Daisy Buchanan | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

First Dates 8.5: Bad Shoes, Bad Behaviour And Beards

First Dates 8.5: Bad Shoes, Bad Behaviour And Beards

The Debrief: Anyone else's love life ‘spinning in a field of cow shit'?

This week, we’re treated to the most joyous First Dates incident to occur in eight series’ worth of romantic encounters - and it’s before any of the couples have even sat down. MC and Maitre’D Fred treats us all to a quick burst of Biggie, singing the chorus from 'Hypnotize' before the evening’s guests start arriving. It’s strange and sublime, just like the first candidate Patrick - an adorably nervous man in his late twenties who once tried ‘something called Tinder’ but didn’t find a date, or even anyone who’d pop round in an Uber for a quick handy. He’s matched with mature student Angharad, who shows that she’s over uni culture by explaining that she’s too embarrassed to order a Porn Star martini. Patrick admires her white teeth, which she, um, whitens. ‘It’s not good for them,’ says a concerned Patrick, making the case for gnashers which are strong and slightly beige, like breeze blocks. ‘A lot of the things that you want to do aren’t good for you!’ replies Angharad, slightly flirtily. Patrick looks horrified. ‘You don’t take drugs, do you?!’

Next, we meet glamorous 60-something violinist Madeleine, who rejects the house vodka (Absolut) for Stolichnaya and soda. ‘I like the finer things in life,’ she coos, as opposed to all of those people who genuinely prefer the slightly crappy, low-end things. She’s matched with music fan Alistair, who loves all the big classical names like Tchaikovsky and, um, Tony Bennett. Madeline is a walking LMFAO song - she’s sexy, and she knows it. ‘I like oysters Rockefeller, oysters New Orleans - I’ve never had English oysters!’ She talks like a cross between a drama student who has just seen two Godard films in a row, and a Thought Catalogue essay entitled 'Why You Should Never Fall For A 60-Something Internationally Travelled Musical Beauty, Even She’s Definitely Better At Sex Than Everyone Else In The Whole World, Ever'. Alistair can’t get a sentence in, but he doesn’t care. He seems happy to gaze at her face with a view to licking it. She mentions having a social life full of ‘semi-private soirees’ but she still can’t get a date. ‘When a woman is as beautiful as you, men are intimidated,’ coos Alistair. ‘Yes,’ replies Madeleine calmly. The ‘duh’ is implied. She then has a little flirt with waiter Sam, and touches his hands! If Alistair had done that, Madeline would have been in the cab before anyone could say ‘dessert menu’.

There’s a slightly uncomfortable moment where Angharad asks Patrick where he’s from ‘originally’ and tells him that she really fancies Asian men. Then Patrick describes himself as ‘oriental’ and tells her that he’s not attracted to Asian women. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of this, other than feeling borderline awkward, so here’s a thoughtful LA Times piece about racial terms. Movingly, Patrick reveals that he has a ten-year-old daughter who was born with ovarian cancer, and the difficulty of dealing with this led his old relationship to break down. He also reveals that he fell in love with his ex after seeing her working in Sainsbury's, and used to come in and buy ‘sausages, yoghurts, anything I could think of’. Dude, it’s a bit worrying if you’re in a supermarket, surrounded by stuff, and can only think of sausages and yoghurt. They agree to part as friends, but we see Patrick offering to ‘change your number - I mean, take your number!’ I don’t think Patrick will be short of offers after this goes out, he is the very acme of adorkableness.

Everybody loves a dater with a surprise job - and it’s time to eat 19-year-old bricklayer Molly, who looks like a Kardashian sibling and describes her love life as ‘spinning in a field of cow shit.’ Molly’s working environment can probably be summed up as ‘bants’ - as in, you cause someone else as much distress and discomfort as possible, and say ‘ahahaha, that’s bants!’ For example, pinching women’s bottoms at the Christmas party and pretending it was a male colleague doesn’t make you a comedy legend. It’s sexual harassment. Molly is very funny, even if she does go on for far, far too long about Hussain’s boat shoes. ‘He usually has salt water,’ she tells the waiter who takes his order for sparkling water. We learn Hussain lost his father and sister to cancer, and even then, bloody Molly can’t resist. ‘They’re both looking down on you…IN YOUR BOAT SHOES.’ In spite of everything, Hussain is clearly smitten, and even though Molly’s assessment of her role in the date is pretty negative, he still wants a cuddle. They are cute together.

Finally, we have James, an events manager who was briefly romantically involved with a man who was imprisoned for murder after killing his ex with a flat screen television. James’ date is a strip club manager turned barber Martin. Both men have excellent beards and fairly memorable backstories. Martin is having a baby with his best friend, in two weeks. James’ ex waited until James was at Glastonbury to run away to Australia. Poor James also had a harrowing childhood, as he found out that his dad was seeing another man behind his mum’s back just after his beloved grandmother died. His self-administered therapy involved running away to Paris, and getting a job as one of Mary Poppins’ chimney sweeps at Disneyland. The chemistry is undeniable, and everything is going brilliantly until Martin goes off for a ‘toilet moment’ and we learn that James stands up to wipe his bum. However, they get past this hiccup and have a proper smooch - apparently, they’re still dating! Hooray!

Crazy in love

If any of these couples are going to make it to the reunion show, it’s James and Martin - and if anyone deserves a happy ending, it’s James. May they fall in love forever, and have their union sponsored by a high-end beard balm, so they stay smooth in their hairiness. 

Giving love a bad name

Alistair might have been smitten, but if I was single and encountered Madeleine levels of self-obsession from my date, I’d eat the tablecloth - and if there was any flirting with the waitstaff, I’d hide in it and run out of the restaurant while screaming ‘Woooo, you cannot catch me! I am a ghost now!’

Image courtesy of Channel 4

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Tags: Channel 4 First Dates