So I recently came across the TV series ‘First Dates’ (what can I say? I basically live in a hole) and it blew my mind. People go on first dates. On TV. As a concept, it kind of does what it says on the tin, but holy shitballs. People go on first dates on TV.
On a scale of one to nightmare, that is my very own Elm Street. As if meeting a stranger whilst carrying on the extended pretence that you’re not just a very tall toddler-despot isn’t stressful enough! The only thing I could imagine making the whole concept worse would be if there was a show where you do all that naked.
Uh, so, spoiler alert. There’s another show where that is basically what happens.
It’s called ‘Naked Attraction’ and, as I understand it, people are introduced to a variety of other humans but they only get to see the dangly bits. They decide based on the merits of said knackers and knockers if they would like to date the person they are attached to or not. Not to be old-fashioned about all this, but as a rule genitalia (despite what some people seem to believe) ain’t so much with the photogenic. Also probably not so keen on cooking you breakfast in the morning either.
In discovering the existence of this show though, I realised that it was the best news I’d had in a long time. Because, you see, I despise the early stages of dating. All those horrible unknown quantities and uncertainties.
Do they like you?
Do you like them?
Are you splitting the bill?
Sharing dessert? (The correct answer to this one is, of course, no. Never. Not even if you’ve been married seventy years and it’s your last meal.)
Should you reveal your deep and abiding love of porcelain clown dolls or is that more of a third date kind of thing?
The questions are endless and the answers have the potential to be catastrophic. (Believe it or not, not everyone is a fan of porcelain clown dolls – who knew?) And then I found out about the naked dating show and, possibly for the first time in my life, I had context. Because no matter how bad it gets – be it raining romeos or rejections – I’m not having my genitals rated and ranked in front of the entire country.
Don’t get me wrong. Despite this newfound, life-altering knowledge, early dating is still a total shitshow. I was comparing war stories with a friend recently, and she was regaling me with her latest conquest. The guy showed up for their second date with a massive bunch of flowers, waxed lyrical about how he would be happy to move to the same town as her so they could be together and, when they happened to pass a couple in the process of getting engaged, asked for her thoughts on marriage. Suffice to say, they did not go three for three.
Another friend didn’t even manage to get that far in before the shit hit the crazy fan. He had arranged to meet up with someone through a dating site and then decided not to go through with it. She proceeded to go on a million-text rant to him about what a scumbag he was, how much he was missing out on (I’m presuming words like ‘dodged’ and ‘bullet’ were largely implied), and that he would basically never be happy with anyone else. After a perhaps understandable sabbatical, he decided to venture back on the site and created a new profile to start again. The first person to contact him was said woman, with a screenshot of his previous profile picture and the words ‘Karma’s a bitch.’ Hmm, Karma might not be alone in that particular category.
Even when it’s not dramatic, it can still be boring as all hell though. I once arrived on a date to find that the guy had gone ahead and ordered because he ‘didn’t think I’d show.’ He then proceeded to talk at length about how much he hated his job and how he had booked a trip to Skye with his ex but as she’d broken up with him, he’d have to cancel it. I suggested he take a friend or, god forbid, go alone but neither were popular options. Possibly because he doesn’t have any friends on account of never arranging to do anything with them. To cap it all, the rain was so heavy as I was walking home that if I’d looked up I would have drowned.
So despite my aversion to this new-fangled naked faceless creepy-as-fuck dating show, I’m also secretly glad that I’m living in this brave new world. Because the next time I’m sat in a bar waiting for my new-first-date, trying desperately to mute the howling of my inner toddler-despot, I can look around and thank all that is good and holy that at least there isn’t a camera and that everyone involved is still wearing their keks.
Every cloud, guys. Every cloud.