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  • Writer's pictureConnor O'Donoghue

I went on First Dates

(originally published on Medium on 3rd March 2022)

When I applied to be on Channel 4’s First Dates, I knew with certainty that I would get on the show. I had a story that was very televisable and as I filled in my application form, I made sure to tell that story. I had been massively obese, weighing over twenty-eight stone (about 400 pounds or 180 kilos) and had had an average of one romantic or sexual encounter every five or six years until I moved to London at the age of thirty-five and suddenly found myself swept up in the world of chubby chasers, and spent two years having many sexual adventures with them until I had weightloss sugery. When I applied for the show, I was thirty-nine years old, I’d lost half of my body weight and I’d run a marathon and I couldn’t get men to show interest in me any more. I was still too flabby and shlubby looking for most image-obsessed gays, but far too skinny for the chubby chasers who’d made my first two years in London such an adventure, and so I was dreading the idea of turning 40 and never having had a relationship.

Within a matter of weeks, a producer rang me and asked me if I would talk to them on Skype (it was the first week of the first lockdown of the pandemic and Zoom and Teams hadn’t quite killed Skype yet). The chat with the producer was a lot of fun. I could feel storylines forming as I spoke to him. He wanted to know about my single years, about my exciting years with chubby chasers, he wanted to know about the swing dance lessons I was going to, he wanted to know what I’d talk about on a date, what I’d wear, who I’d want to meet. He had me show him my wardrobe and take him through my collection of over 100 colourful ties and send him some before pictures from when I’d been 28 stone.

He was nosey. He asked questions I didn’t expect. He asked when I’d lost my virginity. He seemed disappointed that I hadn’t still been a virgin when I’d moved to London. I think that made my story a bit more complicated than he wanted it to be. He asked about my relationship with my parents and tried to draw me on the religious conflict in my background and the fact that my family didn’t approve of my sexuality. While I was happy to tell him about losing my virginity, I was more guarded when talking about my family. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. He told me he’d show an edited recording of our Skype chat to the whole team, but he was fairly confident that I could expect to hear from him soon and that he was sure they’d find a date for me.

After our call, I was a little in love with the producer. It had felt a like a date and I’d revealed all kinds of things about myself to him and I’d made him laugh and I remember dancing around my living room in excitement after the call. It wasn’t often that a nice man took such an interest in me and my life.

He called again later that week and took me through a questionnaire, to try and find the perfect match for me, asking if I was a top or a bottom in bed, and asking about an endless list of characteristics and whether I would find them acceptable in a date or not. I was fine with someone taller than me, someone shorter than me, someone older than me, someone younger than me. I was fine with someone bald. I had no problem with someone who was blind or deaf or someone who was a wheelchair user. I said yes to someone who had a stammer and to someone with a facial injury or disfigurement. I said yes to someone with children, to someone who was bisexual, to someone who was polyamorous and to someone who was trans. I said yes to someone with a terminal illness. I said yes to someone fat. There were only two things I remember saying no to. I said no to a smoker. I wanted to want to kiss the person and I didn’t want to kiss a smoker. I also said no to an asexual. Possibly out of ignorance, but I really wanted someone to find me attractive and want me and my new body.

When I told friends about this questionnaire, they were shocked at how many types of people I’d said yes to. Why would you want the sadness or complications that would come with a terminal illness or a disability? I don’t think my friends understood that I didn’t see a relationship possibility for myself that wasn’t potentially complicated or sad. The relationship would involve me, after all, and I was someone who was used to being called names on the street. I was someone who had borrowed £10,000 to try and get a new body. I was someone who had never snuggled in front of the tv with another person. I was complicated and sad. I had baggage and I presumed anyone willing to date me would have baggage as well.

Months passed as the filming schedule kept getting postponed because of covid. Eventually, in August, I got another phonecall. I was to go for my pre-date interview on camera. Before this, I had loads more calls with producers, checking what I’d wear, checking availability for the date itself, setting everything up. They asked if my surgery would prevent me from eating a meal on the date. I told them I’d probably only manage about half a main course, and I might burp a bit, but a meal should be fine.

They arranged a call for me with a psychologist. The psychologist was a very businesslike woman. She asked me a few direct questions about my mental health, my family, my support network. It was clear that she wanted to make sure I wasn’t too unstable and that I wouldn’t harm myself if my appearance on tv got a negative reaction on twitter. She didn’t ask about this subtly. She just asked “do you think you’d harm yourself if people said mean things about you on twitter?” I guess there isn’t a better way of asking that question than just asking it.

The day of the interview came and I was terrified. Of the fourteen stone I’d lost post-surgery, I’d gained about a stone and a half back during lockdown and I was very embarrassed by this. Weightloss surgery is meant to be a final solution and it felt humiliating that I hadn’t even ever got to my goal weight before I started gaining weight again. I was still much, much thinner than I had been. For the four days before the interview, I stopped eating, consuming nothing but 3 pints of milk a day, the same “diet” I’d done before my brother’s wedding, but I still wasn’t pleased with how flabby I was looking.

The interview was in a London studio, and for the second time, I found myself in love with a producer. This was a bubbly young woman, who had watched my Skype interview and had taken detailed notes about me. She kept saying she wished she could hug me, but covid regulations wouldn’t allow it. This was a weird time in terms of the virus. That summer had been all about outdoor socialising and any indoor contact was discouraged, but the UK hadn’t yet discovered masks, so the producer, the cameraman and I all made a big show of washing our hands, all stayed two metres apart and my chair was sanitised before I sat down, but there were no tests and no masks.

The interview was a joy from start to finish. I made the producer laugh and I even made the cameraman laugh. I told stories of my life when I was twenty eight stone and I cried a little on camera. I was indiscreet and shared far too much about my sex life.

Some bits were weird. She kept referring to me as a ‘dancer’ and that made no sense to me. Yes, for a few months before the first lockdown, I’d been going to beginner’s swing dance lessons regularly, but the pandemic had changed everything, and the idea that I was a ‘dancer’ just didn’t resonate with me. She tried to get me to twirl and do a few steps on camera and it was like someone was trying to get me to do my childhood party piece. I did a halfhearted spin in the end and tried to tell her that the hobbies I’d had in March meant nothing after five months of lockdown.

But that aside, I felt really good about the interview. The fact that I’d made the straight cameraman laugh felt like a special victory to me and everyone involved with the show kept on telling me how carefully they pick the matches and what a warm show it is and I really started to hope that the date would really fix everything.

For the next six or seven weeks, plans changed quite a few times. They found a date. He pulled out. They found another. They changed the weekend I was supposed to go. In the end, I only got a day’s notice of my date. I didn’t have time to starve myself. I’d just have to accept that my current state of flabbiness was the me that would be on TV.

I was brought from London to Manchester in a taxi by myself for filming. Pre-pandemic, they would have paid for a train ticket, but we were living in a new world. I slept badly in the hotel, nervous about being on TV and about being on a date, and about being on a date on TV.

The next morning, I was woken early to meet a nurse. It was my first ever time having a covid test and I’d heard horror stories about how they would stick a cotton bud so far up your nose that it would hurt your brain. It was fine. I realised that all the other First Dates contestants staying in the hotel were women. They didn’t want us to meet our dates by accident before the actual date, so there was a girls’ hotel and a boys’ hotel. I guess it was actually a ”girls’ and bottoms’ hotel” and a “boys’ and tops’ hotel”.

We had to go back to our rooms for a few hours to wait for the results of our covid tests. I had brought two shirts and three ties for my date and I spent hours ironing the shirts and texting photos of the different combinations to my friends before finally settling on an outfit.

I was escorted by a runner to a waiting room in another building where some runners and producers gave me chocolate and cider and I chatted nervously to some of the girl dates about what was to come. We were only given one instruction by the producers. We weren’t to mention the pandemic during our dates. This seemed ridiculous. Meeting someone in September 2020 and not talking about covid was positively perverse, but the producers said that “You might be on a Christmas special”. At the time, I guess we all thought that covid couldn’t possibly interfere with Christmas.

They took me outside to film me walking towards the restaurant and I tried my best to walk normally, but knowing I was being filmed made me nervous about the act of walking itself. After a lot more hanging around with another producer, I was escorted into a space at the back of the restaurant to get miked up. Two burly bearded men hid a microphone in my back pocket and sneaked a wire through my shirt. And then it was time to actually walk into the restaurant. I met Fred, the maitre d’. If First Dates has created a celebrity, it’s him. I stumbled over my hello with him. I was told there was a problem with the microphones and they were going to re-film my entrance and introduction to Fred. I was fairly certain that there had been nothing wrong with the microphones and they were just giving me a second chance at making a more coherent introduction. I didn’t mind. I needed the second chance.

Fred led me to the bar and I realised I was the first to arrive for the date. Did this make me the main character of my date? I ordered a blackcurrant cider from the barman, Merlin, who is also a staple of the show, but hasn’t achieved quite the celebrity that Fred has. He asked me why I was on the show and within seconds, I found myself telling him my whole “gay, fat, lonely, move to London, get lots of action, not fat any more, no more chubby chasers” narrative. Being on TV felt like taking a truth serum and I felt I had to get my whole story out as fast as I could.

I was settling down and getting less nervous now. A man came through the door and greeted Fred. I could see immediately that he was my date. I had turned up in one of my hundred colourful ties. This man was wearing a gorgeous little green dicky bow, with a matching blazer, shiny shoes and a cute little waistcoat. He even had a decorative flower on his lapel. This was a “real gay".

It made me emotional that I was going to have a date with a “real gay”. As a young gay in my early twenties, I’d gone to gay pubs and gay clubs alone. I’d sat at the bar, and I’d stood in the smoking room and I’d danced in the middle of the dancefloor and I’d stood at the side of the dancefloor. I’d pretended I was waiting for a friend. I’d pretended to text people to see where they were. I pretended my friends were on the dancefloor while I was in the smoking area and that they were in the smoking area while I was on the dancefloor, but the truth is I never really had gay friends in my twenties. I would try and drunkenly strike up conversations with the pretty gays in glitter and mesh tops and they would make it clear they weren’t interested. I certainly didn’t want to talk to the older men who were also there alone. But I felt like an interloper. I could only buy enormous baggy jeans and enormous plain t-shirts and I could never be as glittery and pretty as those boys in the gay clubs who ignored me. They were too good for me.

When I was 35 and was surrounded by those chubby chasers in London, I still didn’t get to be a “real gay”. It was difficult enough that they were attracted to the things I disliked most about me — they were turned on by my flab, by my folds, by my stretch marks. They told me they loved that I panted a lot. They loved that I was sweaty. One man told me he found my snoring sexy. They loved that my shirt buttons didn’t quite close properly. They loved that I found it difficult to tie my shoelaces and jumped to help me. Some of them wanted to watch me eat.

This wasn’t the gay world TV promised me. Most of these chubby chasers were obsessed with machismo. They didn’t want me to cry out in bed when I was excited. They wanted me to growl like a bear instead. My dating profile online had pictures of me with my hair dyed pink and chubby chasers would openly tell me that they hated it. There was also a video of me dancing to a Taylor Swift song and they would tell me that they found the video sexy but they had to turn the sound off. Most of these chubby chasers hated the gayest things about me. At one stage, I was trying to learn to walk in high heels and a man I was sleeping with found the high heels in my bedroom and mocked me for it. They wanted a proper fat man, a lumberjack or a leather biker. They didn’t want the sparkly princess that I desperately wanted to be. They wanted to watch rugby and Marvel movies and weren’t interested in talking about drag queens and S Club 7.

And so I’d never believed I could be with a gay man like the one walking towards me in the restaurant. I’d always felt too fat and ugly for the “real gays” and even the men who had made me feel sexy had still made me feel undeserving of the “real gays” and finally, here was a man in colourful clothes walking towards me, smiling, apparently willing to go on a date with me. My heart sang.

The conversation started awkwardly. I was in awe as he ordered a complicated cocktail. I felt embarrassed of my drink, essentially an alcoholic ribena, while this was a man who knew the right things to drink. He was also able to explain what the starters on the menu that I was unfamiliar with were. He told me about his travels and his dinner parties and again I couldn’t believe my luck. Gays on telly always knew about the right clothes and the right drinks and the right food and I’d never got to be friends with any gays like that and yet, here I was, on a date with one, as if I deserved to be.

We were able to talk a lot about our travels. Pre-pandemic, he’d gone abroad on holidays once a month, which I found alluring. I’d worked in ten different countries, so I’d travelled a lot as well, but I rarely went anywhere on holidays, partly because I had always been single and didn’t always have someone to travel with. I became more and more infatuated with him and his fabulous gay life and his fabulous gay clothes.

It wasn’t just that. He had a very silly side too. He made YouTube videos reviewing kitchen appliances. This overjoyed me. At one stage in my thirties, I had spent every Sunday making YouTube videos about the current whereabouts and activities of each member of One Direction and every Thursday making a YouTube video of myself trying to learn a different aspect of being a drag queen. Every time one of the waitresses came over to bring us food or ask us how it was going, I would excitedly tell them about my date’s YouTube career.

Every so often, I would look at him trying to figure out what the ‘catch’ was. Why had they put him with me? What was wrong with him? I didn’t get it.

As well as being charming, cosmopolitan and silly in just the right way, he was also clearly uncomfortable and just as nervous as me. He was sweating a lot under the bright lights in his three piece suit. He told me a number of times that it was his first ever date. He was three years older than me. He said that it was because he had spent much of his life looking after his mother, who had serious mental health issues.

He had also over-prepared for the date, and wheeled out some rehearsed first date questions that I really didn’t want to answer. I remember two. He asked me about my favourite and least favourite biscuits. I said garibaldis were my least favourite, but then he didn’t know what they were and thought I was describing fruit shortcakes, which I found irrationally annoying. He also asked me if I could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be. I panicked and said Sandi Toksvig, which isn’t a bad answer, but I’m not sure it’s a true one. I tried to move the conversation on from these questions and back to YouTube.

At one stage, a producer came over to me and told me I needed to pop out to the back for a “mic check”. I followed him and he said they were testing the levels and I just needed to stand there for a minute. Then my main producer for the day appeared. She told me she’d been watching the date and asked if I liked him. I said I did. She said, “You have more in common with him than you think. You should ask him about his experiences of being fetishised in London’s gay community.” I agreed to do this and she wished me luck and left again and the man who’d pulled me out told me I could go back in. I’m one hundred percent sure that my mic was fine and I’d been pulled out solely in order to get me talking about our mutual experiences of being fetishised.

I sat back down and guided the conversation back to my weight and weightloss and told him a bit about chubby chasers. He told me that he knew what that was like and that there were lots of gay men in London who saw him as a black man and not as a person and just wanted to sleep with him because he was black. I was quite proud of myself for working fetishisation naturally into the conversation.

At this stage, we were getting very comfortable with each other and the conversation was flowing. Fred had brought us tequilas and I was feeling the perfect level of merry. I could feel my date warming to me the longer we spent together. He was resting his hand on the table. I was cursing the fact that the table was slightly too wide for me to reach across and let my hand fall on his without having to stretch across. We started talking about ordering another drink and I was fairly sure that another drink would lead to more flirtation and even to some hand holding. But someone came over and told us that we needed to finish up because the next shift of daters were going to arrive soon. Our bill came. I got my card out, but my date flatly refused to let me pay. He paid for both of us, telling me that he wanted to thank me for being his first ever date. I excitedly told him that I would pay for dinner on our second date.

We were filmed walking out of the restaurant. Apparently we did this wrong because they filmed us leaving a second time.

We were surrounded by sound men and producers and walked over to a studio about 20 minutes away, through the old Coronation Street sets. We had to film the post-date interviews. We were told not to discuss the date with each other as they wanted our authentic reactions on camera. My date handed his phone to me and told me to put in my number.

He did his post-date interview first. While he was doing his interview, I went in to another room to take publicity photos. I was feeling on top of the world. I don’t usually like photos so much, especially not full length ones, but I felt really beautiful by the end of that date and I posed joyfully for the photographer.

Afterwards, I sat with a runner while we waited for the producer to finish interviewing my date. I chatted excitedly with him, telling him all about the date and I asked him if I could ask him something. I said that he’d paid for both of our meals and that must mean something, mustn’t it? The young runner looked at me with a puzzled look. “I’ve never thought about how that would work with two men.”

A sensation struck me for about the tenth time that day. All these straight people working to help me have a gay date. I didn’t come out to my family until I was thirty. I really felt being gay was a shameful state of being. The first two people I told I was gay were both priests in confession. When I told my university friends I was gay, their reaction was almost always the same “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.” Obviously, I’d seen the world changing. It was 2020 and I lived in London and I knew a man could kiss another man on the street and probably not be beaten up, but I didn’t fully believe that straight people were OK with me being romantic with another man. And yet here I was and those manly middle-aged bearded Northern sound men had run a mic wire up my shirt, touching my skin, in full knowledge that they were doing this to a gay man on his way to a date with another gay man and they all co-operated as if it was normal to encourage two men to be on a date together and not something shameful in any way. They didn’t see me as unclean. I wished I could be as OK with me being gay as all these straight people were.

I bounced into my post-date interview. I wanted to hold his hand. I wanted to be on a date forever. I wanted to be a TV star too, but mainly I wanted to get back to my date.

The producer asked me how it had gone, whether I liked him, whether I wanted to see him again. I answered honestly — I fancied him and I thought the date had gone well and that we had lots in common and that he had paid for my meal so he must want me too.

Then they brought my date back in and we were filmed together and she asked us if we’d like to meet again. He started and immediately I realised I was getting let down gently. He said he really liked me and he’d like to meet me as a friend, but not for another date. I was honest and said I’d have liked another date, but I held it together.

The producer asked him to leave and kept me for a few more questions. At this stage, I began to fall apart a little. My bubble burst. The producer was distracted at first. She and the cameraman had realised that I’d switched seats at some stage during the interviews and she was worried about continuity.

I started speaking my mind. I told her that I should have known what was going to happen, that he was too good-looking for me and they should have put me with someone more at my level, and she tried to convince me that we were of a similar level of attractiveness, but I couldn’t let myself believe her.

She tried to persuade me to say nice things. She really wanted me to say I wouldn’t give up on dating and I was happy to say that, but I was also honest that I felt as if I would die alone. My fortieth birthday was coming in a few months and I felt desperate. She told me she was in her forties and still single and it was OK. The cameraman stopped filming and told me I’d be OK, that it sometimes takes time, but that we all find someone. I pulled myself together and smilingly told the camera that I’d really enjoyed the date, that I’d loved that he’d worn a dicky bow and that gay people are a little bit like magic fairies and it’s lovely that we look so special.

Eventually, they took me back outside to my date to film us going home in separate taxis. The producer told me that most couples who aren’t a match usually go for a drink after their dates anyway to compare notes, but my date and I hugged goodbye, got in our separate taxis and went our separate ways.

I got back to the hotel and sat in my bedroom for a while. People were texting me, asking me how it went. I sent them some brave face messages, saying that it hadn’t been a match, but that I’d had a lovely time.

In reality, I was spiralling. I felt more convinced that I would be alone forever.

In January 2020, when I’d been at my thinnest I’d ever been as an adult, and lighter than I’d been since I was about ten years old, I’d gone speed dating in London. It was my second time going gay speed dating. The first time was in Dublin when I was about 26 stone and I wasn’t surprised when no one matched with me. But now I wasn’t fat. I went speed dating and spoke to almost 40 different men and had lots of fun. At the end of the evening, we had to fill in cards saying who we’d like to meet again, and whether we’d like to meet as ‘a mate’ or as ‘a date’. I was having a drink with three other speed daters when the organiser came round to distribute the cards. Each of the three men I was drinking with was handed a stack of cards, including one from me, saying I’d like to date them. I was handed one card, from an elderly man, saying he’d like to meet me as a mate. I looked at my drinking partners, completely mortified. They looked at me sheepishly and looked through their piles of cards. One of them bashfully said, “thank you for picking me”. I felt so unattractive standing there, so completely unchosen and unchoosable. I felt that again in the hotel after my First Dates date.

A few weeks before going on First Dates, I’d been out for a run near my house. A group of teenage boys on bikes had cycled after me, shouting at me that I was a ‘fat fuck’. I couldn’t win. I’d lost fourteen stone and was still too fat for the world I was in. My body was just unacceptable. And I remembered that shame as I sat in the hotel after my First Dates date.

The biggest dating app in 2020 was probably Hinge. My best gay friend in London and I had downloaded the app in the same week. That September, he was eight months into a relationship with a boy he’d met on Hinge. When I logged in to my Hinge and went to my ‘likes’ it said ‘you must be new here!” because I hadn’t had a single ‘like’ in my nine months on Hinge.

I sat in the hotel, feeling completely unlovable. Feeling fat. Feeling alone.

And as I did it, I knew I was being self-indulgent in my self-hatred. I knew this for a fact, because I had met someone. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t unloved. The same week as my pre-show interview, about six weeks before my First Dates date, I had met a man on Tinder and we’d seen each other two or three times a week since then.

And he was so kind. And he adored me. And he was so nice to me. He was very shy and I wasn’t really sure I had anything in common with him. I loved doing things with him that I’d never done before. He was the first man to go on a date to the cinema with me. That made me feel magic. And he was the first man I’d snuggled in front of the TV with. And he made me feel like a real gay when we sat outside a pub in Soho one night and he held my hand in public and I felt like I’d ascended to Heaven. But I was more excited by the idea of a relationship than I was by him. I was very fond of him, but I didn’t like him romantically. And he didn’t want all the things I did. He was very clear with me that he wanted affection, but not sex, and I loved having someone to kiss and cuddle, and he liked my face and my chest, but for him, I didn’t even exist below my nipples and I didn’t think I was willing to make that sacrifice.

But I didn’t want to give up on having someone to spend Saturday nights with. And someone to send little texts to at bedtime. And someone to cook for. And someone to plan holidays with.

My secret hope had been that my First Dates date would go so well that I’d have no choice but to break up with this man, my first boyfriend, who I’d met at the age of thirty-nine and a half.

But now I was sitting in a hotel in Manchester, feeling fat and unlovable and thinking maybe I didn’t deserve to be with someone who made me feel excited or made me feel sexy.

I went out. I’d only been to Manchester once before. I wanted to make a pilgrimage to Canal Street, Manchester’s gay village. When I’d been in my twenties, I bought the DVDs of Channel 4’s Queer As Folk, set in gay Manchester. I waited till my parents, my brother and my sister had gone to bed and I’d put the DVDs on on silent with subtitles on, fingers poised over the remote control, ready to change the channel in case someone woke up, and I watched gays living gay lives and having gay boyfriends and dreaming that one day I might do that too.

I walked to Canal Street and imagined I was Nathan from Queer As Folk, on his way to discover his sexuality. It was raining. I looked into the gay bars. They were mainly quiet. Because of Covid, bar service wasn’t allowed and you had to sit at a table. I wasn’t going to make any friends sitting alone at a table in a gay bar.

Before my weightloss surgery, I had read that alcoholism is relatively common in people who have had the surgery. I could understand that. If you have coped with feelings by bingeing on food in the past, but that’s no longer an option, alcohol seems like an obvious replacement.

I definitely missed bingeing after my surgery. Running and other exercise helped a little, but I really struggled with dealing with my emotions. Eventually, I discovered I could still binge. Kind of. I couldn’t eat anything like the volumes I used to. But I could still stuff myself. I just had to be ready for the exquisite pain. If I ate too much for my tiny post-surgery stomach, my chest would fill with trapped air and I would feel like I was having a heart attack. I hated it, but I started doing it more and more, craving the pain.

Then I made another discovery. If I drank immediately after eating, the food would come back up. I’d tried making myself bulimic when I’d been in my early twenties and never really got any good at it because I just found making myself throw up so uncomfortable. But my post-surgery body made it so easy. I just needed to eat something with bread and then drink any liquid and it would all come back up.

I had gone to my GP about my eating issues post-surgery when I started having panic attacks in supermarkets at having to choose what to eat about nine months after my operation when my meals began to get a little bigger as my stomach capacity slowly grew. I hadn’t discovered the vomiting trick yet. They referred me to the local eating disorders unit in August 2019. Things only got worse from there. By the time I was assessed by a psychologist there in March 2021, I was diagnosed with bulimia, but was still on a waiting list for NHS treatment.

I left Canal Street and went to a Tesco Express. I bought a Cadbury’s Starbar and a Twirl, a cheese and onion mayo sandwich and a pint of milk. Then I went to a chipper’s and bought chips with curry sauce.

I went to a car park round the corner and ate the chocolate, and then managed most of the sandwiches, though the crusts were still a bit much for my new stomach. I got about a third of the chips down, through overbearing chest pains. I drank the milk and the chips and bread started coming back up immediately.

I walked back to the hotel, stopping twice on the way to vomit.

As I went in, I saw two of the girls who’d been on First Dates as well, drinking with their dates. They invited me to join them, but I felt far too sick and just wanted to continue indulging in my sadness and solitude. I went to bed and after an hour or so, the sickness had passed and I managed to pass out.


I got a taxi alone back to London the following day.

It took me another month to break up with my first ever boyfriend.

I have met up with my First Dates date as a friend a few times since then, and I no longer want to hold his hand.

Three years and four months after being referred to an Eating Disorder Service, I finally started treatment in December 2022.

I’m still very single.

I very much enjoyed my week of TV stardom when the episode was finally shown: First Dates Season 18 Episode 7

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