Every week, we send a couple on a blind date and report back. This time, Peter Bett, 62, had dinner at Hotel du Vin in Bristol with Shirley Owen, 57.
Peter is retired from a career in banking and is a divorcee. Shirley, who is also divorced, has four children and works in financial services. They both live in Bristol.
I haven’t had the best of luck with relationships, which may explain why I’ve been divorced three times.
It has felt impossible to meet someone ‘normal’ — but then, out of the blue, comes a date like this.
I got there early and half expected no one would turn up. Then in walked this tall, handsome and slim man, who greeted me with a kiss on the cheek. I was so relieved.
I knew I was enjoying myself as soon as we sat down, and that feeling only got better. It was no hardship finding anything to say. We discussed all sorts of things, although, luckily, we didn’t get too personal about the past.
I’ve had a couple of longer-term relationships, but, as a single mother, men tend to run. My children are grown up now, so I feel this is the right time to meet someone.
The only problem is, I don’t really go out to places where lots of single men hang about.
I work from home as a financial consultant and love relaxing with a good book or going on theatre and museum trips.
Although I’ve dated, I haven’t been in a proper relationship for ten years.
The dating scene is gruesome — I’ve tried online apps, but it is such hard work and I think a lot of men my age only care about one thing. I went on one date and, within the first hour, he asked me if I was still sexually functioning.
I’d just like to find a normal, fun man —someone honest, genuine and in good shape, but not a gym king.
Peter was lovely. There was a slight mix-up with the table, but he just dealt with it without any drama, and I liked that, as I like someone assertive.
The evening was happy and jolly. We share the same sense of humour and even like the same TV shows, such as Killing Eve and Years And Years. Because of Peter’s background in banking, I didn’t have to explain my job to him, either.
I hate people who are difficult, and Peter is such easy company that it was a breath of fresh air.
He cares about his mum and family and is sensitive and smart. The date felt intimate, in a way, and, yes, I was flirting. We were even sharing each other’s food.
After dinner, we walked together, holding hands, through the city to his car. We were going to have another drink — I think we wanted an excuse to keep the date going — but everything was shut, so he gave me a lift home. We ended the date with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and it felt so natural to exchange phone numbers.
We started messaging the next day and he ended up inviting me to watch the football final with his friends that evening, which was such a trusting thing to do.
His friends were lovely — a good indication of what a person is like. We’re now talking on the phone every day and have planned a third date to the movies.
He’s attractive, tall, slim and well-educated.
This date was brilliant: I couldn’t have hoped for better. I’ve been divorced for 25 years and my last relationship ended a year ago. At first, I wanted to get straight into another relationship, but then I started to enjoy being single.
I retired last April, so I’ve also been enjoying getting myself fit at the gym, doing some cycling and walking and getting out and socialising with friends.
I also volunteer, counting for the local elections.
I haven’t been dating at all, so, when Blind Date found me a match, it was a surprise — I had written in a while ago — but I thought: ‘Why not?’ And I’m so glad I did.
I was apprehensive going into the restaurant — I had wanted to be there first, so as not to keep Shirley waiting, but she was already there.
For me, there was an instant attraction, as Shirley is lovely and has a warm personality that made me feel so relaxed.
We talked about everything. I’m not kidding — we didn’t stop talking until I dropped her home at the end of the night.
She has a great sense of humour and I knew almost immediately that I wanted to see her again. We just clicked.
Although I wouldn’t know how to flirt if my life depended on it, we kept laughing and smiling at each other, and it felt as if there was a spark.
What made my night was that she took my arm as we left the restaurant to walk the mile to my car — and, at some point, we ended up holding hands.
I drove her home and walked her to her door — then, after her dog ran out as she opened it, we ended up taking it for a walk at about midnight.
We exchanged phone numbers and started chatting the next morning. I told her the reason I’d had to do the date on the Friday, rather than Saturday, was because I was going to a friend’s house to watch Liverpool in the European Cup final.
She said that would have been a fine date, too — so I picked her up and brought her along. She fitted right in and my friends thought she was great fun.
Liverpool won and I met Shirley — what a brilliant weekend. I’ve spoken to her every night on the phone since and we’re going out to the pictures this week.
I’m generally a happy man and consider myself to be honest and trustworthy.
I just wanted to meet someone the same, and Shirley is all of those things — knowledgable and warm, with a wide range of interests.
I’m fairly optimistic about our chances of romance — and I certainly won’t be closing the door on it.
She is attractive and has a lovely personality.