Dating Magazine

Fabian and Harriet

By The Guyliner @theguyliner

We're not getting any younger, are we, so let's crack on this week with 25-year-old Fabian - who is a policy research assistant and looks in this photo like someone was waving a stick of celery at him just out of shot - and Harriet, 26, a teacher. Both of them appear to have turned up to the photo shoot in their pyjamas but never mind. Read the thing and sigh along and then let's reconvene here for light-hearted MURDER.

Fabian on Harriet | Harriet on Fabian
My soulmate, or at least someone I'd not already been matched with on What were you hoping for?

Guardian's dating website is called . When apps were still for meeting up in strangers' flats and rutting, Soulmates was the tasteful, well-behaved version - well, until drink number four anyway. It was packed to the rafters with Radio 4 listeners and men who did evening classes in unicycling and pretended to be shy. It was not full of soulmates of any description, sad to say. Anyway, where I am going with this is the concept of a soulmate is absolute bollocks. Stop looking for one - your soulmate is probably trapped in a loveless marriage with somebody who pulled the wings off butterflies as a child. Just find someone you don't want to hit in the face with a frying pan every time they speak and see how long you can stay together.

I have never used Bumble - that's the one where women have to message the man first, right? Hmm.

I have a huge aversion to the word "yummy"; I don't know why. It feels like something a child would say to you, seconds after it picked its nose and wiped it on your lovely blouse.

I know for a fact the shoots for this column happen way in advance, so... do they wear their "shirts" all the time? Tropical patterns in winter? Did this date take place in Hawaii? One of the grimmest trends of last summer was everyone walking around looking like they'd covered themselves in superglue and rolled round the bottom of a parrot's cage (translation: I don't suit tropical patterns and I am mildly resentful of this) but to carry on wearing that "look" in winter is unforgivable. Put a jumper on! You'll catch your death!

Fabian brought one of these with him.

Fabian and Harriet
Our favourite parts of south London, dating, travelling, and a lot about food.

South London. A match! ✅
Dating. The worst thing you can talk about on a date! ✅
Work. OK. I guess. I mean, yeah.
Mindfulness. I have this suggested to me every now and again by "concerned pals" because I work a lot, have zero chill, sigh every seven seconds and can never find my keys/wallet/hair product/inner chi.
Travelling. I'm sorry, no do go on tell me more about the marvellous markets of Marrakech - "such wonderful colours!!!" - and how you made local children pose with Coca-Cola cans for your Facebook photo album called "Poisonous capitalism meets pure and ancient culture" or what ever.
A lot about food. Say what you see, I guess.

Fabian and Harriet

I don't know how I feel about this. I mean, sometimes I say that out of politeness, if you're going to appear in a magazine and you didn't detest each other, some kind of agreement between you might be useful. That Fabian has revealed this attempt by Harriet is in itself completely against the spirit of the thing. HOWEVER if Fabian wasn't comfortable with it, he should call it out. I guess it would be awkward, depending on when she said it. I like to think that after Harriet had said "yes please" to her first glass of wine she grabbed Fabian by the collar of his loud shirt and said, "Listen, dickface, score me any less than a 7 and I'll be sending round my very aggressive younger sisters, who are all martial arts experts and pay their rent by pulling off violent, multimillion dollar jewel heists. On motorbikes."

However, on reflection, it is CHEATING and I cannot be seen to condone this. Harriet, unless your next answer is that Fabian did something even WORSE than this, you are in "the bad books".

Fabian and Harriet

Oh well there we go. DA FUQ? Why do people do this? Just let them have what they want.

I remember on a date, 100 years ago, I went to a hotel bar with a man who I imagine thought it would be sophisticated but I felt like a streetwise, out of place hooker in a bad '80s movie. He said we should get cocktails and I was, like, basic but OK. So I ordered my favourite which is a Gibson - a gin martini with cocktail onions on the stick, what of it - and honestly he went on and on and on about how that would be disgusting, shouldn't I get something else, something more fun, or fruity perhaps? What about this one - I noticed how dirty his fingernails were as he prodded the menu like he was trying to find its G-spot - or maybe this one? Obviously you're on a date so you don't want to unleash all the crazy straightaway so I kind of politely shook my head and burbled off my reasons for not wanting his suggestions, having to justify the fact that all I wanted was a glass of pure alcohol with a couple of sodding onions in it. AAARGH even just thinking about it makes me want to scream. I hope he's reading. Eat shit.

Anyway, unless you are asked for a recommendation, or someone isn't sure what they want, or you happen to know for sure that someone actually DIED from eating what they're about to order, mind your own bloody business and get back to your cheesy pasta.

Fabian and Harriet (I actually gasped at this gif when I saw it. I hope that poor bird did a very big poo on the child's parent as it left.) Fabian and Harriet

I am terrible with chopsticks. I have documented my loathing for them may times, but here is why they ruin my life

Like a squeaking door.

Like the parrot in Aladdin.

You are right, Fabian, it would be rude. I mean, if you were standing with her in whichever ironic south London pub you favour - "[insert name of south London suburb currently being throttled by turbo-gentrification] is really cool now; there's a pub that does macaroni pies and whelk cocktails!" - and your friends Toby, Harry, Julian, Will, the other Will, and Hugo came in, it would be rude and frankly weird not to introduce her. Would she just stand there like a side table while you all talked about your shirts? No, of course not.

MIGHT HE, Harriet? Really? I love how we all do this, instantly assume our friends are only palatable to us, that only we truly understand them, like they're a long-lost Björk demo or the dialogue in Call Me By Your Name. We are obsessed with imagining our closest pals as an impenetrable secret society, bound together by shared history, dodgy in-jokes and a vague undercurrent of envy, resentment and gaslighting that runs through all friendships like tapeworm through your salad. However, to the casual observer, you are all just 12 clean-shirts sitting and sipping wine quietly in an All Bar One, talking about how much your got your flights to [insert travel destination] for and saying "We must do this more often; it's so lovely to see you" over and over, like the incantation will make it true.

Vibrant, like a neon tea-towel.
Amiable, like a cat who thinks you are made of tuna.
Easy-going, like whatever.

Interesting, like a loan, or a credit card debut, or a picture of a swan.
Chatty, like someone who says more than one word an hour and is insatiably labelled a "chatterbox".
Intelligent, like a sex robot who learns how to have headaches.

Well, Fabes, she called you "interesting" so ✅ for that. As for the spark, I think you may have extinguished that yourself by trying to tell her what to order. I have a secret to tell you, it may have escaped your notice: women tend not to like that kind of thing. Just a pro-tip from someone who hasn't dated a woman in 18 years, there.

You're a woman and you spoke, so, yeah, probably. I wonder if he went to the loo and phoned a female relative. "Auntie, she keeps doing this thing where her mouth kind of... flaps open and shout, and while it's open noise comes out. I think she's talking to me. Do women do that? I thought they just sat there and planned weddings?"

No - it was a school night and I had to get up very early the next day.
Fabian and Harriet

Strong same. I really need this date to be over.

I loathe the "food excuse" answer. That's all you would've changed? Not "had a better date"? Or "maybe I shouldn't have tried to stop her ordering a Brandy Alexander"? One day someone is going to ask me what one thing I would change and I tell you what, the answer is going to sting like a thousand paper cuts.

A proper answer! Yes, fine. All of this. I'm mildly interested in how Harriet sees herself coming across. "Forthright." Friends a bit of a nightmare. An unfathomable sense of humour. Either Harriet is a niche stand-up political comedian who is friends with a pack of wolves or maybe we tend to let people think they're annoying just for being a bit direct and spirited. Give me forthright over fake and always "up" any day of the week.

Two sevens. AKA a pair of 1s with an upgrade to business class because they pretended to be in love at the check-in desk. Once aboard, however, those 1s stayed to their own side of the seat, drained the drinks trolley and didn't say a word the entire flight. Does this mean Fabian agreed to score the same or are they both as unimaginative as one another? Past caring.

Fabian and Harriet

More chance of being cast in a remake of Friends I think, Fabes.


Fabian and Harriet NOTE:BOOK: My debut novel THE LAST ROMEO is out NOW on ebook and audiobook. (Paperback follows in May.) It's a mere 99p on Amazon at the moment, and I think that's a bargain. You can get it at If the book isn't your thing, do consider sharing this post today - my entire survival depends on it. No *you're* dramatic. The comments I make are based on the answers given by the participants. The Guardian chooses what to publish and usually edits it to suit the column. Get in touch if you want to give us your side of the story; we can work this out. You seem nice. We can play nice.

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