And so we carry on with the third of our video dates – the Guardian still hasn’t worked out how to deinterlace the footage so it feels like we’re watching it on soviet-era CCTV, but never mind.
Today’s inexplicably willing victims are 37-year-old Oliver from Hong Kong and Irina, who gives her age, only for it to be bleeped out. All she’ll say is that she’s at an age where she “should be married with children”. Anyone who has watched everyone take Madonna apart for the last 20 years will understand why Irina is reluctant to fess up to her real age. Whatever her age, she looks great and has excellent teeth so I’m already a fan.
Before we even see a millisecond of the date, alarm bells deafen when Oliver confirms all Irina’s insecurities and admits in his VT that he will have to settle for someone his own age, even though he’d rather be with someone in their mid-20s. If this date doesn’t end with Irina walking out of it with Oliver’s head in her handbag, I’ll be disappointed. “I’m just being honest,” he says, like every terrible Big Brother contestant ever.
“I’m hoping for a spark and some chemistry,” beams Irina, just before it cuts to Oliver asking her that most wonderful of icebreakers beloved of all mixed race people, I’m sure: “So what nationality are you?”
Irina is half-Russian and half-Ghanian, and just after Oliver has told the most cringeworthy right-on story about a Vietnamese child, Irina thanks the waitress in Russian, which prompts Oliver to do his ‘best’ impression of Joey from Friends speaking French.
On VT, Oliver launches into an impassioned speech about how great the “foreign” waitress was. Oliver does seem rather taken with her, acting out what I imagine he thinks his flirting by saying the word “magnifique” to her a few times.
Perhaps as revenge, Irina talks about cleaning up some cat poo. There’s some cliched old bollocks about single girls and cats that she is surely better than, before Irina admits she can tell the difference between types of animal poo and quite a good joke about Shazam from Oliver.
As they leave the date, with Oliver walking ahead like he’s leading a group of Spanish schoolchildren around Oxford in August, Irina asks him what aftershave he’s got on, which is a question I love being asked, because I don’t wear any old shite.
Oliver’s wearing Gucci No. 6 (whatever that is – the Gucci site doesn’t mention it and Google wasn’t helping) and then ruins everything by saying in summer he wears Issey Miyake, the signature scent of any awful meathead barging you out of the way of the bar back in 1996.
Scoring, Oliver has a real issue. After much deliberating, he scores Irina an 8, before immediately changing it to a 7.5, before clarifying, “Sexually, she’s an 8”.
I don’t really get this kind of thing. Obviously, it makes for good ‘content’, but I don’t get why you would want to act like such a tool on camera. Showing off? Nervous? Dunno. Weird. On the date, he was much the same. I have yawned, I have made excuses and I have drunk too much, but I have never intentionally acted like a massive tit on a date.
Irina scores him an 8 too, and sticks to it, and there is a brilliant part at the end where the two say their goodbyes and Irina chirps “All the best” repeatedly, to make it clear there’ll be no snogging.
“I had a really nice time,” says Oliver.
“Oh, good,” burns Irina.