Oliver and Elizabeth

Oliver and Elizabeth 750

As my friends and I stagger arthritically through middle age, we’re becoming more conscious of our attempts to cling onto youth and younger people’s perceptions of it. Our trainers are still pristine and our jeans still skinny and, though some of us have children, the fun pool has yet to be drained. My teenage godson stares on with not-so-silent mortification on the Sundays I go round to his parents’ house and dance to house music in the kitchen, swigging from cans of beer and laughing like drains at old in-jokes from before he was born. So, yeah, older people – embarrassing.

Yet when the shoe’s on the other foot, when young people act like they’re ancient and bore you to tears with their mortgages and their corduroy and their fine wines and exclamations – at 22 years old and still smelling faintly of Clearasil – that they’re now a “foodie”, very few bat an eyelid. We might chuck their chin and call them an “old soul” or whatever but it seems the young are allowed to be as pompous and middle-aged as they like. It’s only when the numbers catch up with the spirit that things go awry.

In that vein, today we have Oliver, a 26-year-old MA student – it doesn’t say what in, but let’s just say you won’t need to phone Jessica Fletcher for a clue once you start reading – and Elizabeth, 25, a paralegal. Read what happened on the date, and try to explain why the room you’re in suddenly smells of dusty old libraries, before I go in and take notes. And scalps.

Oliver starts:

oliver hoping

Joan Greenwood has been dead for almost 30 years. Here she is in Whisky Galore! very much pre-death. It’s like she’s just heard what Oliver said, isn’t it?

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I only know Joan from playing the insane landlady in rowdy, ’80s sitcom Girls On Top, and I would quite like to go on a date with *that* character. I don’t know what it says about Oliver that he’s picked his ideal woman from a 1949 movie, but I guess whatever it is, he’s trying hard to make you understand it.

I feel a bit funny about fancying the deceased. I realise an actor in a movie is a moment in time, forever frozen, but I like my objects of desire to be alive and walking about somewhere – it’s nice to think it might just happen, one day.

No such luck with our Joan, however.

elizabeth hoping

*Blankety Blank “you’re automatically through to the final round” noise*

olivee first

This is probably the last answer Oliver gives that you won’t need to fire up the Oxford Dictionary for, so buckle up.

eliz first

Shy boys. They seem so charming at first. You tell yourself that shyness is sweet, and that once you get him home and pour gin down his throat and put on a mixtape, he’ll come out of his shell and be a wild animal. And sometimes that is true.

Other things that come out of their shell: snails. Beware the shy guy.

oliver talk

Here you go. Oliver’s 26. I am willing to bet the number of New Balance trainers in his (antique, and by antique I mean falling to bits) wardrobe is precisely zero.

eliz talk

Christ. I can almost hear Elizabeth glugging a large Merlot back in one from here.

Have you ever asked someone what their hobbies are? And have they ever answered anything other than “Oh, you know, the usual. Errrrrrrr. Going out, socialising.” I really admire – envy, even  – people who can say something else but I can’t help but equate a high hobby count to a deficiency somewhere else.

oliver awkward

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Oliver is doing an MA, everyone. It’s costing him an awful lot of money, so he’d just like to remind you that he’s doing it and this is why he talks like he just got his tongue trapped in a Jupiter-sized poetry anthology.

I love clever people but this feels like a rehearsal for a round on QI that would have me switching over to Hollyoaks pretty quickly.

eliz awks

Elizabeth = too drunk to remember.

It’s table manners next and oh God oh God oh God.

oliver table

confused

Just answer the fucking question, Samuel Pepys.

eliz table

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“Shared, unboned sea bass.”

Sharing food on a date is bad enough – having to wade through bones to get to it is a nightmare. You should never share food with someone you don’t know that well. Strangers don’t understand your complicated portion requirements. They won’t sympathise that you almost always sacrifice the prime bit of meat when sharing food with pals, so would actually like a turn on it this time. They don’t care you only had two forkfuls and they had five. You are nothing to them; you’re not in their life. You’re just getting in the way of a FULL sea bass.

Never share or bone anything with anyone you won’t be sharing and boning the very same night.

And I’m sure it’s not a spoiler to say these two will not be rolling like thunder or even shortcrust pastry by the end of the evening.

eliz friends

“I have one friend who makes sculptures out of unpaid gas bills, still keeps handkerchiefs up his pullover sleeves and can’t sit down to dinner without telling you the origins of everything you’re about to eat, because he was dropped on his head as a child. They’d get along.”

oliver three

Say what you want about Oliver – and I’m sure plenty of people do as he wanders around Waitrose dressed like Sherlock Holmes at a NASUWT barbecue – but at least he’s not used any of his answers to have a dig at his date, no matter how much eye-rolling there may have been.

That said, most of his answers are about himself, so make of that what you will. While he may look like a fragile soul who only exposes himself to natural light for three days around Michaelmas, I reckon Oliver is not averse to an hour in front of the mirror practising his eyebrow waggling.

eliz best thing

Elizabeth, too, is sweet here. Oliver, strangely, is not asked this question. I imagine there wasn’t room for it in the ridiculously small space the column is afforded each week – he doesn’t half bang on.

oliver made of you

Chatty, basically. Reading this, I find myself longing for simple things. I want to eat a really boring sandwich. Go to Nuneaton. Watch an episode of Bargain Hunt. Queue up in a train buffet car behind a man with skull tattoos. Talk in slang.

eliz made of you

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oliver go on

Hahaha. Given Oliver takes three sentences – with a healthy set of dashes, parentheses and, oh I don’t know, glottal stops – to say he talked too much, I bet the waiters were wondering whether they’d ever get out of there alive.

“No, you go ask them if they want coffee – I asked them if they wanted pudding and it took an hour of head scratching and sign language to realise he was asking me if the soufflé was made with French eggs.”

eliz go on

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oliver change

“In short” – imagine sitting opposite Oliver and him starting a sentence with “In long…”. You’d be texting your goodbyes to loved ones, wouldn’t you?

Elizabeth has a nice burn for the restaurant where she ate her free meal, but I am desperate to get to the scores because I simply can’t anymore.

oliver score

eliz scores

Whichever way you look at it, Oliver is something of a sweetheart. A bumbling, garrulous, absolute disaster of a sweetheart, but a sweetheart nonetheless.

Top marks also to Elizabeth. While she may now face extensive dental bills from grinding her teeth in sheer frustration, any lesser person – one of the usual attention-seekers dying to look good in a magazine – would’ve thrown a guy like Oliver to the wolves. Sometimes it’s nice to be a good person. Or so I’ve read.

Dare we ask if they’ll meet again?

oliver meet

Oh, petal. Back to your marginalia for you, I reckon. Elizabeth? Am I wrong?

eliz meet

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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. Or, in the case of Oliver, edited down from a novella. There’s only one bloody page, you know. 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. 

Photograph: Graham Turner; Sarah Lee, both for the Guardian

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Guardian Blind Date Review 2015: A summer of love

edina jonathan

There is no new Guardian Blind Date review this week, for I am away in the city of love itself, Paris!

Instead, then, and with more than a pang of guilt that this is two weeks in a row without any fresh #content, here is another ‘Best Of’ collection, taking in July, August and September – a veritable summer (and autumn, OK) of love and mercifully few impeccables.

Edina and Jonathan (pictured)

edina talk about

“His activities, my lack of activities.” Nothing worse than finding yourself on a date with Surbiton’s answer to Bear Grylls when you’re the kind of person who considers switching over to something else in the half-hour gap between Corrie episodes on a Monday to be quite adventurous.

It would be easy to mock Edina’s passion for being a librarian, a job many would probably imagine to be very boring. But if you think about, Edina has been dying to tell people to shut up AND GET PAID FOR IT since she was 17. That’s a burning ambition I can truly get behind.

jona friends

Oh yeah? Friends with a pack of werewolves are we? Close pals with everyone on the serial killer wing at Broadmoor? Did you go to school with a rare strain of small pox?

I doubt very much, Jonathan, that Edina would be scared of any of your golfing, “just the one, I’m driving”, cheese-and-biscuits pals.

Edina is a librarian. Do you know what kind of people you find in a library? All kinds. All fucking kinds. People who hide sandwiches in books or talk loudly on their phone RIGHT NEXT to signs telling you to be quiet. She has caught people fucking in the toilets, smoking weed in the agriculture section and has almost certainly read unflattering graffiti written about her in the study room. Edina has met every soulless, thankless, rude, gross human you could ever even think of. She could handle your mates. Trust me.

joina made of you

“Appreciation” of the wines. This means Jonathan couldn’t just sit there and quietly get wrecked while Edina told him about the complex photocopying credit system she’d introduced, he had to wang on about the wine each time he sipped it.

I like my wine in three types: Under £9.99; Over £9.99; Champagne.

Any other amateur sommelier bleatings are utterly wasted on me.

 

Max and Grace

grace talk

I have some friends who went to university in Hull and look back on it very fondly. I can’t find the right GIF for this part so just imagine one. Any GIF at all, doesn’t matter. It’ll work.

“Max’s love of shopping” – the more this date goes on, the more Max sounds like that fabulous gay BFF you’ve been waiting for all your life.

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💯 for the Cilla reference. Well done, chuck. I hope it was proper champagne. None of your cheap plonky fizz for the terror in 1A.

max meet again

Somewhere up there, in the fluffy marshmallow clouds of the hereafter, Cilla has excitedly put down her glass of champagne and her harp, made her excuses to her hostess Princess Diana, and is tottering over to Heaven’s very finest milliner because, viewers, “Isn’t it lovely when they get on?”

 

Martin and Samantha

samanatha friends

I have never, ever understood why someone would point-blank say that they’d never introduce someone to their friends. Why wouldn’t you? What’s so special about your group of acolytes that puts them a cut above?

I’m sure even your cabal of deep-thinkers and trivia experts wouldn’t mind having a pint with Martin. If you have the kind of friends who wouldn’t welcome someone new, whatever their story, maybe you need to rethink your social circle.

This is not the Algonquin Round Table. You’re nobody. We’re all nobody. Until others treat us like a somebody, at least

samantha change

WHUT.

A suit? On a first date? He works in IT. They wear suits to funerals and speeding-fine court appearances and that’s it.

Maybe Martin was super cazh and arrived in a onesie – I don’t know. You have the rest of your life to stare lustfully at Foxtons’ basics in suits, Samantha. Your twenties should be spent being pressed up against the doorbell of your flat kissing away whisky fumes with someone you shouldn’t be in inappropriate, unlaundered denim.

martin meet

The answer to the brain-teaser, Martin? Why I have it here. It’s: “Who gives a fuck? Go back to sleep. It’s 5am.”

 

Martin and Ola

ola first

alexis look up and down

As Destiny’s Child would say, Martin: “Here’s your papers, baby, you are dismissed”.

martin bfriends

The online dating world is minuscule. All the same people are on all the same sites and apps. Log in after six months away from a dating site – perhaps after a rather boring yet sexually adequate fling with one of Martin’s friends – and you will see the same old faces, each bio more depressing and lame than the last.

They should clear out all that meaningless text, all the “I like going out and staying in” and the erroneous colons and double spaces after fullstops and wittering and replace it with “Yes, I am still here. You may as well date me now to save time later”.

Anyway, who gives a shit whether Ola dated Martin’s friend? I hope she screwed him on Martin’s desk.

martin go on

Apart from remembering your mother’s birthday, show me one thing more important than waking up on a weekday on the wrong side of town, your mouth dry and groin tender, absolutely dripping in last night’s sex with a perfect stranger. Impossible. Il n’y a rien.

 

Philip and Elaine

elaine hoping for

Elaine has the world-weary air of a singer in a late-night cocktail bar in 1982, lamenting lost loves and shattered dreams through half-closed eyes to an audience of drunk, ugly businessmen who are all going to try to come on to her as soon as she finishes the last bars of The Man I Love.

She has been on boring dates, she has listened to in-depth assessments of the best way to put up an Ikea wardrobe and she has pretended to like Led Zeppelin just so she doesn’t have to ask a man about his day. She. Is. Done.

elaine introduce

doctor who cry

Oh, Philip.

 

Leon and Sue

leon talk aboiut

“Her work summer party” – I could feel my eyes glazing over there, even from the safe distance of my sofa a full week after the date has actually happened. PAs work incredibly hard, I know, but nobody wants to hear about that big do you’ve organised for your overweight, adulterous bosses.

“Zorb football” – I’m not even Googling. I don’t care.

sue table

“I was too busy recounting, in mind-numbing detail, how hard it is to acquire an ice sculpture of our company logo (two arrows whooshing beneath the word ‘SYNERGY’) at such short notice for my work summer party.”

 

Hannah and Scott

hannh talk about

The sax, it appears, has replaced the ukulele in the hotly contested category of “favourite instrument for men to learn while staring long and hard into the abyss of a midlife crisis”.

scott talk about

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So this is how it feels on the other side of the looking-glass. Sixth in a list of topics below university and baking (something about how amazing Mary Berry was, no doubt) and one above James Bond. I’ll take that. Excuse me while I go call my mother.

scott best thing

It appears that just out of sight, Hannah was hand-rearing some lambs under the table and pausing every 10 minutes during the meal to donate to charity.

Don’t know if I’d want someone to describe me as “warm and caring” on a date, like I worked in a old people’s home or something. Anyway, I doubt they ever would, for I am neither.

 

Kirsty and Alex

kirsty thing

A businessman in a denim jacket? “Yo babe that’s cool I’m down with that uh huh yeah, fancy a few drinks on the balcony of my luxury flat above a Tesco Express?”

alex thing

If you go to a self-checkout machine, perhaps the one in the Tesco Express below Alex’s flat, and ask it what it likes the most about you, this is what it will say.

alex 3 words

The absolute state of heterosexuality in 2015, though.

 

Ricci and Roger

There are lots of misconceptions about gay men out there. That we’re promiscuous, spending alternate weekends at chillouts, spangled out of our nappers on meth. That we all love Kylie. That we’re freakishly tidy.

But the biggest one of all? That we’re all interesting.

Oh how I’ve enjoyed, over decades of existence as one of the most boring people on Earth, watching people’s faces fall after talking to me for longer than five minutes.

Not only do I have nothing to say, I won’t even bother filling the dead air between us with small talk. I’ll just leave you there, dangling, praying for an anvil or a piano to fall from the sky and end this hell for us both.

roger kisdd

Oh, I’ve often been reeled in by the promise/threat of a “quick goodbye kiss” only to be manhandled and pressed against the wall while my date’s tongue goes full “octopus on its first day in a pole-dancing job” around my unsuspecting mouth.

If straight people did “a quick goodbye kiss” like gay men did, you’d all be pregnant 24-7-365.

roger change

It is poor form to slate another gay man’s dress sense to his face and I would say this column counts as face-to-face.

There is a group of guys I once met who have a system where, if they feel one of their friends has worn something that perhaps doesn’t look very good on them or isn’t particularly ‘suitable’, rather than show them up and make them feel self-conscious while they are out on the town, they will, the next day, send an anonymous postcard to their house. Upon the postcard will be just one word: MUTTON.

 

Sam and Milly

sam after

milly after

This answer perfectly sums up  the differences between the two. Sam “watched the lightning”, Milly “had a few jars”.

Milly sounds great, really. Convivial. I bet she doesn’t take off her makeup before she goes to bed, booms at people to move down the Tube in rush hour and stubs fags out in coffee cups. Has a bad date? She shrugs. Gets chips on the way home. Laughs with her mouth wide open. She will always have chewing gum and she will always offer it to you in times of crisis.

Sam… well. Sam watched the lightning.

milly meet again

This seems like a sweet sign-off from our Milly, but it’s a scorching hot BURN and if you can’t recognise this,  you need to get schooled.

Got an enemy you’d rather see drown in custard than succeed but you’re just too classy to call them out? No problem – just say you “wish them well”. It’s “fuck you” in furs.

“My date was a dreary manchild who bored me to cardboard about his job, tutted his way through all my smoking, whinged about holding my glass, moaned about my swearing, pointed at the lightning with his mouth open, and said I looked OLD – but I wish him well.

Course you do.

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Vikki and James

james awkward

bitch please anne hathaway

 

Owen and Marina

marina best thing

If I were a basic bitch I’d say something here about herpes being contagious too but I’ve got more class than that so let’s just say Marina here seems like she really wanted to answer, “Owen’s cackle sounded like a fire in a pet shop”.

owen meet

Oh OWEN. Sweetheart.

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Julie and Dorothy

dot awka

And the worst thing was, I suppose, at the end of this conversation, Dorothy couldn’t suddenly throw her head back in raucous laughter and claim she’d been “joking all along” and it wasn’t actually canals she liked but pulling off million-dollar jewellery heists with a 12-strong pack of sexy Amazonian bikers.

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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. Oh, and I promise: business as usual next week.

Photograph: James Drew Turner for the Guardian.

 

Will and Sarah

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My two grandmothers – both dead, sadly – were very different. One was a bawdy, emotional, tough Yorkshirewoman and the other a brooding, loyal, and equally tough, Irishwoman. Despite their differences, they got on, thanks to a mutual, unspoken respect for one other and the kind of deep-rooted values you could only get through growing up in the 1930s.

A couple of things they definitely agreed on:
– Nobody likes a show-off.
– If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Or at the very least, wait until you’re in private, with people you trust who’ll never blab.

Read what happened on today’s Guardian Blind Date between Will and Sarah and see if you can work out why, this week, I’m listening to Nana and Grandma more closely than I ever have before.

Photograph: Alicia Canter; James Drew Turner, both for the Guardian

Note: Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut, and I do it more often than you’d think. When I do have something to say, 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. 

 

Malik and Jake

Malik and Jake

When we know someone is looking at us or listening to us, we change our behaviour don’t we? We either moderate it to avoid coming across as an idiot or, more usually if we’re going to be totally honest with ourselves, we ramp things up a notch.

We become this exaggerated version of ourselves, an attention-seeking hydra who wants to be thought of as fabulous to everyone within a 10-mile radius – and, boy, do we make sure everyone in that catchment area can hear us.

Meet Malik, 26, a gallery assistant, whose bed is almost certainly pushed up against the wall with only the wrong side available for him to get out of, and Jake, also 26, an American video production assistant who may have swallowed a megaphone in his youth.

Read what happened on the date, and see if you can guess which one of them got the least attention as a child, before I go in for the kill.

We begin with Malik.

malik hoping for

This is James Middleton:

(Rex)
(Rex)

A gay man fantasising about a moneyed, bearded faux-ristocrat who knows his way around a sports jacket and is close to a lot of women with shiny hair? How UNUSUAL.

jake hoping for

Why this could be an entry from my diary. If you want your dates to be romantic and twee, go curl up with a  Barbara Cartland. I always wanted my dates to start off well before descending into a savage, hedonistic catastrophe that you could only speak about in hushed tones afterward. From a hospital bed.

Well, that or beer then snogging then sex then morning then goodbye then never hearing from them again.

malik first impressions

Shave the beard off and he’s not that far away from being James Middleton, really. Imagine having James Middleton as your fantasy figure. A man whose ‘big business idea’ was personalised marshmallows. Marshmallows. With your face on. Why are you laughing? What? It’s not funny. I’m being serious. It’s a thing.

jake first

This is the last answer in the entire column that is not an aspiring medallist in the try-hard olympics, so enjoy it while you can.

I’m sure it’s not much of a spoiler for me to say that the answers in this date take two very different directions from the off. And yet both of them feel like they’re auditioning to be the least funny panellist on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown – quite the challenge.

malik talk

Ah, not so shy after all. The thing about dates where one person talks a lot is that it’s very easy to blame the chatty Cathy. Why don’t they ever shut up? Why are they so self-obsessed? Yet this is misguided.

True, it’s selfish of a date to yak on about themselves endlessly, but the other person in the conversation has to bear some of the responsibility too. Why aren’t you interjecting? Why haven’t you got anything to say for yourself? Is he boring on and on simply to fill the air because you haven’t said a solitary syllable since he arrived?

Oh, you’re a bit shy and quiet? Good for you. But you’re on a date, not standing up in front of your GCSE French class giving a presentation about a visit to a boulangerie. Step it up.

jake talk about

“The convo.”

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malik awkward

Margo ewwww

When you go on a date with someone, part of the thrill – if you fancy them at least – is imagining what their body is like underneath all those clothes. If their conversation is dull and, oh dear, they’ve just said they’d vote Ukip, it matters not, so long as you’ve got their rack to dream about.

Jake, however, is leaving nothing to chance. Despite Malik being as receptive as a cutlery drawer, he’s flashing his body at him from the gloomy depths of his iPhone. One can only imagine the other horrors within.

jake awkward

I don’t think there’s any ‘maybe’ about it, bae. Let’s all raise a glass to being the drunkest person on the date. Almost all of us have done it. And let’s all make a pact not to be that person again.

It’s time for table manners and I almost can’t look.

malik table

I have to agree with this. Your phone shouldn’t come out at all on a date. Not ever. Not even to show them a picture of your dog. Fuck your dog; it’s boring. A phone is a distraction, an unwanted gooseberry on a date. Before you know it, you’ll be on Tinder together checking out who’s nearby and laughing uproariously at all the ugly ones because oh my goodness you are so funny and beautiful.

The phone should only come out at the end of the date, either to text that you had a lovely time and would love to do it again or to go back on Tinder and pray you’ve got a match with a bottomless wallet and no discernible gag reflex.

jake table

Goodness how awful for you. What could you have done? Let me see here if I have any suggestions for you. I shan’t be a minute, just googling.

Oh, here’s something. Don’t know how useful it is.

skyler-shut-up

And “vibe”? Baby, cool your jets, and leave the “vibe” to R Kelly.

malik introduce

I’m guessing it would be something like the characters from The Big Bang Theory waking up in Las Vegas next to a dead male stripper with Keeping Up With The Kardashians blaring out from a planet-sized television in the background.

jake introduce

Gay men reading this, just take a moment to imagine what Jake’s friends might be like.

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malik three

While I am starting to get the impression Jake was a raving, drunk nightmare on this date, Malik’s “Anthea Turner opening a garden fete and cringing at how regional everyone’s accents are” routine is wearing a little thin too.

We get why you’re here, to show everyone how clever and refined you are. Congratulations on being an antique vase that can talk.

jake three

Sitting opposite either of this pair for an hour or two sounds like it was about as pleasurable as waking up to find your house redecorated by Laurence Llewellyn Bowen and a team of meth addicts, but at least Jake has something nice to say here.

His grandma would be very proud.

malik made of you

So inquisitive that you didn’t say a word all night? I thought you talked about “Him. A lot.” No? If you’re inquisitive, I’ll assume you asked him a lot of questions and he… answered them. No?

Isn’t it strange that in an effort to make yourself sound interesting, you have… well. Not.

Come on, Jake, come and destroy my last shred of goodwill for this horror-show.

jake made of you

200

Attaboy. Well done. In what way are you “voodoo”? What are you talking about?

Reading this has been a bit like being a victim of voodoo, or perhaps watching two cardboard cutouts talk me through their evening has awoken my osteoarthritis. Who’s to say?

malik go on

Haha, did you FUCK have a party to go to. You went straight home, Malik, and sat down at your laptop – a Dell – and began crafting your answers for this column because you almost certainly knew exactly what you were going to say before you even turned up on the date.

jake go on

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malik change

“I’d rather talk about my regret at not eating some squeaky cheese than say maybe I would’ve changed my date’s head, or my attitude.”

jake change

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Are you sure about that. sweetheart? At least you wouldn’t remember the whole sorry affair, I guess.

We are at the scores. How long have we been here? It feels like a while, doesn’t it? I’m hysterical. I want it to be over yet I want it never to end, like I’m on a really scary rollercoaster but sitting next to Jake Gyllenhaal and he’s got super-short shorts on and smells like an angel.

malik scores

Dropped with the ice-cold precision of a receipt slithering out of a self-checkout machine, Malik’s score could curdle milk. He didn’t have a very good time, did he? Oh well, at least he got to appear in a national magazine, although I’m sure that was the farthest thing from Malik’s mind.

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jake scores

Thing is, no you’re not. You’re from the same world – a universe where you think you might as well appear in this column to get a free meal and build your ‘brand’.

You’ve both done your utmost to paint the other as a bit of a nightmare and yourself as the hapless hero we should get behind, but guess what?

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Here’s Malik’s final tap-dance in the limelight as the hook to drag him off the stage hovers. Make it a good one, Malik.

malik meet again

Ooh, you big show-off. No need for the lime in your gin and tonic – you’ve got plenty of zing of your own.

Jake?

jake meet

Oh well, at least you’ve got your phone to keep you company.

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Main photograph: James Drew Turner; Graham Turner, both for the Guardian

Note: I generally don’t take sides – although it was HELLA tricky not to this week, Christ – and 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.