Impeccable Table Manners

Vikki and James

This week’s Guardian Blind Date was a tough call because I was contacted beforehand by a few people telling me who would be in it. This presents a problem. I don’t mind that participants might read it, of course, but to know they’re expecting it – and to know who they are and to see their faces before I write it – might influence my review. Mightn’t it?


There are always going to be forks in the road. And it’s a decision you can never delegate. You have to take them. So you can choose to plough the fields and spare the cottages, or torch the village and let the cows roam free. Reader, like Evita, I chose freedom. I torched the lot and present my ashes to you now.

jamie and vikki

Read what happened on the date between Vikki, 26, a communications manager and 28-year-old social media manager James (incoming LinkedIn connection email alert!) before I free the vinegar from its prison.

Oh, and there’s a twist: I won’t comment on what James has said because I now know who he is, so all he gets are GIFs or pics that sum up my feelings. I’m like those dullards who say “I can’t eat fings that have got a face”, aren’t I? Oh well.

Only Vikki gets full commentary. Lucky Vikki.

I write the songs.

vikki hoping for

Seems reasonable. I wonder what the Guardian is “hoping for” when they ask this question. If it’s “a reply that’s as scintillating as a day without weather or finding Gary Barlow’s stepdad built your conservatory” then I reckon we have hit pay dirt here.

james hoping for


vikki first

“Extremely polite.” Why doesn’t this sound like a good thing? The only time I am ever polite to a level you might call extreme is when I am on the receiving end of some stratospheric rudeness from a waiter or a checkout operator and want to make them feel ten inches tall.

Does this mean Vikki was rude and Jamie was over compensating? I don’t know.

jamie impress


vikki talk about

HIS time in Sydney. HIS work achievements. HE likes to tweet. What do you think Vikki, winner of Miss Subtlety during 1998 summer season at Butlin’s in Minehead, is trying to say here? If she can get a word in.

And talking about worst date scenarios on a date is simply not done. It’s like wearing white to a wedding if you’re not the bride. And then fucking the groom in front of her.

james talk about


vikki awkward

I am kind of insane when it comes to lateness. I believe that if you arrive at exactly the agreed time, you are in fact late. Five minutes early is “on time”. You can send donations to my boyfriend’s ever-increasing stress fund soon.

Bizarrely, more often than not, when a date has arrived late to meet me, I have ended up in bed with them. Maybe I just “can’t resist a bad boy” and other clichés that might fill this space that you’re reading right here.

james awkward

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 10.03.35

bitch please anne hathaway

vikki table

“He was all about the knife and fork.”
“He was all about the knife and fork.”
And again: “He was all about the knife and fork.”

james table


vikki best thing

If the best thing you can say about someone is that they told you to make the sure the fat in the Yorkshire pudding tin is really hot before you pour the batter into it, would you even bother staying for dessert?

(That’s a top tip for you there, by the way. And you didn’t even have to sit bored senseless in front of me in one of the most beige restaurants in London to get it.)

james bet thing


vikki friends

Let. Me. Guess. Your friends are all so hedonistic, outré and liberated that a mere mortal like James – whose USP is that he can cook a joint of beef – simply wouldn’t fit in.

Here’s the rub with people who say this kind of thing: their circle of friends only looks fabulous from within. To a casual observer, they’re just those annoying people in the bar being too loud and trotting off to the cubicles to chow down on their second-rate coke.

Like the Bloomsbury Set, but with Aftershock and the constant threat of gonorrhoea.

james three words


vikki made of yopu

“I’m mad, me.”

You ain’t.

james made of you


vikki score

5. Wow. That’s a minus score in real life. “A couple of yawns.” You’ve both had more than a couple from me, I can tell you. You’re lucky I stuck with it.

I haven’t looked for so many distractions while writing since that French A-level exam where I drew a picture of a hover car (I can’t draw) in the space where my 1,500-word essay on Marseilles was supposed to be.

I don’t truly believe James was a 5; nobody who imparts roast-dinner wisdom and doesn’t haul you over the coals for being late is a 5. But Vikki was there and we were not, so we will have to take her increasingly dull word for it.

Come on then, James. Just two more GIFs to go. What have you got?

james score


vikki meet again

Well, before we go, I would just like to thank everyone for coming. I am glad we could spend this time together perusing the dating equivalent of getting a chair to reach the biscuit tin at the very top of the highest cupboard – you know there are Jaffa Cakes in there – and risking life and limb to get it, only to find once you open it that it contains naught but plain Digestives. And they’re all soft.

James, last word goes to you. Come on, baby. Light. My. Fire.

james meet again

doctor who cry

Until next week, then.

Photograph:James Drew Turner, for the Guardian

Note: All the comments I make are based on the answers the Guardian chooses to publish, which may have been changed by a journalist to make for better copy. The participants in the date are aware this may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena. I am sure, in real life, they are cool people. I am critiquing the answers, not the people themselves. If you are the couple in this date and want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 




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