to impress or whatever but this is rubbish. Congratulations, you’re Mrs Brown’s Boys in an H&M shirt. From three seasons ago.

oona made of you

You sure? But how could he resist that “boat-building lineage”?

tom go on

“Shotgunned.”  Weddings, car seats I understand. A shotgunned pint? No idea. Tom, you’ve got the part. It’s fine.

tom kiss

You threw patatas bravas into her mouth?! This guy.

tom change

This face-saving is so pungent, I can almost taste it. “Top company.” I can’t believe someone who was born in 1992 actually talks this way. SCORES:

tom score

7.5? Careful Tom, she might build a boat and row it right through your empty head.

oona score

9. You did fancy him. 9 is a shy 10. “Lovely.” I’ve seen pensioners sitting on Brighton Pier with more verve.

tom meet again

We will, won’t we? That pong you can smell, readers? It’s a pre-agreed answer.

oona meet again

*polite laughter* What a perfect ending. Bless them. A glacé cherry atop a gleaming dog turd.

Tom, Oona – it’s been emotional. Let’s never speak of this again.

Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian


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