15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs
15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs

Grace McGettigan

The importance and benefits of alone time
The importance and benefits of alone time

Niamh Ennis

The best street style from Paris Fashion Week
The best street style from Paris Fashion Week

Holly O'Neill

I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my 15 favourites
I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my...

Lauren Heskin

‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned
‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned

Geraldine Carton

That Robin Williams test footage broke our hearts, and his daughter’s too
That Robin Williams test footage broke our hearts, and his daughter’s too

Sarah Finnan

California Cool: This Irish-built contemporary home is a music lover’s dream
California Cool: This Irish-built contemporary home is a music lover’s dream

IMAGE

We need to just stop commenting on other people’s bodies
We need to just stop commenting on other people’s bodies

Megan Burns

18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats
18 of Dublin’s best cheap eats

Ali Dunworth

Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’
Myleene Klass: The trauma of miscarriage ‘never goes away’

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

First Dates; We Just Clicked


by IMAGE
21st Apr 2016

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: A young couple kiss at the 2016 New York City Easter Parade on March 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

blank

As First Dates finally arrives to Irish TV, GILLIAN BRETT takes a look at how dating in the 21st century is a whole new game.

It sort of fell into my lap, and I was just at a place in my life where I was having fun and trying to live to the fullest …? Conor Doyle is telling me about the time, nearly six years ago, when he appeared on the dating show Take Me Out on TV3. The 30-year- old from Waterford is now reminiscing, as he has just married his long-term girlfriend Lauren Enright, the stunning Dubliner who he met after saying ?Sure, why not?? when he was asked to take part in the show in 2010.

Make-up artist Lauren, 27, also had no expectations of finding true love when she joined 29 other single girls on the match-making programme. ?I was actually booked to work on a photo shoot that clashed with the filming, and was intending to leave the show early,? explains the new bride. Luckily for Lauren, in what would have been her last round, Conor strode on set and convinced her to keep her light on with his witty VT and cheeky smile. After a drink in Shifters, the rest was history, and the pair have been living happily ever after in Vancouver for the past four years.

It all feels very fated, like a modern love story. But is the same ever said of the one in four Irish couples (according to a recent study) who manage to find each other online? Or is online dating still somewhat stigmatised and considered ?lowbrow?? ?We were talking about online dating the other day and how it has become the norm,? says Lauren. ?The probability of me meeting Conor would be the same nowadays; it’s just that in our case,it was televised.?

Speaking from personal experience, there are quite a few dates in my back catalogue that I’m very relieved were not for public viewing. Dating in the digital age is perceived as something of a minefield, and as such, my own investment in it was tenuous. Free apps that filled the time it would take for the bus to arrive was about as deep as I got into an industry that now offers hope for the most niche relationship preferences imaginable (have you heard of Sizzl? Bacon lovers rejoice – your BLT-loving soulmate awaits). The side effect being that I brought this ambivalence into all of my online interactions.

Perhaps I was overly influenced by the media’s misjudgement of it all: in a 2015 article in Vanity Fair, Nancy Jo Sales argued that Tinder is responsible for a ‘dating apocalypse?, with several twentysomething New York men admitting they use it to prowl for women to sleep with. They call their conquests ?Tinderellas? and pride themselves on getting women into bed after a few texts.

Yet, on the rare occasions that I did find myself on a date – be it via Tinder, Happn or the feminism-friendly Bumble – it was generally fun, took me somewhere new, and allowed me to meet someone outside of my immediate circle of friends who had a fresh viewpoint on life in London. And to my complete surprise, I soon stumbled upon ?the one?. My hardened approach to modern dating was contradicted when I realised there was a large possibility that the person on the other end of the phone was genuine about finding a serious loving relationship, a modern-day fairytale, and maybe even the one for him – not just a one night stand with a Tinderella.

This month, a new dating programme will air on RTE? 2 – First Dates. You may be familiar with the British version, which began on Channel 4 three years ago. Filmed at the upmarket Paternoster Chop House restaurant in Central London, the show makes for addictive, voyeuristic viewing as singletons of all ages and backgrounds embark on a blind date. The Irish version follows the same blueprint: matches are made by the show’s producers, who assure me: ?We get to know all the applicants very well throughout the process.

Casting is central to the success of the show, and the fact that it genuinely tries to help people find love.? Those who made it through from the 4,500-plus applicants will be relieved to hear that.

The overall message to be gleaned from the digital, or indeed TV, dating scene appears to be: have an open mind and expect the unexpected. If both of these really aren’t your thing, what’s the alternative – Coppers? We’ll let you know when season two starts taking applications.

First Dates begins tonight on RTE 2 at 9.30pm.

This article originally appeared in the May issue of IMAGE, on shelves now.

Also Read

houseplants
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE