Peigí and Jamie

jamie Peigi large

Lying awake, delirious, at 6am, as light streamed in through an unfamiliar window, it occurred to me that the premise of the Guardian Blind Date was actually invented in 1987 by the Eurythmics, in the first verse of their weirdest (and most amazing) single ever,  Beethoven (I Love To Listen To). 


“Take a girl like that
And put her in a natural setting
Like a cafe for example.
Along comes the boy
And he’s looking for trouble
With a girl like that.
Who knows what they’ll decide to do?
Who knows what they’ll get up to?
I’d love to know.
Wouldn’t you?”

Well, yes, we would. And that’s why we pore over the column week after week. But we are not in our “natural setting” today. In the latest Blind Date, we leave behind our miserable trot through three courses of rustic gimmick in a London restaurant and instead make haste to Dublin. Ireland may be the dons of Eurovision but when it comes to the Blind Date, they are woefully underrepresented.

Hoping to turn blarney into a pot of gold today are Peigí, a 24-year-old human rights intern and Jamie, 25, a multimedia student. Millennials! Human rights! Multimedia! It’s like a Telegraph whinging op-ed headline generator. Read what happened on the date before I make like a leprechaun and sprinkle magic, yet strangely choking, dust over the whole thing. And I promise not a single further Irish cliché shall pass these lips.

Peigí is first and is in blue. Jamie’s the rather fetching neon green.

peigi hoping

Irish people really do say this; it’s not merely something O’Neill’s stencils on its walls to make you forget just how much that last pint of Guinness cost you and do they clean the pipes properly, because this old Irish guy once told you that was really important etc.

jamie hoping

Grub. I don’t think I’ve seen a more desperate attempt to afford masculinity to food since Henry from Neighbours unbuckled his dungarees, brushed back his golden curls and asked Madge if she had any decent ‘tucker’. If you must mention your gastronomical aspirations on the Guardian Blind Date, you can at least say ‘dinner’ or ‘a bite to eat’, or something. Nobody’s going to assume you love show-tunes.

peigi first

Congratulations to Peigí for understanding what a first impression is, and thus listing what she actually made of him as soon as she laid eyes on him.

What a shame we never got to see this shirt in person, given it made more of an impression on Peigí than Jamie’s looks, smile, walk or indeed anything other than how many candles he blew out on his last birthday cake.

jamie first

Perhaps a record early appearance for ‘chatty’ here, usually dredged up in the “Describe X in three words” question when they can’t think of anything else to say other than they talked them to death. What I like here is the ‘crucially’. It was crucial that Jamie’s date be chatty. Of the utmost importance. Critical. She must be a talker – said absolutely no heterosexual man ever. For that alone, Jamie has to be a keeper.

peigi talk


“Mostly about him.” We can see now that Jamie’s keenness for his date to be chatty was so she could ask more questions about him. “I struggled to concentrate on some of the multimedia chat” is the politest way Peigí could possibly say: “Fuck, man, he bored the tights right off me, and then back onto me – he was that dull.”

I don’t believe in rules for dating, as such. There are too many things that can go wrong – or right – for a set formula to be of any use to you. But if rules were a thing, high up there – along with wash behind your ears, brush your teeth and don’t mention your exes – would be to avoid talking about yourself too much. Don’t broadcast, interact. Even if the most interesting thing about them is the spinach caught between their front teeth: act surprised, be curious, dig a little deeper. You’re bound to unearth some nugget or another, even if it is the fact they murdered their father.

jamie talk

“Living in Ireland.” Do people talk about this? Aren’t most people just getting on with the fact they live in Ireland? Maybe they’re not locals.

What an eclectic absolute nightmare of a thought-tombola these conversation topics are. I don’t know where to start. “Electronic dance-type music” – congratulations on talking about music in the same curious, horrified way your grandmother would pick up dirty knickers from behind your sofa.

Jeremy Corbyn, I’m going to pass on, and as for the hand-wringing over foie gras – spare me. You’re not paying for the meal, you’re both low earners/students and you don’t get brownie points for worrying about the ethics of something and then doing it anyway. Which I assume you did.

Peigi awkward


Well. I’m conflicted here. Getting a name right is so important. Why? Because getting a name wrong can be the most spectacular, powerful diss you will ever have at your disposal and you should use this magic wisely.

Somebody getting on your tits at work, or at a party, or online? Don’t run screaming to HR, or leave the party, or start typing in caps. No, just start getting their name wrong. What does using the incorrect name do? Why, it tells the person on the receiving end they’re insignificant, a vague idea of a person, who could be called anything or recast at any moment – like the myriad Lucy Robinsons in Neighbours – and nobody would notice or care.

Your name is your label, your packaging. It conjures up the image of you in people’s minds when you’re not around. Someone forgetting it hobbles you, strips you of your individuality. You become chocolate mis-shapes, bruised veg, a dented tin, a ‘secret’ hotel on It’s a vengeful, nasty diss. Try it on your worst enemy sometime.

That said, I probably wouldn’t have corrected her halfway through eating. How do you recover from that?

Jamie awkward


YES the best thing to do when a woman asks you to guess her age is to venture a number, rather than pretend you have something stuck in your throat – your moral code concerning foie gras, perhaps – and rendering yourself unable to answer.

I hate age-guessing in general. It’s a very temporary confidence boost that can go awry in a matter of minutes. Next time somebody asks your age, just fling your passport across the table and order another round of whatever makes your vision go blurry quickest.

And so we move on to table manners. Hats, hold on to them.

peigi table


Imagine ordering prawns – those big ass ones with eyes and tentacles and claws or whatever all over the place – on a date. Imagine then having to get your hands right in there and rip them apart, on a date. Then, still on a date, you shove the gungey, unsatisfying flesh – along with loads of shell you missed – into your mouth. Arousal ratings are at Victorian hemline levels.

jamie table


peigi best thing

Off the wall is better than being on the wall, I guess, like Blu-Tack, wood-chip, a yellowing poster of Depeche Mode, or dry rot.

peigi friends

Who, I imagine, will be getting a phone call straight after the date for a bitching session that would put the Kardashians out of business.

jamie three

He really does love a talker, eh? I know I tend to bang on about this, but is talking a lot really a compliment? Would you be happy to read it in your obituary, or in a birthday card, or have it said to you at the point of climax? I’m guessing not.

peigi three words

I wonder if she means the new-school definition of cheeky, like a cheeky Nando’s or a Vimto or a cheeky little gin and tonic – in other words, best in small doses and let’s not tell anyone – or the old-school version. Impudent, likely to riffle through your wallet, etc.

peigi made of you

This garbage again. You have “absolutely no idea”. Not an inkling. You sat opposite the guy exchanging inane musings about EDM and the Labour Party, enduring a dead-eyed wander through his multimedia CV and yet, after all that, you have no idea what he thought of you?

If the truth of what he might have thought of you is too terrifying to face, or you simply couldn’t give a bronze fuck what some prawn-mangling student thought, then just say.

jamie mad eof you


Jamie, speaking for all of us who ever went on a blind date before. At least he was honest.

peigi go on

Haha, “haunt” – like Dorothy Parker throwing her hat into the air in the Algonquin and ordering another round of Tia Maria and Lucozades.

You can tell they’re young, can’t you? Listing all the drinks they had like they’re movies they’ve seen, or gigs they’ve been to. A half a pint of shandy booze, please, barkeep!

peigi kiss

jamie kiss

dominque dynasty its burned

Did you ever see such obvious distancing and reluctance to admit that maybe they liked each other a bit and that’s why they kissed? I haven’t seen this much pent-up, pointless, sexless frustration since I last listened to a Carly Rae Jepsen album track.


peigi score

This 7 is a 1 that signs petitions against foie gras and can’t tell anybody it’s secretly hoping the shop they’re doing up on the high street is going to be a Starbucks.

jamie score

This 8 is a cautious 9 with a full-to-bursting Sky+ box and a subscription to Men’s Health it keeps forgetting to cancel.

A 7 and an 8. And yet they kissed. I’m assuming the snog wasn’t all that, then. I’ve felt more of a sexual frisson getting trapped in a Tube barrier at Elephant and Castle station in rush hour.

So, we’ve watched the last two tin cans on the supermarket conveyor belt jostle against each other, but will we buy one and get one free, or is this product not currently available as part of the offer?


peigi meet again




jamie meet again

Oh, mate.


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 editing of answers may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena.  This isn’t about me thinking these two people are bad people – I don’t know them. I am sure, in real life, they’re lovely. Seriously! They seem nice. I’m 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 or comments you might have. 

Photograph: Johnny Savage, for the Guardian


Charles and Ross

Ross and Charlie

If there’s one phrase that used to puncture my fun balloon during my high-cheekboned, visible-jawlined twenties, it was “Ooh, I love gay guys!” Usually exclaimed excitedly during parties at 3am by wired Australian girls who really just wanted to know if you had any coke – ‘gay guys always have coke’, you see – this well-meaning declaration of acceptance used to feel like a prison.

Oh, you like gay guys, do you? I know what that means. You’re expecting a full hour of Kenneth Williams-style razor wit, perhaps some light ribbing about your weight or hair or boyfriend (nope, I don’t fancy him) and, I guess, if you chuck a stone in any gay bar, you’re bound to hit someone who can deliver this for you. Sadly, however, for any eager new pals salivating over our pink potential, there’s a truth you really have to acknowledge if you want to get anywhere: most gay men are as boring as hell. For every one shimmering, bronzed, acerbic Gore Vidal in training, there are 100 world-weary, lumpy, repressed old pongoes like me.

I would try my best to ‘get my gay on;’ when approached by one of these people – and don’t think I’m not grateful that these amazing women came to talk to me and told me how much they loved my ‘kind’, because it’s more than a lot of the straight men we used to fantasise about ever did – but once the booze and drug buzz wore off, the mask would slip, and I’d be back to my old self again. Asking whether they did a weekly shop or just got “a few bits in” every day. Talking about semicolons. Confessing my Tube map obsession. Cardigans, the election, peg bags. Christ.

Anyway, in short: gay men are dull and you will deal. With that in mind, well, lookee here, it’s the Guardian Blind Date column and the eagle-eyed among you will notice the two bearded specimens in the picture above are not here to fix your boiler, they are in fact GAY MEN. Yes, again.

Read what happened on the date between Charles, 33, a healthcare manager and in what I think might be a navy top, and Ross, a 39-year-old lawyer, who’s wearing that check shirt we’ve all got. The Labour government used to hand them out as soon as they’d got wind you’d come out to your parents, apparently. And then come back here to read what I’ve got to say about it, if you like. I’ll be waiting.

Charles starts us off, and his answers are in green. Ross’s are in blue because patriarchy.

charles hoping


ross hoping

Vin Diesel – basically EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell through 17 Instagram filters.

charles first

ross first

Smiling. I mean, it’s nice, I guess. You don’t want to turn up to a date and find a guy with a face like thunder or staring off into the distance with a solitary tear dramatically sliding down his cheek.

The trouble with smiling, that nobody except Victoria Beckham seems willing to admit, is not everyone looks hot when they smile. Oh, wow, I have tried every pose in the mirror to perfect that smile and… no. When I smile, I look like I know a terrible secret – a truth so terrible that were I to stop concentrating on smiling so hard for even a second, I would blurt it out and bring about the total devastation of Earth.

Years ago, Smash Hits printed a picture of Take That’s Mark Owen doing something I had never seen him doing before – grinning widely. He looked like Norman Wisdom coming up on an E and I can’t even begin to tell you how much retrospective un-fantasising I had to do just to feel clean again.

“This isn’t a smile; it’s a lid on a scream.” – Coronation Street‘s Bet Lynch.

charles talk

“The life journeys that had led to us being in this restaurant on that Friday night.” Well. If that’s not the perfect opening line to a book on mindfulness or the autobiography of a Barratt house, I don’t know what is. I wonder how much detail they went into. I mean, these blokes are in their 30s, and gay men’s stories aren’t usually light on plot. I struggle to stay interested when someone recounts their Tube journey to where we met, let alone their life story, but each to their own.

Oh, and brushing aside, the abysmal boner-destroying “London property market” chatter, can we just take a moment to realise this date is happening on a Friday night? Sex Night. And it’s a gay couple. Ooh, the Guardian knows what it’s doing here, doesn’t it, readers?


ross talk

Oh. That kind of journey. Travel. Traaaaaaavel. The “I’m really into running” for the congenitally lazy. I love to travel, and to see new places and to try new things, and I have ‘been around a bit’, but unless your date has been to the same places to you, talking about your various globetrotting exploits is just a lecture without a handout or even slides to copy while you pretend you’re listening.

“Obscure things on the menu” – they ate at one of those snoot cafés that’s popped up in Peckham. I went to have a peek. The menu includes steak-frites, artichoke, croquettes. Hardly negotiating cauldrons of monkeys’ brains or sheep eyes or octopus ganache. What have they been eating all their lives? Frozen French bread pizzas and Slush Puppies?

charles awkward

ross awks


Table manners next. Best have some Ritalin handy, just in case.

charles table

ross table

“No concerns there.” I’m sure this is meant amiably, but it does sound like a waspish middle-class nightmare in mom jeans desperately trying to find fault in her son’s new girlfriend.

“No complaints.” I have some. Who do I need to call?

charles bst

I know, from bitter experience, that rating people after a date is hard, but this… it’s a passionless, fat-free, gluten-intolerant, hurried questionnaire of a response. Not “I found him so interesting; I loved that he’s done so much. And he was hilarious – I laughed all night long”, but the dead-eyed facts delivered above with all the vigour of a Twix thudding to the bottom of a vending machine.

“Plus he can be quite humorous” – if this praise were any fainter, it would be an albumen print of a wasp landing on a daffodil in 1854.

ross best

I lived alone for years and worked from home for most of it – after a while, my whistling kettle was easy to talk to, Charles. What did you actually think of him?

Anyway, they both pass the “would you introduce him to your friends” test with flying colours so well done, boyz. Onward:

charles three

Accomplished. That’s a new one. We don’t often hear that among the endless cavalcade of “chatty” and “smiley” and “engaging” and whatnot.

Would I be pleased to be called accomplished? I guess so. Although it does rather suggest that I’ve nowhere to go as a person, that I’m in my finished state, how I will continue for ever. Anyone who’s met me or read one of my dim political tweets will know that is a very frightening prospect.

ross three


This is kinda sweet. We’ll ignore for now the disgusting rule-breaking that is using a three-worded sentence, thus wasting one of the words on “a”. I think they do this to look kind of charming and cute and clever and I guess it works – if Christmas cracker jokes excite you and you mistake a predilection for a Gordon’s and tonic as having a personality.

charles made

Some of the best dates I’ve met didn’t behave very well at all. I feel like I’m routing through Tyler Brûlé’s sock drawer. Everything in order. Nothing to see here. Bristling with efficiency – project-planned down to the very last talcing of the balls.


ross made of you

Dot dot dot. He might just be a drunk, Ross, did you think of that? And he might work in PPI and want to add your number to his database. Hmmm? I mean, it’s probably not that, and it looks like he really likes you, but you cannot dump yourself on the pages of a magazine thousands of us are paying for and not actually answer any questions. It’s not enigmatic, you’re just being a politician.

charles kiss

ross kiss


Hang on. It’s Friday night. Sex Night, like I say. Or at the very least, Snog Night. It’s Friday. You’re both gay. You like each other. A hug?! That’s it? Not even the milquetoast peck on the cheek so favoured by others whose crotches are aflame but want to look respectable in a weekend supplement?


charles change

ross change

If you’ve been following closely, you’ll notice their answers are quite similar throughout, which makes me wonder: do gay men with beards share a hive mind? I mean, when I hear a group of them speaking – no idea what about, it tends not to matter – they sound indistinguishable, so are they all actually the same person?

I say this, of course, with the inability to grow even the faintest whiff of a beard. Perhaps I’m envious. But I’m intrigued – there must be a reason half the gay population is walking around looking like a Victorian mill-owner who got Superdry vouchers for Christmas. Hive mind. Plotting to take over the world. It’s gotta be.

Scores. Yeah, I know, I can’t believe this is almost over either. Will we ever taste such highs again?

charles score

ross scores

As Countdown legends Carol Vorderman would no doubt be thrilled to tell you: the problem with an 8 is that it’s not a 9.

A 9 can’t wait to see you again; it won’t stop thinking about you. A 9 remembers what you smelled like, and how it felt when you accidentally brushed against them for the first time. A 9 has promise. It tantalises. There will be more to come.

An 8 has had a very nice time, thank you, and the sex was fine and the evening perfectly satisfactory overall but it has to be at work in an hour so really must be going. But, hey, at least it didn’t wipe its cock on your curtains like a 7 would.

Meeting again boys? Shall I buy a hat or maybe book you a table somewhere with an uncomplicated menu? Like the Wimpy at Clapham Junction? (Gone now, I think.)

charles meet


ross meet


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 editing of answers may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena.  This isn’t about me thinking these two people are bad people – I don’t know them. I am sure, in real life, they’re lovely and, hopefully, not planning to take over the universe and establish a new galactic republic for the bearded. I’m 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 or comments you might have. 

Another note: No blog next week. I’m away.

Photograph: Sarah Lee; Linda Nylind, both for the Guardian

Valerio and Matt

Valerio and Matt

What makes a good date? What can you do to make someone want to see you again?

An entire evening spent gazing into each other’s eyes, throwing your head back in unabashed, girlish laughter and clinking glasses before each swig of fizz would, you’d think, mean it was time to start picking out hats and deciding whether to take their name or risk a double-barrelled. You may even start doodling his name in the pocketbook of your mind, imagining it next to yours at the bottom of Christmas cards or, if you’re slightly more realistic, at the foot of an alimony cheque in 20 years’ time. And you might leave the date and think, well, that was fantastic, dole out a peck on the cheek that promises “next time I’ll be pecking at your naked body” and off you’d go into the night, confident the call would come.

But it does not. And you’ll never know why. You’ll never understand what you did wrong. And that’s the way they like it.

Come, then, let us pull up a chair to the edge of the abyss and meet Valerio, a 29-year-old architectural designer (looks nice on a business card, I’m sure) and Matt, 27, a communications officer, who looks a bit familiar but I don’t even want to think why and where from.

Yes, it’s gay men again, and young, stubbly, near-identical svelte ones at that – the Japanese knotweed clogging up any bar you try to get served or noticed in once you’re over 35. Amazing. In fact, are they BROTHERS? Maybe that fake story about “Gay couple discover they are, in fact, twin brothers” is about to come true before our very eyes.

Valerio kicks us off and his answers are in pink. Matt’s rocking the totes masc blue.

val hope

Charm. We are lacking in it now, I think. There isn’t time to charm, to woo, to seduce. I don’t think this is entirely down to dating apps or anything like that, more that we all have a raging sense of entitlement because someone told us, long ago, that our time was precious and we shouldn’t waste it on anyone. Thing is, we waste time day in, day out, watching Corrie or peeling oranges or trying to pick bobbles off a jumper. We might as well waste it trying to charm someone’s jockey shorts off.

Yes, to meet someone charming would be no bad thing. Good luck.

matt hope

“Out and about before.” Did we all give a deep sigh as we read this, guys? We all joke about how microscopic the so-called “gay scene” is, but it can be depressingly true. I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with being set up with someone you’ve seen “out and about”, unless you’ve had sex with them and it was awful, or you’ve sauntered into a sauna and found your boss in there, wearing two twinks like Alexis Carrington would wear a mink stole.

valerio first

“He looked just like me. Box ticked.”

matt first

“Likes gin.” A gay man with a bit of a beard who likes a drop of gin?! Quite the discovery! Have you been in touch with all the leading scientific journals to let them know?

Perhaps Sam Smith will be along in a minute to claim he was the first openly gay man with drearily obvious face-carpet to like a bit of gin.

val talk about

These sound like categories on the quiz-round dartboard on Bullseye.

Please note: These images are smaller than the standard.

matt talk

Grandmas. I wonder whether these two are the sort of gay men who cream their jeans whenever Mary Berry waggles an eclair on TV, but only call their grandmother once a month. “Ooh, isn’t Angela Lansbury MARVellous,” guys like that coo, while their own gran sits glued to the TV all day “for company” because she hasn’t heard a human voice since the last time she went to the supermarket and a checkout operator ignored her. Five days ago.

If you still have a grandmother you don’t see very often because you don’t know how to relate to old people, guess what? She may not be just like Mary Berry or Angela Lansbury or one of your other sainted old dears, but you exist because of her. If my grandmothers were still alive, I would spend day upon day with a phone glued to EACH ear, just listening to them tell me everything they know.

Pineapple on pizza is disgusting and I have nothing further to say about that.

val awkward


matt awks

There was a little speck of dust or a crumb on my screen when I originally read this and I got mildly excited/horrified, until I leant over and scraped it off and read that it actually said “rum”. Rum.

A cocktail all over his knees and not even a “wet crotch” joke.


Table manners, then. Let’s do this.

valrio table


I had a quick look at the menu of the facelessly opulent bar they met – it was all “small plates”, so perfect for… well, eating to yourself. The man who offers to share food might sound like he’s affording you a kindness, but he’s actually a great big crybaby with middle-child syndrome who was always furious to see his baby sister get a large ice cream than him.

To suggest sharing – and how this can make you more relaxed when you are desperately trying to remember who’s had the most crab causitas and can you take another Padrón pepper without seeming greedy, I have no idea – isn’t to make you more relaxed. It’s to make sure you don’t order better, so he won’t have to spend all night turning himself inside out with food envy.

Also, sharing cocktails? Did they, like, come in a jug? Or were you both having sips of each other’s because if that’s the case I… I…


matt table


sausage face

I shan’t be trolled. Onward.

val best thing

Warm. Like that first two seconds when you pee yourself, before it turns to uncomfortable, chafing ice.

Being complimented on your personality, that’s nice, right? But a “personality” is just a carrier bag, a holdall – it’s what inside it, what makes it be, that actually counts. Valerio, sitting here and staring with a faint cocktail buzz across the table at his hall-of-mirrors doppelgänger, can’t think of any particular attributes at all, no components of this personality, merely that he was warm. It could be worse, though. Get this:

matt best

“Similar views” – too right you did, you both look like two life drawings of the same person, by two students. It’s nice to be turned on by people who think like you do –  or not as the case may be, because I can definitely feel a wintry chill here – but don’t you like a challenge? Look at all these buttons, everywhere, all over you, all over him – don’t you want to push them? Not even one? Or do you want to live in silent agreement in your tastefully furnished flat and listen to the sound of the toaster pop up for all eternity?

“I liked the way he dressed.” He looks like he’s been riffling through your wardrobe – no wonder you’re into it.

val three

You’ll remember at the ‘top of the show’, that Valerio was looking for someone “charming”. And he got it. This gives him away somewhat. He’s keen. I have a feeling, from Matt’s so far pretty businesslike answers, that we are about to see a boot come down on a puppy.


matt three

All TERRIFIC things to hear about yourself – if you’ve just been for a job interview, or are anxious to appear on the next series of Pointless.

In the fuckability stakes? It’s over. Go home. That text isn’t coming. You are not being recommissioned for a full series.

val made

See? Oh dear. When you care about what they didn’t think, you’re letting them know you want to impress them even more.

matt made


“I couldn’t give a fuck, tbh.”

What an arrogant answer. You really didn’t get an inkling of what he thought of you? Don’t have any particular hopes at how you came across? No concerns? Nope?

It gets worse btw.

val go on

My gosh, how romantic this sounds. These two sound like they’re wrapped up in their own little world – starting out together on a beautiful journey, eyes locked on to one another. Right, Matt?

matt go on


valerio kiss


matt kiss


I feel like I need to take this date to the vet and have it put out of its misery. Valerio is basically a walking, talking heart-eyes emoji, while Matt is describing it like he works in HR and is trying to ‘manage out a troublesome secretary he got pregnant.

Wait until you get a load of this one:

val change


matt change


Imagine being Valerio and waking up to this scenario. It’s like sitting all the way through Pride and Prejudice and seeing Lizzie and D’Arcy get married, only for a helicopter to crash on everyone at the reception finger-buffet.

Scores. Do we even want to see these? Shall we just stop now?

val score

matt score

A solid 7. More like a solid turd, shaped like a 7. The 7 is not solid, it’s not a nice score. In Guardian Blind Date terms, a 7 is a 1. It’s a 1 wearing knockoff designer gear, riding around in an Uber like it’s a limo and still buying cheap, poisonous, buzzless coke off ‘that guy’ in Camden. It’s a 1 with big ideas but little else. A 7 is a 1.

That 9, though. It’s very “Princess Diana is about to go up the wrong staircase in Kensington Palace and find Camilla scurrying down it, smelling of Charles”, isn’t it?

So we dragged ourselves to the bitter end, punch-drunk on Valerio’s romance yet amphetamine-woke to the sharp reality of Matt’s inevitable dismissal. Will they meet again? Will they share one more cocktail? Or is the chorizo-nibbling well and truly over?

val meet


matt meet


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 editing of answers may happen, I assume, and know these answers will appear in the public arena.  This isn’t about me thinking these two people are bad people – I don’t know them. I am sure, in real life, they’re lovely and, hopefully, not actually twins. I’m 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: Antonio Olmos; Sarah Lee, both for the Guardian