Ah man. Series 2 of First Dates finished last week on Channel 4, and I for one am really sad that it’s all over. There are many reasons why the programme works so well. Obviously there’s some excellent editing going on, and the chosen candidates all have a certain je ne sais quoi about them which means they make for great viewing. But there’s more to it than just shrewd production work.
It’s sweet - it shows (fairly) normal people, going on (fairly) normal dates. There’s no host, no studio audience and no Paddy McGuiness making thinly veiled innuendos. I think we can all watch First Dates and come away a little bit wiser so, without further ado, here are the nine MOST IMPORTANT things I’ve learnt from this season on First Dates.
Being on TV won’t stop people acting very inappropriately.
Hitting on someone else’s date when their partner is in the toilet. Calling your mum to complain that your date hasn’t commented on how good looking you are. Stripping off and performing a ‘sexy’ dance that makes viewers want to remove their eyeballs and place them gently on the floor just so they don’t have to watch it. These things all happened. On TV. The fact that the participants must have signed disclaimers and been very, very aware that everything they did could well be broadcast to the nation, didn’t seem to stop or impede their actions in the slightest. You kind of have to respect them for that.
Never go on a date with your twin.
I don’t know how many people this applies to, but I would say this should be adopted as a hard and fast rule – if you’re going on a date, make sure you leave your freaky doppelgänger relation at home. Ben and Gary did not adhere to this advice and thus in Episode 7 we were treated to a rather uncomfortable look into their weird, symbiotic lives. “The annoying question that we get asked quite often is: ‘Do you and your brother sleep together?’ and two, ‘Can we join in’”, Gary helpfully explains. At this point, it would be completely acceptable to run for the hills.
If you meet a man called Terry Turbo run, quickly, in the other direction.
You know when you were younger and went on holiday to Malaga, and there was that DJ who would incessantly turn down the volume whilst playing Axwell’s I Found U to shout at the crowd: “Is everyone from Middlesbrough having a good time?” That was probably Terry Turbo. Well actually his destination of choice was Faliraki, but you get the idea. He frequented the First Dates restaurant three times in the first season, and this time was back for more. Classic lines from Terry include: “You wouldn’t kick her out of bed for farting”, “What bra size are you?” and “I do like a pair of tits”. You get the picture.
Don’t name parts of your body.
Salon owner Kenny’s date with Jess was running pretty smoothly. And then he introduced her to his biceps: James and Andrew. Bitch, please.
I would totally date a historian. Who wears cardigans.
How could you not be taken with historian-cum-Alan Carr look alike Jonny? He’s got three degrees. Three! And one of them is in museum studies. Also, when his date, 40-year-old traveller Clare told him they’d just had “mind sex” he made a face which suggested it had been a more physical experience for him…
If at first you don’t succeed…
Perseverance is key in the world of dating. Take Rajan – the 24-year-old Londoner who has frequented the restaurant a grand total of four times and has still to find a match. Or Ross, who is clearly a really nice guy and so much more than just a Chris Moyles look alike, who is yet to get a break. But probably my favourite returnee this series was Corinne who, despite having been rejected two times and who rather endearingly cried on camera, returned for a third visit, with semi-success.
People love rosé wine.
I mean sure, everyone likes a glass of rosé now and again. It’s pink, it tastes nice in the sun, it makes you feel a little fancy. I get it. But by God, did people get through it in the First Dates restaurant. They must have been serving buckets of the stuff.
Age is but a number.
Jackie was a 62-year-old from Hertfordshire who hadn’t been on a date in 10 years and who was clearly throwing herself back into the game. John (76) and Jean (73) seem to have a bloody great time on their date, with Jean announcing she “doesn't need a man; she wants one”. Clearly you are never too old to party, or go out for dinner with a stranger. But in all seriousness, those on the slightly older end of the age spectrum seemed to general have a pretty enjoyable time, much more so than the 20-something daters. The OAPs know how to do this shit.
The First Dates restaurant has produced very few second dates, but a lot of great telly.
This season, at the end of each episode, we were given a little follow up on how each couple had fared after exiting the gleaming glass doors of the First Date restaurant. The majority of which seemed to be not very well: “Ross says he’ll wait as long as it takes for Jess… Jess thinks he’ll be waiting a long time”. “Alan though he’d cleaned up with Rachel… But Rachel’s since washed her hands of him.”
But who cares if we are yet to see a First Date wedding. I’ve had such a good time watching people struggling to remember which fork to use, or trying not to get their exposed thighs stuck to the leather chairs, whatever happened after they left the venue is almost irrelevant.
And one things for sure – I’d much rather go on a First Date than to the fucking Isle of Fernando’s.
Follow Lucy on Twitter @DraperLucy