Blind date: ‘She’s had an illustrious writing career, but it felt like a conversation between equals’ | Life and style

Deborah on Mike

What were you hoping for?
A possibility – the most alluring word I know.

First impressions?
Nice-looking, firm handshake. He’d got us the best table, by the window.

What did you talk about?
Our pasts, our fathers’ service in the war, the Labour party, our children, biking, sea swimming (which we both love, but I suspect he’s more of a Lycra sporty person than me). Some techy stuff – he’s far more involved in that than I am, being a mathematician/physicist, while I’m deeply technophobic. And he asked masses about me, which was pretty unusual and very nice.

Most awkward moment?
None, as far as I’m aware. We were both frank about our past forays into internet dating, which was rather companionable.

Good table manners?
Yes. And we shared the food, and indeed took photos of it, as we both have a foodie child.

Best thing about Mike?
Likable and easy to talk to.

Would you introduce Mike to your friends?
Yes, unless they had a dog – Mike doesn’t like them, which is a bit of a deal-breaker.


Fancy a blind date?


Blind date is Saturday’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 Saturday magazine (in the
UK) and online at 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?
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?
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?
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

Thank you for your feedback.

Describe Mike in three words.
Well-mannered, chatty, curious.

What do you think Mike made of you?
God knows.

Did you go on somewhere?
No. I think we realised it was not to be, but gracefully exchanged phone numbers. I think it was a slight relief when I said: “Here’s the killer: I not only love dogs, but I like them sleeping on my bed.” (I didn’t add “In my bed”, which is also true.)

And … did you kiss?
Cordial pecks on the cheek.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
Nothing really, it was fine.

Marks out of 10?

Would you meet again?
Probably not.

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Mike and Deborah on their date

Mike on Deborah

What were you hoping for?
Nothing beyond a couple of hours of intelligent and amusing conversation. Deborah certainly delivered on both counts.

First impressions?
An attractive, lively and engaging woman.

What did you talk about?
We ranged across her writing career, my work, politics, relationships, our families, pastimes – and dogs.

Most awkward moment?
I don’t recall any: we quickly settled into a relaxed and friendly conversation.

Good table manners?
Impeccable. We shared some of our dishes. Amusingly, neither of us touched so much as a single drop of alcohol. I hardly ever touch the stuff. It didn’t inhibit a great conversation, though.

Best thing about Deborah?
Although she has had an illustrious writing career, I had no sense that she was condescending towards someone as ordinary as myself. It felt like a conversation between equals.

Would you introduce Deborah to your friends?
I would be very happy to; I think she would fit in very well, particularly with my literary friends.

Describe Deborah in three words.
Listener, informed, intelligent.

What do you think Deborah made of you?
Whatever she made of me, she was gracious enough to show what appeared to be a genuine interest in my life and careers.

Did you go on somewhere?
No. I believe Deborah said she had to get back for something else.

And … did you kiss?
We exchanged goodbye pecks on the cheeks, as you do with friends.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
It would’ve been great to have had more time to get to know Deborah better.

Marks out of 10?

Would you meet again?

Deborah and Mike ate at Orasay, London W11. Fancy a blind date? Email

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