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Who’ll find love on our celebrity special blind date? This week it’s Claire, 34, and Bobby, 35,… but will romance be on the cards?
- Every week FEMAIL sends a couple on a blind date and asks them to report back
- This week Bobby, 35, and Claire, 34, had dinner at Bill’s restaurant in Soho
- Would you like to go on a date with Bobby? Let us know at email@example.com
Academic, broadcaster and maths whizz Bobby Seagull, 35, recently published a guide to his favourite subject — mathematics. According to the BBC2 presenter, numbers can guide all aspects of life.
Bobby even applied an equation to his love life in the hope of finding his perfect match: Miss Right had to be single, less than 5ft 4in, and a graduate living in London or Cambridge with similar tastes to him in music and popular culture.
He concluded that there are 73 candidates in the UK — and that mankind is 14 times more likely to find an alien civilisation than he is to locate one of these women.
Well, we found one. Claire Francis, 34, is a PR executive who lives in Westminster. We sent her and Bobby, from East London, to dinner at Bill’s restaurant in Soho.
CLAIRE, 34, SAYS:
Claire Francis, 34, (pictured) is a PR executive from Westminster
I’d never been on a blind date before and was curious to give it a go. I arrived at the restaurant at 7pm on the dot but, when I realised where it was, I cringed — because I work on the same street. Still, I believe in fate, so took it as a good omen.
Bobby was waiting at the table, dressed in a jacket and a pink shirt. He looked smart, but comfortably so. I was casually dressed in a shirt and skinny jeans.
Bobby told me he’d arrived precisely three minutes before me, the first of a few signs he likes numbers. My initial impression was that he was intelligent, but down-to-earth and chatty. He’s fun, too — I laughed a lot.
I didn’t recognise him from his TV appearances and he was humble about it when it came up in conversation.
I’d figured that he would be quite short, because I was asked about my height when I applied for the date.
Bobby is a good conversationalist and no subject was off-limits. We talked about everything from the periodic table to TV’s Love Island (he’s a fan of both), although we didn’t mention our love lives — I’d avoid that on a first date.
Bobby mentioned that he devises maths puzzles for John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4’s Today show. I’m a listener, and it was so fun to hear his work the next day. I helped him with a forthcoming one, so hopefully I earned some brownie points!
I let Bobby choose our starters, while I picked the wine. We didn’t have dessert because we were both so full. We were together for almost four hours, only leaving at 10.45pm when the restaurant closed. I suspect if it hadn’t been Sunday, a ‘school night’, we’d have gone on somewhere else.
While Bobby ticks lots of boxes on the eligible bachelor checklist, sadly there wasn’t a romantic spark for me.
I know immediately if I like someone — I wouldn’t go on a second or third date to see if romance would develop. But I can’t put my finger on the type of guy I’m looking for, though I need to be with someone who keeps me intellectually stimulated.
The dating game has changed tremendously since mobile phone apps came along.
Guys have become more fickle, meeting you for the sake of it, rather than with the hope it might turn into something. Even so, a couple of chaps I’ve met on Tinder have turned into friends. Bobby’s ideal woman is someone who keeps him on his toes, with a similar passion for maths.
It was a lovely way to spend an evening. Bobby is a nice guy — we swapped phone numbers and have messaged each other since.
LIKED? Bobby is great company.
REGRETS? The waiting staff were a bit too attentive and, at times, it was awkward.
COFFEE OR CAB? Coffee, definitely.
Bobby Seagull, 35, (pictured) is a BBC2 presenter from East London
BOBBY, 35, SAYS:
I grew up watching Cilla Black’s Blind Date and I’m a lifelong fan of the concept. In my book, I used a version of the Drake equation — a mathematical framework to estimate the number of alien civilisations in our galaxy — to calculate that there are 73 women I could date in the UK.
That seems like a tall order, but I did some research and found the best approach to a blind date was to have no expectations. I arrived three minutes early so that I could compose my thoughts.
I had explored how I should greet my date. A handshake seemed to be the universal suggestion, however my intuition was to go in for a hug — but I didn’t. Instead, I ended up doing an awkward hug-handshake combo. I regret that.
My initial impression of Claire was positive: she’s classy and stylish. My research recommended ‘shared experiences’ to break the ice, so I suggested we share starters. I chose chicken skewers and cauliflower, as it’s a superfood.
Claire and I had numerous things in common. I was at Eton for two years and Claire went to boarding school. And we’d both met Prince Harry — I played a football match against him, while Claire once served him a drink while working at Sandringham.
We talked about Claire’s degree in history of art, but I couldn’t remember the name of a Turner Prize winner. Eventually, it came to us both — it was Grayson Perry.
We also talked about whether or not we are millennials — Claire is convinced we aren’t, but I think we are. I know millennials can be viewed as Instagram-obsessed, politically correct narcissists, but we’re empathetic and aware.
I’m an optimist and, while I don’t think you should rule things out, I suspect Claire isn’t the girl for me. We had a stimulating conversation, but there seemed little chance of romance.
This hasn’t put me off going on a blind date again. After all, I’m single and have been since Sunday, August 26, 2012. I stand by my equation for finding love, but I’m now down to 72 women. It was a great evening, Claire was good fun and I hope we stay in touch.
LIKED? Claire came up with an idea for my BBC Radio 4 Today programme maths puzzle.
REGRETS? That we went out on a school night.
COFFEE OR CAB? Herbal tea.
Would you like to go on a date with Bobby? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
His book The Life-Changing Magic Of Numbers is published by Virgin Books at £16.99.
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Who'll find love on our blind date? This week it's Claire, 34, and Bobby, 35