Blind date

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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 ...

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