Will is tall and blond and is wearing a pink shirt over a blue T. Reece has dark hair and a moustache and is wearing a green letterman jacket, a white T.
Composite: Jill Mead and Sophia Evans/The Guardian/The Guyliner
Impeccable Table Manners

Will and Reece

Coronation Day, apparently. What better way to celebrate it or to ignore it altogether than spend a little time with TWO kings. (You thought I was going to say two queens there, didn’t you? I did myself for a while, to be honest; I workshopped both in my head, but here we are. There’s only room for ONE old queen here, and that is me.)

Anyway, welcome to the madness, Will and Reece, which sounds a bit like Will and Grace, but let’s hope this pair are a little more likeable. Will (blond, on the left) is 29 and an investment banker, while Reece is 25 and a government adviser. Might he be able to… advise them to resign? As a treat?

Anyway, here they are in their latest internet shopping hauls:

Will is tall and blond and is wearing a pink shirt over a blue T, jeans and white trainers. Reece has dark hair and a moustache and is wearing a green letterman jacket, a white T, off-white jeans and black DM boots.
Composite: Jill Mead and Sophia Evans/The Guardian

Fine young men, I’m sure we can agree, and at least one of whom I recognise off Instagram, so I can only assume they know what they’re in for. so they get the clicks, then return here for the forensic dismemberment.

Will | Reece

First impressions?
Really positive. Here was someone with great style who cares about how they look; someone confident who has excellent moustache game.

I have nothing snarky to say here.

First impressions?
Tall, handsome, incredibly charming. My gran would love him!

Nor here, really.

I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be gay and have your gran still around. One died before I came out – although she wasn’t stupid and I moved, talked, blinked and breathed gay when I was younger so I assume she was clued in – and I never told the other one; I never got round to it, but again, she had eyes and ears so it wouldn’t have been a mystery. I suppose one upside would be I’ll never know how they would’ve felt about it so can presume it would’ve all been absolutely fine. They were always very nice to gay men when they were alive. But I do see, on socials, all these lovely young gay people out with their grans and it makes me wistful and nostalgic for things that never happened. I hope you are treating your grannies like queens.

What did you talk about?
All the cardinal sins of a first date: politics, exes and comparing mutuals on Instagram (a test for any gay man in London). Reece was super-engaging on everything from sustainability to his love of pretentious theatre.
Will leading his company’s LGBTQ+ network. Coming out. Politics. How EastEnders’ Christian and Syed were my gay awakening. Failed relationships.

All the cardinal sins of a first date/failed relationships ✅ – I wrote about this very topic for the Guardian years ago; I even managed to get some gifs in, fancy that. But yes, talking about politics and exes… I suppose it’s one way of finding out if you can bear to stick around.

Comparing mutuals on Instagram – a test for any gay man in London indeed. Instagram has been a glorified pimping service for years and shows no sign of slowing down. What happens in the ‘green circles’ makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like an episode of Peppa Pig. Apparently the loudest sound ever recorded was the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in 1883 – 310 decibels, whoa – but I know something that could beat it: the collective scream of every gay man in London should Instagram and Twitter ever accidentally make DMs public. Anyway, I’m assuming here the boys are playing a version of Snap to see if  they’ve ever played hole to the same toad.

How EastEnders’ Christian and Syed were my gay awakening – This storyline was a huge deal at the time. It suffered a few well-trodden tropes – the religious element, the scorned woman etc – but it was unapologetic, involving, and quite sexy by all accounts. Just like real life! Kind of.

It’s important that programmes do this because they don’t just normalise the presence of queer people in our society – even through sensationalist storylines – they also help things click into place for those sitting at home. Whether it’s a parent making sense of hunches about their own child, or someone who hasn’t quite yet managed to connect the wires of how they feel and what it means. Representation matters, of any kind, but positive representation especially, given so much of what is written about us is poisonous rhetoric from people outside the community. Positive and/or honest coverage on soaps or in the press doesn’t turn anyone queer – it’s already there, within us, waiting – but it can reassure anyone who might be worried, show them there are others like them out there. Representation and visibility aren’t making anyone trans, it’s helping those who already are trans but either haven’t come to terms with it or don’t have the confidence to live the life they deserve. If it seems like there are more of us, you’re not looking at the bigger picture. We have always been here; we were not magicked up overnight. we deserve to be seen, heard, and known; everyone deserves the chance to be themselves.

My gay awakening? I’m honestly not sure. But very possibly this:

Maxwell caulfield as Michael in Grease 2

Or more likely this:

Lady Diana Spencer runs her fingers through her hair

Most awkward moment?
Very few – conversation flowed naturally. And the overlap of certain “acquaintances” on Instagram raised a few eyebrows and laughs.

Comparing notes! Strange isn’t it how the internet and social media has allowed us to communicate with anyone in the world but our own small pools of familiarity can’t help forming. Our world is expanding and contracting at the same time. And what is it floating on the top of that pool? Is it…? Oh no. Oh don’t look, we’ll fetch someone to scoop that up with something. (Never, ever step into a jacuzzi where two gay men have been previously alone.)

Most awkward moment?
The gentleman that Will is stood up to greet me when I arrived. I went in for a hug instead of a handshake: 30 seconds I wish to forget.

If you wish to forget them, is this a form of aversion therapy?

Good table manners?
Excellent, although waiting to mention his dairy intolerance until I was tucking into a chocolate fondant wasn’t great timing.

Princess Diana cringes slightly

Oh dear. Will was hoping Reece might help him lick the bowl, perhaps? Or thereabouts.

Good table manners?
Aye, no notes from me.

This answer has been sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board.

Best thing about them?
His confidence and charisma.
Himself! Great vibes. He seems to be living his most authentic life, and it was a delight to have a courtside seat.

What lovely things to say about each other. This is all coming over wonderfully warm and sweet – like the hot, treacly wee of an as-yet-undiagnosed diabetic.

Would you introduce them to your friends?
Absolutely. They’d get on well. He could have a conversation with anyone.
Only after I’d sat my boys down and made them swear not to embarrass me.

I REFUSE to ruin our weekends and post a gif of Cilla but… you know.

I like these answers. ‘Sat my boys down’ is especially evocative. I’m sure Reece’s friends know how to behave in front of guests – those grandmothers will have taught them well. The thing is, a bit of acidic banter among friends is the glue that binds us together, but if the balance isn’t right, or they’re sustained attacks, the glue can start to burn the skin. To outsiders, the way we snipe and tease each other might sound shocking, maybe even cruel – but a good friend knows when to dial it back, or can spot when the venom is a defence mechanism. It’s the huge difference between us and straight men, I feel – they get banter so woefully wrong. It’s never intelligent, and it plays on insecurities, and likes to circle an outsider. It’s about asserting dominance. With gay men… not all, obviously, please don’t write in… but with gay men, it feels different. A bit of back and forth is how we show you we love you, tell you we’ve seen you. Maybe we could go about this in a slightly lovelier way, but perhaps we’re frightened that if we’re more upfront about it, we’ll lose you.

Anyway, shut up, bitch, and go to the bar, your shoes are ugly etc etc.

Did you go on somewhere?
We went to a bar and sank two bottles of wine. We were queer men in Soho – it would have been boorish not to.

Meghan Markle applauding at Wimbledon

And… … did you kiss?
A real lady never kisses on date one.
The only kiss I had was from the cold window of the number 8 bus I fell asleep against on the way home.

Cockblocked by a dairy intolerance, maybe? Such a shame, as in the old days the gays used to GET. IT. DONE. However, it’s sweet that they’re saving themselves, even though the rest of us are wheezing in anticipation, like a Tesla reversing out of a driveway.

Marks out of 10?
A really lovely evening: 9/10!

NINE from Will indicates that had it not been for the lactose issue, he may well have been jet washing the backs of Reece’s molars, so marked accordingly.
EIGHT from Reece is the internationally agreed score for a good Blind Date that did not involve tongues, fingers, tops, and last-minute scrabbles in a bedside drawer.

No tens unless the orb sees the sceptre, babe.

Would you meet again?
The jury is out, kids! I hope so.

Prince Harry beaming smile

Happy Coronation Day!

This one is for you, queen:

Princess Diana queen of hearts speech

How to support my work

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Subscribe to my Substack<[/button] (There is lots of stuff for free; it's not all behind a paywall.) The paperback of my third novel THE FAKE-UP arrives 18 May, and looks pretty hot, I have to say. Preorder from Amazon, Waterstones, Bookshop.org, or any other lovely retailer.

Alternatively, it’s available on Kindle for just 99p for a limited time only! BUY NOW

Cover of the my book The Fake-Up showing two illustrated characters lying by a pool, and the coverline 'The world thinks they're single. But they're living double lives'

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. Date 2: spill.

Will and Reece ate at Louie, London WC2. Fancy a blind date? Email blind.date@theguardian.com


  1. Can someone enlighten me as to who’s in the first gif (i.e. the Guyliner’s likely gay awakening)?

  2. I loved every fucking line of this.

    Lapsed reader that I am (forgive me!) I’ve somehow managed to forget that you still churn these out week after week for essentially nothing but kicks.


  3. Thank you for Diana, Megan and Harry. And for sharing your gay awakening. Reproduction indeed!
    Men who like to “neg” women or, let’s call it as it is, (because the sooner we live in a world where we describe accurately what’s happening rather than hiding behind obfuscating terminology, the better) put women down to make them feel small do this because they’re sexist and as you say they want to assert some form of dominance, (which, of course, is a total fantasy). These are bullying and intimidation tactics plain and simple. Any man doing this is displaying a huge red flag. Walk away- quickly. To me this is not the same as the kind of communication you’re talking about Justin, that takes place between gay men and is not designed to intimidate, but rather to express something quite different. Not being a gay man I’d hesitate to say what these things are but I’d hazard a guess at friendship, allyship, camaraderie and humour.

Leave a Response