You can catch my date on Series one of First Dates, episode five.
After having successive failed dates, I thought I’d try my luck in the First Dates restaurant. What did I have to lose?
In my opening interview, I proclaim on national television that I’m a really horny person and if I see a fit man on the tube, I get a tent pole and have to cover my crotch with my man bag. Great start.
It was a boiling hot day and as I walked into the restaurant, I was sweating like a Bombay hooker. I chose to wear a pair of shorts, hoping it wouldn’t look too casual. But to my relief, my date Lee, was also in shorts. Phew, I thought, we can both look casual together.
I was escorted to meet Lee by the maitre’d and we awkwardly introduced ourselves. We clearly didn’t know whether we should shake hands or share a kiss on the cheek. After nearly head butting each other, we settled on the kiss on the cheek.
We instantly found we had some common ground, discovering that we’d both worked as entertainers for holiday parks. The other mutual trait we shared were perfectly plucked pruned eyebrows. This put me off straight away as I usually like my men a bit more rugged and less manicured. I WANT to be the pretty one in a relationship.
No surprises, I was instantly knocking back the Sauvignon Blanc. And I went straight in for direct questioning. No point beating around the bush, I always say.
In fact, I never beat around the bush.
Hence the fact I’m gay.
Direct and to the point, that’s me. Just call me Jack Bauer.
“So are you looking for a long term relationship?” I asked.
Maybe a little forward for the first conversation but I do like to know where I stand. Even though I didn’t fancy Lee on first sight, I like to keep an open mind. You never know if the spark will come later.
The conversation quickly moved onto kids and we both agreed we would want a boy if we were to have children.
“I’d want a boy because girls are bitches!” I declared, whilst looking around for my Savvy B to be topped up.
As I swigged some more of the First Dates restaurant’s savvy B, for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to tell my date that I’ve already got my wedding planned. And no word of a lie, this is what I have envisaged all of my life.
I want the vicar to come up from under the pulpit on a revolving platform. And I want a disco ball spinning as I make my way down the aisle. And the best bit; my walk in song is Whitney Houston classic, ‘How will I know?’, “if he really loves me, I say a prayer with every heartbeat”.
Really proud that I’d clearly described my wedding, I see Lee has fallen deadly silent, lost for words. A rarity with this man, let me tell you, as he loved the sound of his own voice.
Breaking the silence, I asked, “Does it sound like a wedding for which you’d like to be the fellow groom for?”
“NO”, he bluntly replies, “It sounds really tacky.”
My face drops as I knock back some more wine and another deathly silence fills the table. Well, I guess I did ask.
To break the silence, Lee asks if we should go for a cigarette. Relieved that we both smoke, I jump at the chance to grab a nicotine fix after failing to woo him with my wedding plans.
As we puffed on our Mayfair fags (yes, classy I know), the conversation turns to our coming out stories. I came out to the world at 17, even though I don’t actually think I really needed to tell anyone because they’d all guessed that I was a raging homo. Actually, I don’t know if guessed is the right word. It just so happens that none of my friends and family are blind or deaf.
Discussing our school years, I opened up about being bullied. God, now I know I’m quite an open and honest person but I don’t think I’d ever been quite so open and honest on a date before.
Once upon a time, I was held down on the school field by some boys who wrote “Faggot” on my forehead in black marker pen. Yes, sad but a true story. And then I was the one who got into trouble with the Headmaster. YES, ME! He told me off for having pen on my face which wasn’t in accordance with the school uniform policy. What a bastard, although this was the 1990s. If that were to happen in this day and age, the Headmaster would get sacked for sure.
Nicotine fix complete, we were back at the table, being served our mains when… Cue another awkward silence as I bring up the fact I had quite a religious upbringing. Believe it or not, I went to Sunday school and I was in the church choir. And I still regularly go to church now.
“So have you never been to church?” I enquire.
“I go for like christenings, weddings, just when I’ve got to”, was his response.
As the conversation evolved, I fear I was a little too defensive of my old mate Jesus. After Lee called the communion wine, rancid old vinegar, I proclaimed:
“I can’t believe you just dissed Jesus’ blood!”
That quote will follow me around for years to come as I saw it quoted on Twitter hundreds of times the night the programme went to air.
“Maybe we shouldn’t discuss religion”, I sensibly suggested as I grabbed the waiter’s attention to get some more wine. And no, I didn’t ask for rancid old vinegar.
Note to self: Don’t talk about religion, wedding plans or being bullied on first dates. It creates too many awkward silences.
During my closing interview, the producers were plying me with wine. Trying to get me pissed they were. Attempting to loosen my lips even more so than they usually are.
I proclaimed that I didn’t really fancy him but if there was the option, I’d probably go home to bed with him.
I think our final conversation on camera summed up our date perfectly.
LEE: I think you’re really nice. BUT… we are too alike personality wise.
ME: It would be like shagging myself if I shagged you.
LEE: Just a better-looking version.
Cue my pursed lips.
Even television can’t guarantee this undateable gay a future of love. Maybe I should try Blind Date next…
Mark David Woollard graduated from Brunel University, West London in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then, he has written for many publications as a freelance writer. He has been ‘The Undateable Gay’ for The Gay UK magazine since 2015 where he documents his unsuccessful dating life. He wrote an opinion column for the national Student Times, discussing LGBT issues.
He also writes educational pieces for ‘Massage World’ magazine, giving advice to Reflexologists about treating certain ailments. He authored a novella in 2013 entitled ‘The Fun and Frolics of FIFI a L’Orange’, the crazy adventures of a drag queen.
And is currently working on a series of LGBT books for children and a collection of flash fiction.
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