EvErY week, we send a couple out on a blind date. This time, Donald McBride, 57, had dinner at the Dakota Eurocentral hotel Bar & Grill in Glasgow with Eileen Zambonini, 55.
Donald is retired from his job in sales, and is divorced with a 16-year- old daughter. Eileen is widowed with three grown-up children and manages a charity shop.
EILEEN, 55, SAYS:
A Good friend persuaded me to go on this date — my first in 37 years. I met my husband young, and we married when we were both 22. sadly, he passed away when he was only 39 and I’ve been on my own ever since. I was completely focused on raising our three children for such a long time.
so I wasn’t sure what to expect from seeing someone new. Although I’m 55, I feel very young at heart, and my ideal would be someone independent, who knows what they want out of life and likes the outdoors. Tall with olive skin would be nice — a silver fox type, with nice teeth!
I’m afraid to say my first impression of Donald was that he’s not my perfect type. But as I got to know him, I realised he was an absolutely lovely man.
still, fairly early on, I decided I had to be clear that there wouldn’t be any romance. I didn’t want to give him false ideas or leave him harbouring any assumptions.
Luckily he seemed fine with it, and I think it actually helped him relax a wee bit more. I was grateful he chose to stay and spend his time with me anyway.
We didn’t have much in common, although he was very kind and sweet. He is obviously incredibly family-orientated, and he talked about his daughter, who he clearly adores, and his parents.
He also told me he had health problems and had to give up work as a result. I felt privileged that he confided in me.
The restaurant was excellent and so were the staff — it really was a lovely evening. While I was extremely disappointed there wasn’t a spark between us, we ended up laughing and sharing stories. I appreciated he had the courtesy to stay after I explained how I felt.
To be honest, once I had said it I felt much more at ease. I felt very safe with Donald and happy to be there.
I’m not sure how I feel about dating. Although it was exciting in the run-up to the evening, and I was proud to realise I had the confidence to do it, I don’t know if I can do it again.
I know romance isn’t going to come knocking on my door, but I don’t think I’ve the nerve to go looking for it.
Donald is a good man but just not for me. I’m sure he would make someone very happy, and I would like to see him happy too — he deserves it.
He was open and kind, and admitted it was the first time he’d had adult conversation in a while! He deserves something nice to happen to him, and hopefully this date will have pushed him on a bit towards that.
LIKED? His attentiveness to his family. REGRETS? None.
COFFEE OR CAB? Coffee. Verdict: 8/10 (He’s a ten for someone out there)
DONALD, 57, SAYS:
As Soon as Eileen walked in to the restaurant I was bowled over. I thought she was attractive, well-dressed and very smiley. We talked happily for a few minutes before ordering — a great start.
It was my first proper date in over 15 years, so I’d been nervous but really looking forward to it, too. I’m a single dad and raising my daughter has always come first. so I was really pleased with how it was going. But unfortunately, it all went downhill fast.
Astonishingly, ten minutes in, Eileen told me she likes to go with gut instinct, and it was telling her we were incompatible.
Although I laughed, I was shocked. All I could think was to ask where I was supposed to go with that, and she suggested we just enjoy the meal and each other’s company. I had been so looking forward to the date, and felt really let down.
There was no open-mindedness at all — she wrote me off immediately. But there was nothing I could do about that, so I hid how I felt.
We went on to have a nice meal and chatted about our lives. We even had a few laughs and stayed for coffee.
I actually thought we had a lot in common. We talked about children, jobs, hobbies and past relationships. Eileen said this was the first date she’d been on since her husband died.
I wondered if that was what made her kill the date so early on, but she didn’t seem nervous.
For my part, I was married for 14 years then had a long relationship. When my ex-wife re- married six years ago my daughter came to live with me. she was ten. Perhaps as a result, I’ve been single apart from a couple of coffee dates since then.
I went on this date hoping for a spark and to meet someone. online dating isn’t me — I prefer to speak face to face.
I felt a bit used by Eileen. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was bad manners to kill the evening at the start.
When our taxis arrived, we had a kiss on the cheek and that was it. I’ve been out on coffee dates a few times before and I’ve got the same sort of impression — that the women are dating because they think they should, rather than because they want to.
That’s how it is with dating now. You can’t just go to the pub and meet in a relaxed social setting, like I did when I was 20. I can get on well with most people as I used to work in sales and the hotel industry. But when you’re a bit older, everyone has a past and has been hurt to some extent. A lot of the women I’ve met are scared due to bad experiences.
I would love to meet someone special — it’s the silly little things, like going to the movies, companionship and intimacy I miss. I watch a lot of sport and am interested in politics — I don’t want an airhead or Corbynista please!
I thought Eileen was perfect, but when she shut the date down I was flabbergasted, and it was a very different evening to the one I was expecting. I would have asked for her number otherwise.
LIKED? she’s good-looking, well spoken and good company.
REGRETS? Her deciding we were incompatible after ten minutes.
COFFEE OR CAB? Coffee. Verdict: 7/10 (A nine if not for her hurtful comment)
I want to meet a silver fox — with nice teeth I was so bowled over, but it went downhill ...