Blind date: ‘The screaming babies on the next table weren’t exactly mood-matching’

·5-min read

Philip on Tom

What were you hoping for? A date story I could tell my friends that didn’t end in complete disaster or me finding out he has a secret wife.

First impressions? Stylish and cute. He has the same trousers as me … luckily, I wasn’t wearing the same ones.

What did you talk about Our interest in theatre: I studied performing arts and he works with a casting agency. Coming out to families, online dating during lockdown, and how Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath the Tree is the best Christmas song ever. I don’t think there was a silent moment.

Any awkward moments?
I think a photo shoot with a complete stranger constitutes as awkward. Nothing either of us said or did after that topped the initial meet.

Good table manners? He ate an Indian buffet without making a mess, so I was pretty impressed.

Blind date is Guardian Weekend magazine’s dating column: every week, two strangers are paired up for dinner and drinks, and then spill the beans to us, answering a set of questions. This runs, with a photograph we take of each dater before the date, in Guardian Weekend magazine (in the UK) and online at theguardian.com every Saturday. It’s been running since 2009 – you can read all about how we put it together here.

What questions will I be asked?
We ask about age, location, occupation, hobbies, interests and the type of person you are looking to meet. If you do not think these questions cover everything you would like to know, tell us what’s on your mind.

Can I choose who I match with?
No, it’s a blind date! But we do ask you a bit about your interests, preferences, etc – the more you tell us, the better the match is likely to be.

Can I pick the photograph?
No, but don't worry: we'll choose the nicest ones.

What personal details will appear?
Your first name, job and age.

How should I answer?
Honestly but respectfully. Be mindful of how it will read to your date, and that Blind date reaches a large audience, in print and online.

Will I see the other person’s answers?
No. We may edit yours and theirs for a range of reasons, including length, and we may ask you for more details.

Will you find me The One?
We’ll try! Marriage! Babies!

Can I do it in my home town?
Only if it’s in the UK. Many of our applicants live in London, but we would love to hear from people living elsewhere.

How to apply
Email blind.date@theguardian.com

Best thing about Tom?Incredibly easy to talk to: it felt like a catchup with a friend more than a date.

Would you introduce him to your friends? Yes, he’d fit right in.

Describe Tom in three words? Funny, cute, friendly.

What do you think he made of you?I think he thought I was a bit eccentric when it came to pop culture, hopefully in a good way. We seemed to share the same sense of humour. Lots of laughter.

Did you go on somewhere? The train home. I had work the next day.

And… did you kiss?
No.

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
The screaming babies on the table next to us weren’t exactly mood-matching, but it also made for conversation on whether we wanted babies ourselves, so their presence wasn’t entirely irrelevant.

Marks out of 10? 7.5.

Would you meet again? I don’t think there was a romantic spark for either of us, but as a person he’s great and I would meet again as friends.

Tom on Philip

What were you hoping for? To break my lockdown dating drought, free food and drinks, and to get rinsed by the Guyliner.

First impressions? The photographer captured our “first reactions” which was a bit awkward. Nice shoes, very smiley.

What did you talk about? Dating in the pandemic; how Underneath the Tree is the greatest Christmas song of all time; his frequent holidays to Disneyland.

Any awkward moments? Not really – a few lulls in conversation but nothing terrible.

Good table manners? I think so. I was so hungry I was more focused on my own plate. We did joke about how messy the food was, but he left with his white T-shirt unstained. He encouraged me to take the leftovers, which was nice.

Best thing about Philip? He was very easy to talk to, very open.

This article comes from Saturday, the new print magazine from the Guardian which combines the best features, culture, lifestyle and travel writing in one beautiful package. Available now in the UK and ROI.

Would you introduce him to your friends? If we bumped into each other.

Describe Philip in three words? Kind, smiley, generous.

What do you think he made of you? That I was drinking too quickly.

Did you go on somewhere? We didn’t, I’m afraid – there wasn’t really a spark.

And… did you kiss? No – and if we had, it would have been a garlicky one!

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be? The screaming babies sitting next to us – even the manager made a comment.

Marks out of 10? 7.

Would you meet again? Probably not.

Tom and Philip ate at Farzi Cafe, London SW1

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