Blind date: ‘She observed that my suit would have been more in keeping with a funeral’

Susan on Gerard

What were you hoping for?
I was hoping that Gerard would be a good conversationalist. I was also hoping that there might be a spark.

First impressions?
Low-key; a little uncertain perhaps, warm, friendly.

What did you talk about?
We touched on Gerard’s experiences growing up during the Troubles, the long shadows of generational trauma, and Irish politics. We also talked about hill walking and the poetry of Seamus Heaney. Our broad tastes in music found a word in edgeways, along with reflections on our experience of life in Scotland having migrated here.

Most awkward moment?
I didn’t notice any awkward moments either on his part or my own.

Good table manners?
Oh yes. We used our cutlery correctly and drank the exquisite wine elegantly. Our waiter gave assurances that the lobster would be without its shell, removing the risk of applying heavy-lifting gear, pickaxes or chisels.

Best thing about Gerard?
He’s very easy and interesting to talk with, and has a good sense of humour. I noticed his perceptiveness and wisdom gained through years working on the frontline of social work, and also his passion for a better society.

Would you introduce Gerard to your friends?
Yes, I’d be very happy for this to happen as I know my friends would very much warm to him and enjoy his company. He brings a lot to the table.


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 Gerard in three words.
Distinctive (in his thinking and outlook), compassionate, radical.

What do you think Gerard made of you?
Well, who knows? My hopes here? That he found me intelligent, unusual, with energy and passion for life.

Did you go on somewhere?
Unfortunately, we went our separate ways after the delicious lunch.

And … did you kiss?
No, we didn’t kiss. We had a good hug.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
I wouldn’t want to change anything.

Marks out of 10?

Would you meet again?
Ah, no, we won’t be meeting again as that certain spark to encourage further meetings wasn’t there.

Susan and Gerard on their date

Gerard on Susan

What were you hoping for?
I was unsure what to expect of the lunch and the rapport with my date. I hoped we would share a view of our world and that the blind date would introduce a longer-term relationship.

First impressions?
Susan is a woman very comfortable in her own skin, whose warmth is very apparent. I wasn’t immediately attracted to Susan, but hoped that the hours together would support an emotional connection.

What did you talk about?
Our children and grandchildren and our previous long-term relationships. We spoke about big news events. Our values chimed. We spoke lots about our professional roles and how much they are alike.

Most awkward moment?
The realisation that I had dressed in a suit which Susan correctly observed would have been more in keeping with a funeral.

Good table manners?
Susan’s table manners were as excellent as her perfect diction. I blundered with buttering my bread with the wrong knife. Susan noted my behaviour, but not unkindly.

Best thing about Susan?
Her sense of who she is as a therapist and previously a hospital chaplain, and her gorgeous hair!

Would you introduce Susan to your friends?
My friends might unfairly assess Susan as of a different social class. I’m uncertain about how Susan would respond to their gruff presentation.

Describe Susan in three words.
Loving, relaxed and formal, but in a generous sense.

What do you think Susan made of you?
Gosh, I think Susan might have thought of me as being out of place in such a posh restaurant. I think she knows I have a kind heart.

Did you go on somewhere?
We parted and went our separate ways.

And … did you kiss?
We hugged, but no more. We agreed geographical distance between us could not sustain a relationship.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
I’m uncertain about changing much about our five hours together except wearing less stuffy attire.

Marks out of 10?

Would you meet again?
The distance between us makes that difficult – we’re opposite sides of Scotland. Also, the romantic spark wasn’t there.

Susan and Gerard ate at Dean Banks at the Pompadour in Edinburgh EH1. Fancy a blind date? Email


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