But I decided the only way to proceed was deluding myself into believing the former and carrying on, self esteem intact. I would give First Dates a shot. First Dates — executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by rom-com legend Drew Barrymore, and based on the hit U. It is a refreshingly uncynical endeavor: The premise is super simple. Every episode follows several pairs of people meeting each other, for the first time, for drinks and dinner at MK in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.
There are nervous giggles, first kisses, awkward moments and serious conversations. At the end, they decide if they'd like to go out again. There are no tense eliminations or annoying gimmicks; no scripted blowouts or manipulated drama. First Dates is about the organic connection that forms between two people on their first meeting, full stop.
Advertisement The couples, who reflect the diversity in age, sexuality, and race that we see in the American dating pool today, are matched up by casting directors and producers. I wanted to find somebody who actually lived in the New York area, so I looked at that list of candidates, did my research, picked a guy, and crossed my fingers he was down to go on a blind date with an entertainment journalist writing about the show.
My primary superficial requirement is height: I'm 5'11 and strongly prefer to date guys over 6'. After previewing all the guys' episodes, I chose Kenny, a tall and handsome Black year-old business development exec on Wall Street who appeared on episode 1, seemed funny, and didn't give off any serial killer vibes. Kenny suggested we meet at a burger place in Hell's Kitchen. I'm a vegetarian who avoids midtown Manhattan at all costs, so we were off to a great start.
I felt better when I arrived and learned that A the restaurant had a bunch of great veggie options, and B Kenny was even taller in person. He seemed genuinely happy to be there, so that put me at ease. We sat at our booth and dove into the awkward small talk: I asked him how he got into doing the show; he asked me if I had ever done something like this before. Gone on a date for work and written about it? Dantriell and Casey on Episode 3 of First Dates. After a few minutes and a few sips of pinot me and a watermelon cocktail him , I started to relax a little.
We talked about how weird the whole thing was, which made it less weird, and Kenny joked that we were basically acting out a rom-com scene How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Trainwreck, Never Been Kissed. We laughed about how we were both so embarrassed that we were dripping sweat when we first arrived, a combination of nerves and the sweltering humidity. I let my withering sarcasm loose, and he told me I was funnier than I first let on.
We went a little deeper, into our families, our last relationships, how weird dating in New York can be, and thoughtsonlife. Rightfully, the show seems proud of itself: Likewise, the manchild diner who decides to impress his date with his uncanny ability to replicate the sound of a trumpet, and the couple who, much to their own amusement, begin debating the merits of eating human flesh. Of course, the dates are still at the mercy of the editing team, who have to whittle down five dates, each one a three-course meal, into an episode lasting 42 minutes.
Who knows for sure whether that withering glare or seductive smile correlates with the real sequence of events? But unless the show has assembled the finest naturalistic actors in the country, rather than a bunch of easy-to-televise members of the public, the likelihood of a script seems minimal. By giving its subjects free reign, First Dates ends up serving a platter of brilliantly off-kilter moments every episode. The latter is one of the few times when a date goes genuinely awry.
Indeed, participants are purposely matched to those with similar interests, values, backgrounds and more practically locations, via an exhaustive selection process which includes online applications and interviews both on the phone and on film. And while some relationships appear to fizzle out the morning after, the brief follow-up that closes each episode often reveals a couple now in the midst of something more committed.
First Dates is not totally devoid of any behind-the-scenes interference. In one episode, a brother and sister are invited to turn up at the same time for a slightly bizarre across-the-room double date. In another, a shifty-looking and blatantly already attached dater is caught out in a post-match sting. But for the most part, the drama is well-earned. Just as refreshing is its relatively wide range of clientele. Young straight white folk still make up the bulk of the daters.
This First Date Finally Convinced Me To Stop Swiping Left 9 Times Out Of 10
Is this the rudest First Dates contestant ever?
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