Last Friday saw the return to TV3 of the Irish version of 'Take Me Out'. For the three or so of you who may be reading this from countries that don't have an equivalent, TMO is a dating show where one unfortunate male must face the wrath of 30 judgemental females and impress them in the hope of getting a date.
It is a show that, as some of you may know, I have personal experience with. Before last Friday's show aired, I would've been the last male in Ireland to brave the increasingly blue stage (that's not a metaphor, by the way, for whatever reason the set appears to radiate blue as if it has been infected by some kind of water-based, nuclear reaction). To answer your questions in the order you're probably thinking them (since I get asked the exact same questions each time).
- Yes I got a date.
- I had about 15 lights left on at the end. Before you give me credit, it was the last episode of the series, so I fully believe that had the girls known they could have another option then that final figure would have been considerably less flattering.
- Ehhh...ya would like. I could have done worse.
- No we're not still a couple, nor were we ever. No drama or anything, we just got separated afterwards and neither tried too hard to get in touch.
- Yes we gave each other good reviews. However, mine was edited to look like I'd slammed her (note: if you're ever doing anything on TV, remember there is a BIG difference between calling someone a 'stereotypical blonde' and a 'typical blonde'...even if you're saying that they're not that)
- No, Shifters isn't a real pub. It's a curtained off couch upstairs in The Helix. TV3 don't give their shows any kind of workable budget. Which is why Alan Hughes remains employed, I'd imagine.
In spite of my shame, and the fact that I had two agonising weeks in my day-job after it aired last March - with people whispering to each other that I was "the lad who was on that dating show" - I'd recommend the experience to any single pringles looking to mingle (or twats, for short). It's good craic and the women are gamey as fuck when the cameras are off and they're a few vodka and cokes down. As long as your preview video isn't about having your family locked in your basement and your 'Flirty-For-30' doesn't involve you saying "I love children. No...seriously...I LOVE children," then you'll get your bit, if that's what you're looking for.
That said, the show is relatively new to Ireland and there are some tricks of the trade that I learned along the way that would aid a bloke's chances of success under the lights. Some I learned because I made them myself, some the friendly producers were kind enough to give me beforehand, and some you'd just think were common sense...until you watched guys make them on national TV.
Considering that last Friday's show featured a total of four blackouts (I believe) from a group of women, including some you wouldn't ride into battle, then these tips could genuinely make or break your chances. Take it from one of the show's survivors.
DO Listen to fashion advice. From fashionable female friends.
You may not be aware of this, but part of the reason the show works so well is that women are like vultures when sizing up prospective partners. People often wonder why they don't use 30 men and have a woman face the music for a change. It's simple: because men would see a pair of tits on a fucking bull and still probably give it a sly shift when nobody's looking! Women will pick apart every little detail about you and their first impressions last. So if you go out there with clashing colour schemes or even a hair out of place, they'll cop it within about 13 seconds. Grab a good female friend to give you her honest thoughts on your outfit, hairstyle etc. But make sure she's not a piss-taking friend who'll deliberately lead you up the wrong path for funnies. And also that she has a decent fashion sense herself: if her name is Shakira and she wears what appear to be multi-coloured pyjamas to the local nightclub every weekend, you'd probably be better off going with your own instincts.
DON'T Go on the show to be famous.
Fair enough if you want to get yourself seen on the telly, some may disagree but I feel there's nothing wrong with that. Fair enough if you're already talented at something and want to get that some free advertising on national TV, that's intelligent (I went on, partly, to plug my old radio show and made sure they mentioned its name and that we were on Facebook in my VT. Similarly, the likes of polished, talented comedian Simon O'Keefe no doubt won himself some fans on the same episode with his brief stand-up routine). But if you think that this is your first step on the road to being paid millions to having your wedding snapped by VIP magazine, you'd be better off trying to ride Gerry Ryan's daughter instead. You'll have loads in common: she's mad for that whole 'trying to be famous without any discernable talent' malarchy. All the general public will see you as is some bloke who was on a game show...and they'll later see you as a 'sad bastard' if you think that makes you special.
DO Expect the unexpected.
As stated above, the women on the show are like horny, horny vultures. So go out there to have a bit of fun and don't dwell on what they will or won't say about you beforehand...because they'll just end up saying something COMPLETELY different (good or bad) anyway. Case in point: one comment that didn't make it to air on my segment was that I looked like Buzz Lightyear. But that's okay, she said, because she liked Buzz Lightyear. By trying to predict insightful, intelligent comments, you'll probably end up giving the girls more credit than they deserve.
DON'T Read Facebook, Twitter or boards.ie to see if they love you. They most likely don't.
Ah, the Internet. The land of some of the most inspiring, insightful and sometimes even revolutionary material known to man (when you consider that it was the birthplace of The Arab Spring, Wikileaks and so on). And also the home of some of the most inane shite written in the history of mankind. The problem is that it's difficult to tell which is which: if you dress inane shite up by giving it correct spelling and grammar (e.g. this blog), it bears an insightful image. And vice versa. I found it quite uncomfortable looking at my Facebook feed, as I normally do, in the days leading up to and following my own appearance and seeing people that I know talking about me openly (both positively and negatively) as if I was now some character confined to TV-land and couldn't read it. I also made the mistake of checking Twitter and boards and seeing myself referred to as 'having a touch of pikey about him' and 'Ragin' Prick' (though the latter made me laugh, in fairness). Because of my past in wrestling and radio, I was a bit better conditioned than many to take this abuse on the chin. Not so fortunate were a lot of my fellow contestants, some of whom were openly mocked a lot harsher than I, who decided to try and 'fight the haters'. The result: they got mocked harder because of it. If you decide to go on this show, just accept that some people out there are GOING to make fun of you...even if you don't put a foot wrong...because some people are CUNTS. But do yourself a favour and don't read it if you can't take it.
DO Play it safe.
This may be your only opportunity to have your face seen and voice heard by the entire country...so there will always be the temptation to preach a controversial political message that you feel strongly about, or show off your take on the 'Evolution of Dance' that you've been honing in the clubs for MONTHS, and so on. Yeah...don't. You'll just come across as a nutcase. If you want to be a dancer, take dance classes. If you want to spread a political message of positivity, become a politician. If you want the entire nation sharing YouTube links to their Facebook friends making fun of you, do something dumb like this. Instead, go out there, have a laugh, be the same, fun person you are around your friends on a night out and don't make this brief appearance on a cheesy dating show into the reason you can't step outside your house without people pointing and, shortly afterwards, laughing.
DON'T Be a dick.
You know what women love? Guys who are cool, funny, interesting, good-looking...the type of guy they want to spend time with on a one-to-one basis. You know what women don't love? Lads who get thick and abusive whenever they say something mildly negative to them. If you're the type of guy who calls a girl a lesbian in a nightclub when she politely declines to give you her phone number, either don't go on Take Me Out, sort out your anger issues or prepare to be unanimously rejected.
DO Have an interesting talent.
This is a tricky one, because it can also clash with playing it safe. For example, a guy ended up getting a 'blackout' (i.e. when all of the women buzz him off the stage) last Friday after he played the bagpipes. The bagpipes are...different! I suppose you could call them interesting. But it's a fine line. On the other hand, if you've a really disappointing talent (a couple of lads, for example, showed a picture of what they would look like in 20 years as their 'talent' last year), they're going to think that you're just a boring person in general. My rule of thumb would be to think of the feedback and puns the girls could come up with when giving you feedback afterwards: if they're favourable, go for it. If they're not, do something different. For example, I think of bagpipes, I think 'wind'. Drop it. I think of juggling, I think either 'good with their hands' or 'likes playing with balls'. That's a maybe. I think of break-dancing, I think 'flexible'. Ding ding ding...we have a winner! Whatever you do though...
This deserves a spot of its own on the list because it's one of those ULTIMATE Take Me Out no-no's...one that the producers (who, coupled with their sly editing of my post-date feedback, must have hated me) conveniently 'forgot' to tell me about before I went on. I was lucky and managed to get away with it because I can actually hold a note (I've done gigs and so on, nothing major though, as I said to some mates afterwards: about all I use singing for these days is to get women) and, as explained earlier, the desperation vote by being the last man of the series. There's been so many bad singers in the show's past, though, that I think the girls' default is to buzz the fella out as soon as he's given the microphone of doom. Keep your rendition of 'Sweet Home Alabama' for the karaoke bar lads, your dignity is much more important.
DON'T Use it as a 'Last Option'.
If you find yourself completely out of luck with the dating scene, if pubs and clubs are just getting you down, if you tried to pay for a hooker last week and even SHE rejected you, then don't mind what the Take Me Out Facebook page tells you...this is NOT the show for you! On both the Irish and English show, you can tell almost as soon as they come out the door the lads who are on this genuinely hoping to find 'the one': their eyes are usually unnaturally far apart, they have an over-anxious laugh and are generally going bald in a very unusual manner (one bald line just running through an otherwise healthy head of hair). There's nothing wrong with these men. There are plenty of women out there who'd be HAPPY to go wig-shopping with them. But that's what Internet dating is for. THEY'RE the women who have also admitted defeat with pubs/clubs and are content to settle for something different. The Take Me Out girls are a stage before that: they're at the stage where they're still convinced Johnny Depp is going to swoop in one day and make them the princess their alcoholic father always told them they were. Even though the rest of the world can see that's clearly not the case. So all this poor lad will get is bluntly abused, on television, by a group of beggars who apparently CAN be choosers.
DO go to Copper's afterwards.
Like I said earlier lads: these girls + a few scoops + dark lights + Copper's = you getting the ride. If you're into that sort of thing. I wouldn't know, though. I'm a good boy.
So that's it. My 10 top tips for going on Take Me Ou...
...wait, I forgot one didn't I?
Yep, my apologies. I've been very careless and forgot to mention perhaps the most important tip for going on the show. The one tip that will, without a doubt, GUARANTEE you a date with ANY of the girls...no matter how picky they are. And that is:
DO...Be Eamonn Fennell.
Look, I'm a completely heterosexual male, but even I would.
|Show host, Ray Foley, commanding you to be Eamonn Fennell. I'm trying Ray. I'm trying.|
If you've any more tips to add, or feedback, I'm happy to hear it.
Until next time.
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