Mash Blind Date: 'I just want to stop being the world's most friendzoned man'

JOSH Gardner, who turns every possible shag into friendship, is dating Helen Archer. Can he keep it romantic or will he end being like a brother again? 

Josh on Helen

First impression?

Gorgeous, with warm eyes and an open, inviting smile. And we’ve never met and we’re already on a date! So we’re actually starting from the same place for once!

How was conversation? 

Really great. I complimented her appearance and then, so as not to seem superficial, asked about her family and interests. Within ten minutes she was telling me about a row she’d had with her sister. We really connected.

Memorable moments?

She said ‘I’ve never met anyone like you, Josh, you really listen’ and took my hand in hers. The candlelight danced in her eyes. And this wasn’t me getting it wrong and deluding myself it was romantic, because this is an actual date.

Favourite thing about Helen? 

Well because this is a date, I’m not going to say how kind she is or what a wonderful sense of humour she has, but her body. Yeah, she’s got really great boobs. That’s the kind of thing a bloke on a date would say.

A capsule description? 

She’s so wonderfully kind and has such a fantastic sense of humour. I could gaze at her all night.

Was there a spark? 

There had to be, because we got on so well and what’s a spark if not getting on well in a date context? So yes.

What happened afterwards? 

I wouldn’t try anything on the first date because though I am very romantic and a sexual being I’m also chivalrous, so I escorted her to her taxi and waved her goodbye. We’ll snog on the next one though.

What would you change about the evening? 

Little. Perhaps I would have gone in for a kiss, but this won’t be my only opportunity.

Will you see each other again?  

We’ve already arranged to meet up, and she even wants me to meet her mates. Bit soon, but I like the commitment. Shows this is serious and a relationship.

Helen on Josh

First impression?

Pretty good, well turned-out, courteous, great manners, no bravado or arrogance or cleavage-peeking. Seems like a really genuine guy.

How was conversation?

Fantastic. He actually asks questions and listens to the answers and asks follow-up questions, like Laura Kuenssberg talking to a non-Tory. I actually told him about this barney with my sister I’ve not shared with even close friends.

Memorable moments?

I really felt connected to him, and it’s so great to meet someone like that. Someone you feel comfortable and uncomplicated and straightforward with, not all these entanglements.

Favourite thing about Josh? 

He’s such a generous guy, emotionally. I felt I could be myself with him and drop all the front and not have to be sexy, dating Helen.

A capsule description? 

Just such a nice guy, quiet, empathic and unassuming. I think we’ll be really good friends.

Was there a spark? 

You know at times it felt like he was thinking about me in that way? Just hints, he never came out with it, but I had this nagging suspicion.

What happened afterwards? 

He walked me to my Uber and for a minute there I thought he was going to go in for a kiss and I was like ‘Okay…’ but then he didn’t. I guess was imagining it. I already know my Joshie isn’t into me in that way.

What would you change about the evening? 

It’s always great to make new pals, but I’d hoped to be grinding on a hot dude if I’m honest.

Will you see each other again?  

We’ve already arranged it! He’s coming out bowling with me and the girls. Oliver’s there so maybe he and Josh will be into each other.

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Your astrological week ahead, with Psychic Bob

Aries, March 21st–April 19th

You still have to get a chair from the kitchen, stand on it, unscrew the old one then put the new one in. These so-called energy-saving lightbulbs are a load of bollocks.

Taurus, April 20th–May 20th

Young people say Ross from Friends is ‘problematic’, but you know who was more problematic in the 90s? Hannibal Lecter.

Gemini, May 21st–June 21st

‘Fuck it,’ barks a desperate streaming executive, ‘everything else has been done. I’m greenlighting a £200m PG Tips Chimps movie.’

Cancer, June 22nd–July 22nd

People say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ for something they can never forget, but you say ’it’s like that time I saw dad hanging out the back of mum.’

Leo, July 23rd–August 22nd

All the world’s a stage – except Swindon, which is too much of a shithole.

Virgo, August 23rd–September 22nd

I dreamt of a continental singing contest, cheap and swollen with pageantry. Thank God no such thing exists. Now to check the television listings from last night.

Libra, September 23rd–October 22nd

Narrow your focus by switching to reading this horoscope on your phone. Widen your horizons by going back to the laptop.

Scorpio, October 23rd–November 22nd

Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. But be prepared for lengthy explanations when it’s ‘horse breeder’.

Sagittarius, November 22nd–December 21st

Now that she’s Queen, Camilla will be moving forwards, backwards and diagonally. She learnt the Cha Cha Slide for the Coronation concert.

Capricorn, December 22nd–January 19th

A ball pool would make a good metaphor for phyicists. ‘Imagine diving into an infinite ball pool,’ that kind of shit. You don’t know what it could explain, that’s their job.

Aquarius, January 20th–February 18th

Monster drinkers must be so ashamed when they see a man proudly bearing a can of Red Bull. It’s like a street drinker seeing a couple sipping wine.

Pisces, February 19th–March 20th

Back in school you told a dinner lady to ‘go away’. She still thinks about that every night. Cries herself to sleep, poor woman.