Over the summer, the people producing Channel 4’s First Dates series were desperately keen to have comedian Lynn Ruth Miller on as their first 82-year-old lady. But they were having a lot of trouble finding someone of an appropriate age. She and I even talked about trying to get me dating her on the show, although the format is blind dates with strangers.
Eventually, though, the TV company found a suitable date for her and the result was screened on Channel 4 last night. Coincidentally, her date was also called John. At the end, a caption said that, after meeting up for the date, John (from Milton Keynes) had gone down to meet Lynn Ruth (in Brighton) for fish & chips.
“Fish and chips?” I asked her in an e-mail last night.
This morning, she replied: “Not chips”.
“Tell me more,” I said.
So she did. And here it is.
I have to say this was a beautiful example of what a reality show is.
The editing and the filming were excellent. The people co-ordinating each interview were marvellous and helpful. They made everyone feel very at ease. The truth is I was so at ease I said a few things I should have censored, but there you are.
This programme is all about selective perception. We see what we want to see and the editors at First Date are experts at piecing together a very deceptive encounter where absolutely nothing is not true but everything is out of context.
We had a pre-interview first to see if we were suitable and would make good television, then a recorded interview that was really lovely because they did not film anything you asked them to omit. After all, most of the questions are very personal.
However I am very open about my life since I do cabarets about it, so I was not bothered.
The actual date is really lovely but people should know it is completely orchestrated.
We met in a Restaurant that was near the First Dates restaurant and the staff let me put on some make-up. I did not want to look like they resurrected me, after all. I have my pride.
Then we waited in a little room and they told me exactly the path I was to walk to the restaurant where the Maitre D’ welcomed me and sent me to wait for my Romeo at the bar.
Had I seen the programme before, I would have known that I was being recorded since we were miked up before we entered the place, but I did not. Again, I was my usual blunt, untactful, filthy self.
And then my paramour came into the restaurant and kissed me (even though we had NOT been introduced!) and BOUGHT me a drink. They gave each of us £25 towards our meal – enough to actually pay for a serviette and a toothpick at this place.
After we were seated, they called each of us out at least twice to ask us to ask a question about something or discuss something they wanted in the programme.
After the meal, my little darling paid the difference between the £50 we were allowed and the total. Since he had had a couple beers and quite a substantial lunch I hate to think what the total was.
They interviewed us alone and then together. Then we were told to say goodbye and get into a pre-arranged cab that took us about a yard away to the corner.
We had to make our own way home.
John, despite what he said, did not call me. He definitely thought better of it when he got away from the heady atmosphere of being filmed for TV. Please remember he said that he still had feelings (you might remember the kind?) and all he needed was a little blue pill to get him up and ready for action.
I believe he realised that, if I had to wait four hours for a cuddle, I would find better ways to spend my time… a movie perhaps… or doing it myself.
I e-mailed him after the director asked if he had contacted me.
We made a date to meet in London but, when he realised this would keep him out after dark (mercy me!) he broke the date.
A month or two passed and Vic the director asked again if I had heard from him, so I e-mailed again.
I told John when I was free but, for some reason I attribute to meagre grey matter, he did not bother to give me a specific date. He just appeared in Brighton.
We did not eat fish and chips
Since he came unannounced, I just took him along with me on my previously-arranged lunch date.
What I did not realise was that it was not my immense charm and hot little body that brought him to Brighton.
THEY PAID FOR HIM TO COME TO BRIGHTON.
I had a pre-arranged lunch date with Melita Dennet, a very lovely lesbian lady I love very much, and I just brought him along. We went vegetarian. I think he was horrified. It was a side of life he had never encountered. All he did the entire time we were together was stop people on the street to tell them we were going to be on television.
As you should know by now, my mind is definitely my erogenous zone and he didn’t get anywhere near it.
He was, of course, very very kind and just a tad insipid.
Perfect person for an old lady.
I like to think that is not me
The sad thing is that people think we fell in love when there was absolutely no chemistry between us. His greatest joy is changing his grandchildren’s nappies and mine, as you well know, is throwing them into an audience – the nappies not the grandchildren.
And this brings me to my main point.
People do not instantly fall in love and cement forever relationships in 30 minutes any more than someone who thinks he can sing can be an opera star if Simon Cowell decides he has talent.
Things that are worth achieving take time and effort.
Anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of real relationships needs to come to my show I Love Men at Leicester Square Theatre, November 20 & 27 @ 5pm and 29th @ 9:30pm.
That tells is like it is (I hope).
First Dates tells it like we wish it could be.
This post first appeared on John Fleming's Blog - SO IT GOES | John Fleming’s Blog: Human Interest, Humour, Humor, Comedy Blog Featuring Eccentricity, Performance, Movies And Occasionally A Few Tears, please read the originial post: here