The key to success on First Dates? Drive and determination apparently…

Forget chat up lines and candlelit dinners, modern dating is all about checklists - and it worries armchair singleton Ellie Walker-Arnott

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It would seem that meeting a friend of a friend at a party just doesn’t work these days. More and more people are turning to technology to find love – and going on telly.

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Channel 4 has been playing cupid in recent weeks. We’ve had Married at First Sight, the controversial show that saw two total – yet scientifically compatible – strangers meet for the first time at the end of an aisle to say ‘I do’. Interactive dating experience Young, Free and Single: Live followed. And last night First Dates, the show that lets us watch as hopeful daters go on blind dates, was back for a fourth series.

I for one am more than happy about this deluge of dating shows. I love the idea that scientific, psychological research can make us better at choosing – and keeping – our other halves.

These shows are interesting, often insightful and always highly entertaining. It’s reality TV at its very, very best. And as a happily settled 20-something, I enjoy living vicariously through these ever-hopeful singletons. Just a tiny bit, promise.

But I have noticed a common theme: checklists.

Anna in last night’s First Dates was a prime example. She had an extensive wish list when it came to her potential partner, including a detailed description of how well his jeans should ideally fit.

And the demand that seems to be on everyone’s checklist? That their potential squeeze MUST be driven, ambitious, determined and hugely successful. 

It’s enough to make me want to take a nap.

Sure, there is something attractive about someone who knows what they want and fully intends to achieve it, but should drive be of paramount importance when it comes to finding true love?

In our results-obsessed world, we think Mr or Ms Highly Ambitious will make us happy, but on a day-to-day basis, does it? Are these traits even desirable when it comes to the nitty-gritty of romance and relationships?

When did simply being nice or kind become so underrated? 

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First Dates continues on Thursdays at 10:00pm on Channel 4


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