A few years ago I went out with a girl who loved Nando’s. If we ate out, we ate at Nando’s. If we had a good time, it was probably after eating a lot of Nando’s. When an argument devolved into petulant silence, our deadlock was usually broken by the suggestion we go to Nando’s. I think she even worked at Nando’s for a time.
For a number of sensible reasons and mutual decisions, we eventually broke up. On my next birthday I received a card in the mail with no return address. The writing inside failed to betray the sender’s anonymity, as it simply read “happy birthday Jack treat yo' self.” There was also a Nando’s loyalty card in the envelope, fully stamped, entitling me to 1 Whole Free Chicken. Fuckin sik 1 m8.
Of course I knew who had sent it. Even my mates who surrounded me at that time knew. And I’m ashamed to say you keep up particularly shit-headed appearances in moments like that: Here was an ex, pitifully surrendering her hard-earned chicken because she was obviously still DTF, or something. We all got a good laugh out of that.
Now I look back on that moment with a bit more tact. I don’t really know what compels a person to give away their Nando’s card - particularly as you can’t buy fully loaded ones on eBay anymore - but I like to think her move was symbolic. In hindsight, we had very little in common except Nando’s. Perhaps her gift was a token of the best aspect of our relationship. A reminder it wasn’t a total waste.
Or maybe not, whatever. Maybe it would have been the same had I gone out with Andrea Dworkin. Because the truth is, everyone loves Nando’s. Everyone loves how you can tear apart an entire chicken and chips with your big dumb face. Everyone loves how you can get a glass for tap water then use it to drink 17 refills of Fanta. Don’t even get me started on how everyone loves the way you can pay separately at the til, because they love that more than anything. Nando’s, along with being a tidy mass-market chicken chain that always delivers, is love.
Big Dave having a cheeky 'Dos with the lads.
So I wasn’t surprised to hear that a recent study, conducted by dating app Clover, found that Nando’s is the most popular restaurant for first dates. That first encounter is one of the most daunting things you can do, so why would you want to add to your anguish by queuing for a pop-up supper club? Even if the date sucks, at least you’ll both enjoy the food.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll get a fully-stamped Nando’s card in the mail one day.
Oh yeah - and if ur a lad you’ll kno that it’s extra cheeky *finger tip touching thumb tip emoji*