Gavin and Aimee

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As anyone who found their eyes boring into yet another fuzzy closeup of an engagement ring on social media will tell you, Christmas is second only to Valentine’s Day when it comes to off-the-peg, “Oh I do hope everyone’s looking” romance.

There must be something about the festive season – all gorging on tins of Roses and waiting in for Amazon deliveries for what seems like the whole of December – that makes us go gooey-eyed and decide we shouldn’t be alone anymore.

But just as it is a time of togetherness and hearts and flowers, so too can the strain of a turkey’s least favourite day of the year destroy your relationship. The wrong gift, too many drinks, flirtations with a distant relative, bad memories of festive periods past – they can all turn the most wonderful time of the year into your very own personal EastEnders.

But now it’s “all over for another year” and all that remains is Boxing Day, a stack of packaging to organise for the recycling, mild hangovers, repeats of Dad’s Army and – amid the turkey curry belches – a Guardian Blind Date.

Read what happened between Gavin, 37, and entrepreneur and 30-year-old Aimee, a PA. I’ll be back on the other side with – as it’s a reduced service today, just like the buses – reaction shots ONLY.

Gavin is up first:

gavin hoping

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aimee hoping for

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aimee first imp

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gavin talk about

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aimee talk about

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gavin awkward

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aimee awkward

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gavin table

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aimee table

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gavin best thing

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aimee best thing

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gavin three words

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aimee friends

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aimee made of you

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gavin somewhere

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aimee somewhere

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gavin kiss

aimee kiss

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gavin change

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aimee change

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gavin score

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aimee score

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gavin meet again

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aimee meet again

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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, please do not take this personally.  If you want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 

Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris; James Drew Turner, both for the Guardian

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Alexandra and Raffaele

alex raffaele

We are all devastatingly unreliable narrators. We only ever care for our own version of events. It can be surprising, sometimes, to hear an alternative take on something you were almost certain happened a different way. And even when you do, you probably don’t accept it. You were there. You know.

“Oh really?” you might say. “Don’t remember that bit.” And then you sail away to talk to someone else who isn’t going to contradict you.

There aren’t many narrators more unreliable than people taking part in the Guardian’s Blind Date column. The “What did you talk about?”  answers hardly ever match up and there’s so much obliviousness, especially among the ruder daters, that you wonder how these people manage to get through the day without a hit being taken out on them.

Today’s date is no exception. Read what happened between 28-year-old teaching assistant Alexandra and Raffaele, 42, a sales executive, before I go in with secateurs and get pruning.

Alexandra kicks us off:

alex hoping for

I’ve often seen, down by the docks, lots of burly sailors flicking through the Guardian looking for Marina Hyde’s latest Lost in Showbiz column, haven’t you?

Oh, hang on, Alexandra isn’t after an actual sailor, she wants a “creative, burly sailor type” – so basically a web designer with a gym membership and a big beard with prison-style tattoos that cost a month’s rent for each one.

Why come all the way into the pages of a magazine for that rarest of specimens? Wouldn’t it have been easier for her to chuck a pebble in any bar in east London and take her pick from the three identical men nearest to where it landed?

raf hoping for

Imagine never having expectations. Never. Not even one. Will the train come on time to get me to work? Not even thinking about it, bruv. Will my performance review with my boss go well? Totally zen. I’m guessing here Raffaele does have expectations but they are almost never met, and hey, he’s 42 and that watch just keeps on ticking so he may as well drop the pretence.

The outgoing message on Raffaele’s voicemail says only one word: “Yes!”

alex first

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You can almost hear Alexandra grind the enamel off her back teeth when she’s answering that one, can’t you? That “confident” is not meant as a compliment.

raf frst

I got this:
Raffaele: Are you OK? You seem quiet.
Alexandra (disheartened to the point where there’s a tear forming in her eye): Oh I’m just nervous.
Raffaele didn’t get that impression probably because he wasn’t that interested in whether she was nervous or not. alex talk

raf talk about

See? Two different dates. The only thing they have to connect them is Italy and food. And by food, I mean sausages.

Raffaele sells sausages for a living – that has to be worth looking into. “What we’d do in an apocalypse” – go on another Guardian Blind Date to try to blag a free meal, I assume.

alex awkward

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I don’t know whether Alexandra is suggesting Raffaele likes things a little more disco or not here. I don’t find it odd, however, or gay.

Have you ever been on a date with an insecure person? They can’t believe that they’re on a date with you, however gross you may think you look, and so they start peering at others around you and wonder whether they’re up to scratch.

Raffaele is 14 years older than Alexandra and despite all his confident banker bluster might be feeling every minute of it. I’m guessing the waiter was *not* 42, or anywhere near it. Rafael was, I assume, just making sure Alexandra wouldn’t prefer the waiter over him. Seriously, I have sat opposite plenty of guys who were convinced that the guy behind the bar was looking at me/would be better for me/fancied me. It’s pretty tiring and used to be very sad for them. Especially when I got the barman’s number.

But we live and learn. Well, they do.

No awkward moments for Raffaele apparently so we’re zooming on to table manners.

alex table

Very clever of Alexandra to both praise Raffaele’s table manners and then get in a disclaimer that her own would make Dennis the Menace’s pet pig Rasher blush in KFC.

She clearly anticipates Raffaele getting a dig in but he’s too busy talking about Italy and sausages and trying to decide how long it will take the waiters arse to sag to notice:

raf table

See? “Yes.” Printers up and down the country sigh with relief that they won’t be running out of ink any time soon.

alex best

Second week in a row we’ve had an accent heralded as the best thing about someone. I would be so furious if this was the best anybody could say about me. The way I speak? That’s it?! Not my personality or my jokes or my taste in clothes or my manners or my hair or my face or even my SHOES – just my accent?

Seriously, nobody is going to think you want to marry them just because you say they’re good-looking. If you can’t think of anything to say, just say that. They’re going to read this. “The best thing about you is your accent.” Don’t mind me; I’m just off  to buy 800 paracetamol, a vat of whisky and a minivan to take me to Beachy Head.

raf best

“I enjoyed talking at her. She laughed at my jokes.” From bitter experience, I can say that sometimes this is all some men will need.

alex friends

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She’s super-subtle – in fact, I’m sure the minor abrasions to my head from her sledgehammer tact will heal in mere weeks – but I think we all know what Alexandra is trying to say here.

alex made iof you

Oh my God, this made me laugh so much, especially the “which is true”. He probably said you were a deep thinker because you didn’t say anything.

I’d probably call myself a deep thinker too, but the fact is if I were a puddle, I wouldn’t even reach up to the top of your sandals.

raf made of you

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Maaaaaate, that’s not quite how it went. But she did think you were funny.

alex go on

raf go on

While I would never suggested Alexandra’s early night was totally and utterly made up – she’s a teaching assistant, after all – I reckon even if she’d had three days off ahead of her, which included a mini-break at a luxury spa, at which she had a suite all to herself and a spare ticket for anyone who might want to go with her, she would still have said she needed to get up early.

Pretty much the only thing that can get you out of a date easily is a deadline or death and I suppose Alexandra is too young to consider flinging herself under the sharp blades of the skaters at Somerset House to end it all.

alex kiss

Well, unless your tongue was hanging out like Carrie Fisher’s bulldog and somehow found its way into Raffaele’s mouth – easy enough as he never stops talking – then, no, it doesn’t count.

How to end dates where you know you’ll never see them again? Funnily enough, the easiest way to make sure you’ll never lay eyes on your date ever again is to take them home and have sex with them – or so my diary would have you believe – but a light hug, preceded by a limp handshake, perhaps, will usually do the trick.

There’s an amazing feeling in the air just after you do ‘the hug’, because usually you would say something like “We must do this again” or “See you soon!” but you definitely don’t want to do that on this occasion just in case, by some miracle, they do actually fancy you and want to see you again. These are the type of scenarios where you end up married to a Barry or a Lynda and living in a Barratt house in Penge.

If you can’t think of anything to say, take the advice of Patricia Routledge’s Kitty and think “What would the Queen Mum do?” Obviously now, in 2015, she’d say very little, but back then, she may well have said “We shall have fog by teatime”. That should do it.

alax change

I’ve never ice-skated. Ever. A man once dragged me as far as Somerset House on a date and I actually got the boots on, but then we bumped into his ex-boyfriend, who twirled like Tara Lapinski, and my enthusiasm dwindled. So I watched them skate on while I sat mainlining gin and tonics in the bar.

Recently, a client invited me on their Christmas party which started off skating at Somerset House and again I declined to skate. As I watched my colleagues glide like swans on the ice, I started to regret it, until I spotted a fellow freelancer desperately clinging on to the side, her boots clomping on the ice, terror in her eyes. So I leant back on the sofa and sipped my wine and thought I was better off where I was. So no regrets there, Alexandra.

raf change

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Scores!

alex scores

raf scores

A kind zero from Alexandra there. I know we all tend to have a better time reading these when the two daters savage each other like a scene from a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but sometimes it’s nice when the dates walk away from each other with heads still attached and haven’t spent the entire time trying to look clever at the other’s expense.

Raffaele’s score is high, isn’t it? He’s 42, though – he knows that knocks on the door don’t come as often as they used to.

So, as we skate toward the finish line, will we be seeing our star-crossed sausage enthusiasts back together again?

alex meet

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Raf? What say you?

raf 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. I can barely see the join, so well done everyone. 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, please do not take this personally.  If you want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 

Photographs: Graeme Robertson; James Drew Turner, both for the Guardian

Craig and Callum

craifg and callum

When you’re gay, you find people love to analyse you. They are desperate to do some soul-searching on your behalf, to find explanations why you are who you are.

“So did you have a strong male/female role model in your life?” they will coo, like a dog-eared, Shiraz-swigging A-level psychology book, peering into your eyes, desperate for saltwater.

“Do you find it difficult to commit because the world is so heteronormative?” followed by a lily-white, quivering hand upon yours, to show they understand.

The one gay trait nobody can resist flinging onto the couch and charging £80 an hour to hear all about, however, is the bitchiness that comes so naturally to quite a few gay men. We play along, saying it’s a “defence mechanism” and that instead of fists in the playground,  we’d “use words to fight our cruel bullies”. And, you know what, it’s kind of true.

But sometimes, just sometimes, some gay men are bitchy because a) they want some attention and it’s the fastest way to get it from a room of squares and b) they are massive bitches anyway.

On that note, read what happened on this week’s Guardian Blind Date between Craig, a 23-year-old graduate (watches a lot of daytime TV) and Callum, 21, a media planner (has a primary-coloured swivel chair and keys to the stationery cupboard). Yes, readers, we’re hanging by the kindergarten gates again.

Craig kicks us off:

craig hoping for

As any gay man who’s spent half of his life wishing gay pubs sold arsenic behind the bar will tell you, sometimes five minutes is all you need.

callum spark

Spark. Callum is 21. This feels a little young to be looking for a spark. Searching for sparks to help things along feels like something two middle-aged daters, with hobbies and bad habits and a secret collection of tea cosies, would so. When you’re older, you rely on the spark to temporarily blind whoever you’re interested in to your numerous faults, so that they’ll fancy you anyway.

You don’t need spark, Callum; you’re already primed with accelerant. It’s called youth and it’s on the clock. Prepare for self-combustion.

craig first

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I make it a policy to never comment specifically on any of the participants’ looks. Sure, I might say they come across like a couple of estate agents or that they can cook only carbonara and nothing else, but when it comes to tearing apart their physical attributes? Nah.

HOWEVER.

A gay man in a checked shirt with what I suppose you’d call a quiff and a smattering of stubble is calling a fellow gay man generic-looking?

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Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe Craig has realised someone out there may actually be reading his answers.

callum frst

I’m sure it’s not much of a spoiler for me to say that flicking between Craig and Callum’s answers now, for the most part, becomes like looking at two sets of photos  jumbled up by the hapless work experience in Snappy Snaps. One set shows a puppy frolicking on a rug, while the other depicts a set of hob-nailed boots slamming down on its head. But don’t be fooled: that puppy knows what it’s doing.

craig talk about

I think if someone were banging on about their favourite Friends characters – a clichéd, outdated mess of a show which ceased production around 80 years ago – I’d relish the chance to talk about myself too. Absolutely anything about myself: childhood verrucas, biros I had loved and lost, my views on the MMR vaccination, what it’s like being trapped in a cage of my own genericness, on this date.

callum talk

Oh well, Callum, at least you have another bad drunken experience to add to your portfolio. I assume you did get drunk. Well, you will, once you’ve read what someone’s said about you in a national newspaper.

craig awkward

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One thing I do find vaguely amusing about my fellow gay men and what seems to be the unstoppable race to be the most non-stereotype masculine gay it’s possible to be, is that some old-school habits are hard to let go. Our hero worship of older, fabulous women is nothing new.

At 21, however, you can forgive Callum for not knowing who Angela Lansbury is. And I’m not altogether sure why even the subject of her would come up on a date between two people under 40 – were they playing that drinking game where you go through the alphabet naming famous people? Got to L and can’t think of anyone else? Really?

While respect and mere visibility for elderly people is fantastic, I’m always a little suspicious of youngsters who pretend they idolise “amazing” old women in the media like Angela or Mary Berry, yet haven’t called their own grandmother in three years and roll their eyes whenever someone over 35 stands next to them at the bar. Oh yeah, I see you.

callum awkward

So in one corner we have Craig saying Callum never shut up and in the other Callum says there were lapses in the conversation. To Callum, a lapse in conversation probably just means he stopped to take a swig of plonk. Or breathe.

Who do we believe in this scenario? Let’s just say neither and pray a monsoon of anvils is heading our way to put us out of our collective misery.

It’s table manners, guys. Hold on.

craig taBLE

Haha, a bitchy gay man too busy flinging back prosecco to notice there’s anyone else in the room – HOW NOVEL.

callum table

How are we feeling about Callum? What are our hopes and aspirations for how this is going to go for the lad? Do we want to wrap him up in cotton wool and protect him, or are we starting to think maybe he’s a dead-eyed, garrulous psychopath, who knows exactly what he’s doing?

craig best thing

callum best thing

Here we have two people brimming over with such contempt, they can’t bear to say anything here relating to looks or personality. Craig goes for what Callum is wearing – a standard copout, but an admirable one – while Callum plumps for something very few of us choose to control: his accent.

I’m guessing Craig is Scottish because that’s the one most gay men I know fetishise, and I say that as the proud owner of a Scottish boyfriend – my SECOND. Unless Callum’s taste is a little more off-menu and Craig’s a brummie or from Basingstoke or a small village just outside Dartford. You never know.

craig friends

Well, exactly. They met you, for instance. (Just kidding.)

Also:

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callum friends

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Looks like the puppy just cut a new tooth. Doesn’t say why, though. I suppose if you introduce another person to your squad, there’ll be even less opportunity for you to talk about yourself.

craig three words

I feel for Craig here because I too have been on dates who thought they were the sexiest thing since Jake Gyllenhaal last chewed his own  lip in a wet T-shirt. They sit blinking and smirking and leaning forward so you can see down their shirt, generating all the lustfulness of a Tom Tom stuck on one route that takes you the wrong way down a dual carriageway.

I’ve also been on dates with men who waffle on about themselves for hours on end, never even pausing to ask a question. Ever. Pro tip: if someone doesn’t ask you a question – other than whether you want a drink – in the first half-hour, leave. If they’re that bad at chatting, imagine how awful the sex will be. Clue: it will be terrible. Open the Uber app right now. Depart.

However, with Craig going for the jugular really early on, and Callum kind of not retaliating, it makes me wonder whether we’re getting an accurate picture of what’s going on here. Either Callum really was the worst date on Earth and is just mind-blowingly, sadistically oblivious – or Craig wants to be the understudy who walks on stage as a nobody, but leaves it a star.

The jury’s out.

callum three

You see? Compliments. Did these two actually go on the same date?

craig made of you

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callum made of you

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craig kiss

callum kiss

Not even a hate-snog. What a waste of time. And their date was in the Electricity Showrooms, a venue that even senior management can’t believe is still open and actually taking money.

craig change

Haha this is like buying a house and saying the only thing you like about it is a crocus growing in the back garden, but you’d like to demolish the rest.

“I wish I’d been more interesting for him.”

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callum change

I think you’ve got more chance of finding a spark at the bottom of the very ocean Rose’s weak-assed ship sank to, bae.

And you felt gross after rushing straight from work? Try doing it at 35 years old in high summer, on your way to a date to meet the human equivalent of the last can of tinned pears in a closing-down sale. Then you’ll truly know gross.

craig scores

callum scores

Callum’s 3 seems strange to me. He’s barely had a bad word to say about Craig in the write-up, but all of a sudden we’re in sub-zero temperatures with the scoring? I think someone’s trying to look like a blameless little princelet in a national newspaper. Too late.

I think it’s safe to say the Emmanuels needn’t be removing the dust-sheets from their bridal design studio any time soon, but let’s go through the motions and ask if they’ll meet again. It’s what Angela Lansbury would do.

craig meet again

You’d say hello?! After that roasting? Wow.

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Callum? Anything left to say?

callum meet again

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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. Some of them may even start showing off a bit in the name of entertainment, and that’s up to them. 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, please do not take this personally, but remember: just because you read my blog doesn’t mean I’ll spare the horses.  If you want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 

Photographs: Graham Turner, Sarah Lee, both for the Guardian

Jon and Nicole

jon and nicole

The dating arena is filled with battle-scarred survivors. We have seen things no human should’ve seen. Like world-weary cocktail waitresses in the shabbiest bar nearest the city’s least important airport, we have stories to tell and opportunities missed, and hopes and aspirations mashed up and crushed like a dried out old lime in the bottom of our seventh gin and tonic.

Every avenue taken is a last resort. Tombstones of failure line up as far as the eye can see, inscribed with “Speed Dating in Hoxton”, “3-month free trial with Match.com”, “Friday foursome in the Hat & Fan with that guy from Lisa’s work” and, the farthest one of all, crumbling nobly in the twilight, says “Guardian Blind Date column”.

To want to appear on this page you have to be mad or bored or desperate or all three and more, but it’s generally accepted that for you to resort to finding love in a national newspaper, you’ve tried everything else. You’ve been around the block enough to know you’ve nothing to lose. You’ve reached the “might as well” milestone. You’re toast.

Bizarre, then, that today’s Blind Daters are so young. Maybe they’re skint paying off their huge student loans and are desperate for a free meal, but this week 23-year-old events coordinator Jon and Nicole, 22, a marketing assistant are giving romance a go. Read what happened on the date – maybe play some loud disco while you read it to keep you awake, because a boxset of Jessica Jones it is not – before I take everything apart and put it back together all wrong.

Jon is first up:

jon hoping

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23, apparently. I want to see receipts.

nicole hoping

You know there are some phrases that really set your teeth on edge? I have a few: “Fair to middlin” is one. “Don’t mind if I do” is another. And “put the world to rights” or “set the world to rights” is one too.

It conjures up an image of two drunks in an All Bar One, splashing gut-rotting plonk into one another’s glasses with a snort, sweeping their fringes out of their eyes, waggling their fingers everywhere and blaming single mothers for all society’s ills.

jon talk about

This is just a list of things. It’s like Jon is being taught how to do a CV at the local youth club and he’s got loads of blank space, so the patient youth worker takes a break from playing with the sleeve of his acrylic cardigan and says “Just put a section in about your hobbies, Jon”. So he does, and this is it.

nicole talk

Matthew McConaughey baffles me, but OK.

And if a man can’t find a restaurant on Upper Street, which is just a really long road in a straight line, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of him locating your G-spot – but I guess people are full of surprises.

jon awkward

Heavy metal. Is that… is it still around? Hasn’t it evolved into something else? I’m starting to wonder whether Jon and Nicole are actually time travellers – not cool ones like the Doctor or the guy from Quantum Leap, but just two students on their way to a plenary lecture in 1983 who got into the wrong lift only to find it was a spaceship.

nivole awk

Margo Leadbetter disappointed

Wow, table manners already. We’re breezing through this white-knuckle ride, aren’t we? Here we go:

jon table

YES. That is a good sign. I’ve not been on a date for a while but any time I did go on one, I very seldom saw the date get his phone out. Maybe I’m sparkling conversation or maybe I just happened to always choose a pub that I knew had no phone signal or perhaps my eyes are the bluest of the blue and trained only on you – who knows? But I certainly never broke off from a chat – at the table, at least – to do some liveblogging.

nicole table

*looks carefully around the room to make sure there are no hidden cameras*

On the table? A door? He opened a door for you? While you were eating? Did you get up to go the loo and he opened a door for you? I don’t understand.

Basically what we have here is someone who doesn’t actually know what table manners are. “He opened the door for me” isn’t anything to do with table manners. It’s like being asked “How are you feeling?” and answering “Tuesday”.

jon best thing

nicole best thing

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jon introduce

Haha, I bet Nicole feels a burn with the power of a raging bout of cystitis when she reads that this morning. Good for you, Jon. Nobody’s too precious to meet anyone’s mates. Or they shouldn’t be.

nicole friends

Another answer flung out with all the sexual intrigue of a sadistic prefect polishing the buttons on their blazer.

These two are in their early twenties – where is the JOY? I get it in a way. At 22, I wasn’t much of a treat. Too old to be young and too young to be old, I was half-finished, a sketch. Still at university, nary an opinion nor a thought to call my own. All weak smiles and corduroy and nervously sipping the cheapest drink at the bar. But I probably wouldn’t have gone in a national newspaper and exposed my milquetoast self for all the world to see.

“If circumstances called for it.” A corporate barbecue? A queue for the coach to Stansted? A FUNERAL? I think what she’s trying to say is that she would only introduce Jon to her friends – who I’m sure make Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin pals look like the back three  rows of a Bananarama concert – on pain of death.

“Circumstances” – nobody ever said that boner-destroying, humdinger of a word in a moment of passion, did they?

jon three

krysten-ritter-eyeroll-seriouly

nicole three words

“Your Uber to the Friend-Zone is on the way. It will arrive right this fucking minute.”

jon made of you

nicole made of you

Imagine living your entire life like you were in a deleted vignette  available only on the deluxe edition of the Love Actually Blu-ray.

jon go on

Lots of detail about “stuff” but not too much about his date, have you noticed? I don’t think our Jon was having a good time here. I’m actually amazed a 23-year-old knows what Slash looks like. Is he even still famous? Do they only know how he is because an uncle – that uncle – dressed up as him for Halloween once?

niole go pon

Nicole back to the terse efficiency of a security guard at a Job Centre, there.

jon kiss

While I congratulate them on their chastity or their honour or whatever, when I was 23 I would kiss whoever showed more than a passing interest in me. So what if I didn’t fancy them? Unless you were super hot in the 1990s, sexual contact was pretty scarce – you took what you could. And I did.

nicole kiss

I feel like I’ve accidentally picked up Richard Briers’ script for the pilot of Ever Decreasing Circles. Such suburban, Pizza Express, take two bottles into the shower, greige answers.

“A continental greeting only.” Croissants? What? Get me out of here.

jon change

It sounds to me, Jon, like a mewling brat would’ve been the perfect distraction from what reads like one of the dullest nights out of your life. I’d probably have added a cat with its tail trapped in a door, a dog barking for your pepperoni and Sarah Harding tuning up for a live show at G-A-Y to make the night even more pleasurable.

And my old English teacher, Mr Tennant, would’ve slammed a ruler down on your fingers for that “sat”.

nicole change

Does this mean Nicole actually wanted Jon to flirt with her? The way she describes the evening sounds like she’s reading off a worksheet in front of a GCSE geography class. How flirtatious could it get?

SCORES. THANK GOD.

jon score

nicole score

Jon’s 8 feels like more of a kindness – he can’t really have rated an evening with a crying baby, heavy metal, the wrong wine, Matthew McConaughey and a woman who wasn’t remotely interested in him as an 8. If he’s that easily pleased, imagine him at Christmas – he must be hysterical. Either that or he fancied her more than this lurid yellow page would have you believe.

As any fool knows, a 6 in the Guardian Blind Date column is a zero. A lack of spark was my go-to excuse when I didn’t want to see someone again. What I actually meant was the thought of having to fuck them more than once made my chest tighten and spots appear before my eyes and my throat constrict as I stared into the abyss of a lifetime of ‘making do’. Jon looks OK to me though so I’m sure that’s not what Nicole means. But if you want a spark, you must at least try to make fire.

So, all things considered, would our daring duo like to meet again?

jon meet

Hope-Yeah-It-Will-Be-Ok

Nicole?

nicole meet

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Drat. Poor Jon. A victim of “circumstances” if ever I saw one.

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. Although you cannot glitter a turd, can you? 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, please do not take this personally; I’m even worse than you are in real life. If you want to give your side of the story, get in touch and I will happily publish any rebuttal. 

As a Brucie bonus this weekend, you can now find me on BuzzFeed, wanging on about cuffing season and the joys of a winter fling. So many GIFs. ❤️

Photograph: James Drew Turner; Sarah Lee, both for the Guardian.