Blind date: ‘She said she was off alcohol, then smashed through four glasses of wine’

Suraiya on Gary

What were you hoping for?
An evening worth breaking Dry January for.

First impressions?
Nicely dressed and bubbly – my initial nerves disappeared within a few minutes. He had lots of energy.

What did you talk about?
His several encounters with Idris Elba. Kebabs. TV. Birmingham, where we are both from, though I moved to London aged nine. Babies, and his desire to have them.

Most awkward moment?
When I resorted to drinking straight brandy. In my defence, I couldn’t drink any more wine and the restaurant had run out of gin and vodka.

Good table manners?
Perfect – he was a gent and let me have the last prawn.

Best thing about Gary?
So easy to talk to. He tried an oyster for the first time – pretty impressive.

Would you introduce Gary to your friends?
He could get on with anyone.

Describe Gary in three words.
Confident, energetic, Brummie.

What do you think Gary made of you?
Probably a bit clumsy. I almost walked into a glass door.

Did you go on somewhere?
We went to Soho House for a few more drinks. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of a celeb but we were unlucky.

And … did you kiss?

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
I’d stick to sparkling wine instead of going rogue with the brandy – my head felt rather sore the morning after.

Marks out of 10?

Would you meet again?
I would, though I’m not sure there was a romantic vibe.

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?
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

Gary on Suraiya

What were you hoping for?
An evening of fun, flirting and fish.

First impressions?
Very cute. She rocked up in a leather jacket and told me she was abstaining from alcohol for a couple of months, before proceeding to smash through four glasses of sparkling wine.

What did you talk about?
Her DJing days. I shoehorned Arctic Monkeys into the conversation, but it was met with a blank expression.

Most awkward moment?
When I asked, “Has the booze hit you yet?” while knocking over my own drink.

Good table manners?
She had amazing prawn-peeling skills.

Best thing about Suraiya?
Down to earth. She works in finance, but we were soon talking about growing up in the Midlands, travelling and McDonald’s.

Would you introduce Suraiya to your friends?

Describe Suraiya in three words.
Driven, fun, chilled.

What do you think Suraiya made of you?
I’ve absolutely no idea.

Did you go on somewhere?
We had a few drinks at Soho House.

And … did you kiss?
We didn’t.

If you could change one thing about the evening what would it be?
I ended up with a glass of red, a white and a tumbler of Laphroaig. Trying to neck all of those was a bad idea.

Marks out of 10?
Let’s go old-school: A*

Would you meet again?
I’m sure we would.

Suraiya and Gary ate at The Orasay, London, W11. Fancy a blind date? Email