Every week, we send a couple out for dinner and report back on their blind date.
This week, 71-year-old Derek Guard had dinner at Le Caprice restaurant in London with Doreen Jacob, 72.
Doreen was married for 25 years, has three children and five grandchildren and, until last year, was in a long-term relationship.
Derek, a retired architect, has been divorced for 20 years.
DOREEN, 72, SAYS:
When I saw Derek coming towards me, I knew straight away that he wasn’t my type facially, although he was tall and very smartly dressed.
He had bought me a little gift, which was very thoughtful of him — but after we had exchanged the initial pleasantries, I did think he was a little too gushing about how lovely it was to meet me and about my appearance.
Doreen Jacob (pictured), 72, recently ended a long term relationship and has previously been married for 25 years
I knew that, sadly, Derek had recently suffered a bereavement, and thought I should mention it out of politeness.
But he started to tell me before I could say anything. I did wonder if it was too soon for him to be dating, as he seemed to need someone to talk to about the loss of his son.
When he asked me about my life, I didn’t want to sound as if everything was just great when he was going through a bad patch. It was obvious that Derek cared a lot about his sons and had done a wonderful job in bringing them up, and he has all my sympathy. But for a date, it was a little like a therapy session.
I was married for 25 years and have three children and five wonderful grandchildren. I keep very active, playing badminton, walking and even desperately trying to learn to play the piano — although I’m not very good.
Until last year, I had been in a relationship for five years, which ended amicably.
I’m afraid the date was a little like a therapy session
Now, I have a few male friends, but nobody special. I would like to find a companion and someone who is loving, because I think as you get older, the physical side is still very important.
I have been on dating websites in the past, but when you get to a certain age, it’s harder to meet people with the same outlook on life, and looking for someone special can be soul-destroying.
I have never been on a blind date before, so that was very exciting, and the restaurant was very lively and bustling, which was great.
In all, it was a very pleasant evening in beautiful surroundings and the food was out of this world.
But there was no ‘chemistry’ between us. We discussed our likes and dislikes, and I think music seemed to be the one thing we had in common.
After dessert, I excused myself and, when I came back, Derek tried to give me a lot of money by passing it across the table. This was to get a cab all the way home. I felt so embarrassed, as people sitting at the next table might have misread it!
Needless to say, I declined his offer. I know Derek’s intentions were well-meant, and that he will find love and make someone a wonderful partner.
I like a man to have a strong character and be full of fun, and I’m sure in the future, Derek will be just that.
As for me, I’ll never give up. You have to be positive, don’t you?
LIKED? Derek’s thoughtfulness and kindness.
COFFEE OR CAB? Cab.
Derek Guard (pictured) 71, is a retired architect and has been divorced for 20 years
DEREK, 71, SAYS:
I have to admit, I’ve had a difficult period of my life recently, as I have lost both my youngest son, to pancreatic cancer, and my brother in the past couple of months.
Unless you have lost a son or daughter, no one can appreciate the devastation when this dreadful situation occurs.
I feel totally numb and struggle to cope, missing my boy’s daily contact. However, I thought this opportunity to go and enjoy a memorable night out could help in my recovery.
I was hoping to rekindle the joy of feminine company — the affection and closeness of holding hands is something I have missed, having been divorced for 20 years.
I am a fit 71-year-old and was hoping to meet a recently retired lady who wants to share an active and happy partnership. I was very nervous, but excited, about a blind date.
Being a romantic, I bought her a gift of a fragrant candle, which was received warmly.
The evening was faultless. I hope Doreen felt the same
Thankfully, the evening exceeded all my expectations. The restaurant was brilliant, with a beautiful Art Deco design and wonderful staff.
We both arrived earlier than agreed and when I saw Doreen already sitting there, I thought she was lovely.
The conversation was so easy and we had a lot in common, talking about everything from music and concerts we had both attended, to our travels, food and walking, as well as sporting interests.
It was both joyous and relaxed, and a really lovely evening. I was reminded how pleasant it is to spend an evening in female company and realised how much I’d missed it.
I found the evening faultless, and I hope Doreen felt the same. I realise it takes time to get to know someone and I would really like to do so.
After the meal, I offered to take her home to Bromley, which she politely declined, since I live a long way from her in the opposite direction.
TOP DATING TIPS
Terrified before your date? Try our Dating Doctor Alana Kirk’s failsafe tips:
- Stand tall — a ‘power stance’ can help give you a confidence boost.
- Don’t let first impressions put you off. Chemistry is about more than simply physical attraction.
- Dates aren’t only about finding love — you might learn something about yourself that’s just as valuable.
I offered to pay for the cab to and from the station, which she kindly refused, too.
Doreen is so nice — she has wonderful qualities, with a similar view on life to me, and, yes, I would like to take her out again.
I was very hesitant that she was travelling back alone, so we exchanged numbers and agreed she would text me when she got home safely, which she did.
The experience has given me a positive attitude to dating and I know that next time I will be more relaxed.
LIKED? I thought Doreen dressed very smartly and was a very attractive young lady.
COFFEE OR CAB? Coffee.
VERDICT: 9 ½ /10