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 | James
What were you hoping for?
A guy I’m attracted to with a great sense of humour.

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.

What were you hoping for?
That she’d turn up on time.

Can anyone tell me what foreshadowing is?

First impressions?
Smart, extremely polite and a little nervous.

“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.

First impressions?
Initially all I could notice were her eyes.

essence ofs mooth

What did you talk about?
His time in Sydney, his work achievements and how he likes to tweet, art galleries, our love of cooking, family, worst date scenarios.

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.

We found a connection over food (roasts, curries, Smash) and had the exact same main, so clearly have similar tastes.

T shirt saying "I love basics"

Any awkward moments?
I ashamedly arrived 15 minutes late after going to the wrong restaurant.

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.

She asked what I was most afraid of and I said, “Spelunking” a little too fast, which sounded, well, dirty.

Screenshot of wikipedia

bitch please says anne hathaway

Good table manners?
Very good. I felt bad because I was eating my chips with my hands and he was all about the knife and fork

“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.”

Good table manners?

Angie Watts slugging a gin

Best thing about James?
He gave me great tips on how to cook a roast dinner.

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.)

Best thing about Vikki?
Eyes. A down-to-earth country girl in the big city.

Sure, Jan

Would you introduce him to your friends?
I’m not sure he’d be able to handle them.

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.

Describe her in three words
Driven, witty, food.

Woman saying "sure"

Describe him in three words
Friendly, good-looking, intelligent.

“I’m mad, me.”

You ain’t.

What do you think she made of you?
A little nervous at first. I don’t think she fancied me.


5. Lovely guy, but no attraction. I even received a couple of yawns at the end.

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?



Would you meet again?
Probably not.

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.

Would you meet again?

doctor who cries

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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