As reality TV makes its steady progression away from actual reality and into hard-to-believe, possibly scripted territory, it seems there will always be a wealth of people ready and willing to appear on such shows.
TV producers also have quite the knack at finding participants perfectly designed to make us all shout ‘where did they find these people?!’ at our screens.
First Dates, a show that manages to be at times heartwarming, while so cringingly awkward at others you need to scream into the cushions of your sofa, has a habit of throwing up some pretty memorable characters in their search to unite people with their soul mate.
This week’s episode has caused a stir among viewers thanks to the comments of 27-year-old First Date-r Ruth:
For those who haven’t seen the programme, two people are set up on a blind date, having been matched by the show’s experts. Sometimes they get it right, other times not so much.
As well as watching the date unfold as the couple take to the restaurant for food and drink, we are treated to some helpful character profiles as the participants talk to the camera individually, revealing more about themselves and enlightening viewers with what makes them tick.
Ruth told the cameras:
I relate more to black culture than I do to my own culture.
I think I’ve got born-in-the-wrong-race syndrome, where I am white but I feel more black inside, probably.
Ruth, a trainee accountant and carnival dancer from Scotland, also showed off the result of her Brazilian bum lift to bemused host Fred Sirieix, and said she was single because of her preferred taste in black guys and a ‘lack’ of them in her home town.
Inevitably, the Twitter floodgates opened.
#FirstDates she just said that she was born into the wrong race and that she’s more of a black girl. Does she know how problematic that statement is?
— Marns✨ (@MelaMarns) May 24, 2018
this girls scottish, has a fake american accent, thinks she’s black “on the inside” so got her arse done, is 27 but looks 56 ?? fuck sake #firstdates
— rhiannon? (@rhiannonxsian) May 24, 2018
Who’s going to tell this girl on #FirstDates that ‘born in the wrong race syndrome’ isn’t a real thing
— grand master of niggerology (@melkg_) May 24, 2018
While Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo said:
What in the Dolezal?? I love this show but some of the things that get through the edit blow my mind…
What in the Dolezal?? I love this show but some of the things that get through the edit sometimes blow my mind…#firstdates
— Djamfo Jane (@claraamfo) May 24, 2018
Amfo wasn’t alone in bringing up Rachel Dolezal, the former leader of the NAACP who falsely portrayed herself as African American, and allegedly lied about hate crimes committed against her.
— Paul W. (@limeandonion) May 24, 2018
Earlier in the programme, Ruth revealed that she’s had a bum lift, and explained how she idolises Kim Kardashian.
My dream girl is Kim Kardashian, I just love her, I think she is a goddess. Even though she is talentless, visually she is perfection to me.
I just love having a big bum. I feel more curvaceous and more confident and, yeah, I just love it.
If you’re unsure of the reference to Rachel Dolezal, there is a documentary on Netflix just waiting for you:
However, when Ruth’s date with Michael, 23, asked to see her surgically-enhanced derriere, she accused him of being ‘creepy’.
I want people to recognise that I have a good mind, that I have a lot more to me than just an ass, but that’s all they see now.
However, she must have done something right as, at the end of the show, Michael and Ruth were seen dancing together and went on to meet for a second date.
It takes all sorts.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.