Since when did our only options have to include crowded gay bars or dodgy messaging on Gaydar – what about the humble TV dating show.
We have all sat there on a night off where we cannot be bothered going out and uttered “No likey, no lighty”, or “Surprise, surprise”, at some point. Sometimes it’s like watching animals in a zoo – it’s just funny. So when I agreed to go on one, I was, to say the least, cynical to the point of oozing hostility.
After being shuttled from London to the middle of nowhere (it doesn’t exist according to Google maps – a fact that scared me no end), we were forced to wait around to queue, wait around to register, wait around to get our information, wait around to get food, and wait around to get to the actual show. Having completed an online questionnaire come personality profile test, blitzed out of my mind on white wine, I was fairly sure that I was not going to get anywhere, so had resigned myself to playful sniping with the only other gay guy I had run into during the waiting process. Then I was called up and forced on stage to meet the person that was my “perfect match”, a cute guy who seemed to have far too much in common with me to be normal, who also happened to live forty minutes away by car, at best. Bollocks.
That’s what they don’t tell you on these things – it is all very well and good setting up a couple who managed to find a way of ticking the same boxes in a list of questions asking you to discuss what words better describe themselves (seriously, if I wasn’t drunk at the time of completion, I would have died of boredom), but the logistics of dating someone who lives in another county are laughable.
There’s also the other thing – getting on stage with another male who is your apparent “perfect match” is essentially outing yourself as a homosexual on TV, in front of an audience of a few hundred strong, where the majority are heterosexual. Eep. Saying that, the response when I was waved on by the stage manager (who I really should apologise to for being so twitchy and nervous), was the most positive I have had since my last public outing – bigger cheers than the average straight couples. The guys screamed the girls screamed, and it was all rather lovely without a hint of someone taking the mickey, being sarcastic or generally being out of order. I realise most straight people don’t have a problem with us gays, but never have I had such an authentic response from an audience.
I entered this endeavour ready to tell horror stories of how we were herded like cattle (which we were), where no one got what they wanted (one guy left out of frustration of having to wait to be part of the 901st couple to be matched), and where the only people involved were just desperate to be on the telly (this happened a lot – me and the boy in question traded stories from the boys and girls sides respectively), but my personal experience was nothing like the sceptical versions we tell ourselves as an audience member: I found someone I genuinely liked, who seemed to like me back, and who I could actually see as a potential partner. Bollocks.
Featured image used with permission from glassghost