Tonight in the restaurant we discovered that not all rugby lads are twats. Female viewers were either swooning over Toby, or all-girl couple Nancie and Noura.

Toby and Bree

22-year-old marketing manager Toby is a rugby player. He’s hoping to tackle his laddish perception. He says he isn’t one to sleep around, even if he might give off the persona that’s what he is like. He actually says he is quite sensitive, he isn’t the loud foolish type. Toby is looking for someone who can keep him grounded, someone who can take him to somewhere like an art gallery.

Toby’s date is American-born Bree. She’s twenty and looking for someone who’s tall, cheeky, and ideally a rugby player. Fortunately Toby ticks all those boxes – and he’s a fan of cheese too.

Things got awkward at the bar as Bree managed to ‘out man’ Toby. He’d ordered a gin and tonic while Bree went for a beer. The awkwardness was soon shrugged off though… for a bit. Until Bree got on to the subject of how much of a “twat” rugby lads are, and then things got awkward once more.  It didn’t get much better when Toby was asked about his past relationships too.

For Toby his only serious relationship was with a best friend who was with him for three years until she decided she didn’t like the direction they were going in. It left him heartbroken – but he’s now accepted they’re not going to end up together again so that brought him to First Dates.

Despite the difficult starts the pair hit it off. Toby was impressed by how multicultural Bree was, and the fact they could talk Spanish to each other. The pair were definitely up for seeing each other again.


Susie and Martin 

32-year-old teaching assistant Susie from Bournemouth doesn’t get much attention from men, and when she does she says she’s often too tired and would rather stay in and have a cup of tea over a night out.

Susie has a bit of a stutter when she’s nervous and stressed, something she experienced as soon as she arrived at the bar. Her date is Martin, 38, from Essex. He’s not your typical Essex lad, he’s a bit of a trekkie, who looked a lot like Ben Elton.

While Susie gets a stutter when nervous, Martin has a nervous disposition himself and struggles with what to say. This is a little unfortunate as there was pure silence to start the evening, if there was some attraction. Merlin, the bar tender, was soon able to break the ice though with some drinks and a few questions about superheroes.

The two soon got on to past relationships. Martin’s only had one serious relationship and she was quite demanding and it was quite serious – he was almost forced to propose on the tube. “I’m not going to do it on the district line” he proclaimed, presumably meaning the circle line was fair game.

After refusing she decided she was lesbian and no longer interested in Martin. Susie is one of the last single ones in her friendship group, she’s likened herself to Bridget Jones complete with the big knickers.

Susie wants to find a man who looks after a woman like her dad looked after her mum. For Susie, her dad had a big influence on her life when she was a child, until he sadly passed away when she was just a teen. She says he was her hero.

Things livened up at the dinner table when Susie started talking about her hobby – burlesque. She loves the confidence that it gives her, she has a stage name (Delia Deluxe – ‘Double Ds’) and even she has the nipple tassels. While it surprised Martin, he seemed to be supportive of the idea.

Any of that attraction might have died a bit though when Martin started talking about his sci-fi conventions. This was the moment it dawned on Susie that perhaps the two weren’t as well-suited as they’d liked. Fortunately Martin seemed to agree, and the two were up for meeting up again but purely as friends.


Bonnie and Perry

29-year-old hairdresser Bonnie is looking for a man for six days of a week. The Slough girl doesn’t want to see a man on a Thursday, that’s her fake tan day. She wants to be treated like a princess. She compares her search for a man to Pokemon Go – only the bad ones keep popping up.

Bonnie’s date tonight is semi-professional boxer Perry and he’s hoping he will be in with a fighting chance of becoming Bonnie’s Pikchau. Unlike Toby earlier, Perry is certainly a Essex lad, with a cheeky look in his eye the minute he walked in.

As the evening progressed we found out both Bonnie and Perry are parents to two little boys. Bonnie’s son is called London because he was conceived during the 2012 Olympics. Perry’s son is a bit of a ‘girly boy’ and likes a bit of dancing.

It’s not just the children that enjoy some singing and dancing, Bonnie and Perry shortly after launched into an impromptu version of Under The Sea from the Little Mermaid causing quite the scene in the restaurant.

Bonnie’s last relationship was particularly awful. Her past boyfriend changed her as a person by being violent after the break-up. When she went around to his house to collect her stuff, he beat her up and broke her elbow. Understandably it knocked her confidence, so all viewers were hoping it changes tonight.

Like many girls on First Dates Bonnie has a five year plan and she’s wanting to be married within this period. Her wedding has been planned since she was eleven – all Will has to do is turn up for it. It sounds like Bonnie has found her Pikachu – next stop karaoke.


Sara and Will

52-year-old Sara from Northamptonshire is a proper rural girl. She’s been known to partake in beating and living life off the land. So she’s hoping to meet someone a bit different tonight in the First Dates restaurant. Her date is Will, a 52-year-old fishing addict from Wiltshire, who’s struggling to master reeling in a catch.

Will misses being able to enjoy the countryside with someone else – whether that’s finding a particularly unusual mushroom or seeing a rare bird in the sky. Don’t knock Will just yet, he’d turned up with a unique vodka to surprise his date.

He shoots rather than beating, but it transpires they’re both a bit of a fan of beating. Cue the innuendo. The pair were hitting it off.

Will, who I kept wanting to compare to DJ Mike Read throughout the night for his looks and personality, has been single for eight months after a nine year marriage. For Mike, I mean Will, his last marriage was ideal in a small house with lots of dogs in the country. He would have loved to have children, but unfortunately his wife didn’t. That’s why he spends most of his time teaching fishing.

This prompted Sara to talk about her carefree attitude and her tattoo on her foot. Unaware where this was going, it transpires she actually got it when her husband Andrew was going through chemotherapy for cancer. It was apparent just how much Sara and her husband were in love – they met at 19 and married at 22. Sadly two years ago he was rushed into hospital and within weeks he had passed away. Sara was clearly still choked up by it all, but the pair had agreed from the start that if anything happened to them they must accept it and move on.

Will and Sara seemed to be into each other. They were up for going fishing, shooting, or stalking together followed by a meal. It seemed to be a real confidence boost for Sara – it was the first time Sara had been out for a meal since her husband passed away.


Nancie and Noura

22-year-old Nancie from the Midlands got the men talking when she walked through the First Date restaurant doors tonight. She’s a DJ “born in the wrong era” – she’s an old school romantic and only seems to attract psychos.

Much to the disappointment of the male waiters, Nancie’s date is actually a woman. 27-year-old Noura sounded like the ideal match. While Nancie enjoys DJing abroad in places like Ibiza, Noura loves raving to house music in the same locations.

The pair had both suffered from a broken heart. In Noura’s first proper relationship was on Cloud 9 until she became suspicious that she was cheating on her. It was never properly confirmed, but as soon as they broke up she was in a relationship with someone else pretty soon after. Nancie sympathised – it was something she said she had experienced too.

As the drinks kept flowing, so did the flirting. These two had hit it off.  Nancie seemed particularly keen on Noura because she had the look of Mila Kunis – just with slightly less sophistication!

The pair oozed confidence and it was obvious they were both going to meet again. Unfortunately for Noura, Nancie doesn’t kiss on the first date, so it seems there’ll definitely have to be another meet.

First Dates Returns

First Dates is back next Tuesday evening from 10.00pm. In the meantime watch more First Dates on catch-up on All4, and read more reviews of this series of First Dates on my blog.


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Written by Jono Read
Jono Read is a 32-year-old writer from Norfolk. He is a social media manager and a journalist. He blogs about politics, popular culture, and marketing.