The Solo Project #11: The ‘First Dates’ casting

First Dates Casting Leeds
Padlocks Liverpool Albert Dock

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lizi who was eternally single...

I’ll skip the sob story, but it’s been far too long since I went on a date and when I spotted that the TV series ‘First Dates’ was doing a casting in Leeds, I actually went. I didn’t just say ‘oh yeah, I should do that’, I actually turned up. Well, when you’ve got the majority of your Facebook feed and Twitter following telling you to go, you kind of have to go for the LOLs don’t you?*

*FYI I only give into the good type of peer pressure, if you told me to jump off a bridge, I’d tell you to do one.

So on an absolutely boiling Wednesday evening, off I went to Manahatta in Leeds, by myself, well aware that whilst I know the premise of the show, I’ve never actually seen it so if some guy I’ve been told called Fred is there, there is no guarantee I’ll recognise him. I made my way to the incredibly busy bar, wondering what the hell was going on as I’d assumed there would be some form of registration process, only to be told by the bar staff to just wait around until approached. Excellent. I settled myself near a table with just my glass of Sauvignon Blanc for company and hoped to God that a clipboard wielding agent would take one look at me and think ‘yes, she would be a great fit for the show’, and be taken upstairs to the next round.

No. Such. Luck.

In a bar which was full of a lot of beautiful women, I thought I was failing entirely to make the cut but some avid watching of the casting agents made me realise that it was women over the age of 40 and men of any age who they were after. It appeared they had more than enough 25 year old women already and they had diversity standards to meet as there were very few younger women being taken upstairs, despite the bar being absolutely packed full of them. With that realisation, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself ‘well, at least they haven’t rejected me on sight’. Well, I’m assuming/hoping that was the case anyway.

After some waiting around, a guy nearby me was approached and I eagerly eavesdropped to find out the type of questions he was being asked. (Something about defining life events and hinting towards a sob story). Once Mr Clipboard moved on, myself and another guy were straight in there to quiz him about what was going on, since there had been no communication from the casting team about how the night was running, and the three of us got chatting. The guy who was approached (let’s call him Ben) said that he’d also been doing some people watching and had seen the casting team approaching men and older women to take them upstairs but he just assumed that they were perhaps looking for straight men, and as he was gay that he didn’t quite fit the bill. Guy number two, who also came over (let’s call him Matt), said that as a straight guy, he was feeling somewhat rejected since so many other guys were being taken upstairs. So far, the night wasn’t going all that well for the three of us, but luckily, we got on pretty well.

After another half an hour of chit chat about how we were all destined to not be on TV, we realised that we were probably wasting our time and Ben disappeared off to meet his friend and get botox (no joke, that was his Wednesday night plan) and Matt and I went into town for a couple of drinks, before Matt went on an actual first date later that evening. The irony of leaving a dating show casting and going for drinks with someone wasn’t lost on me and despite the fact that he was going on a date that night, I still ended up with his number as we’d gotten on fairly well. Unfortunately for me, not only was I rejected by the First Dates casting team but I also never heard back from Matt so I’m assuming his first date went swimmingly – silver linings and all that (for him at least).

The moral of this story is that whilst the unknown, especially in a situation where you may end up being cast for a TV show, is daunting, it turns out other people go it alone as well which makes it far less scary. My mum always tells me that when it comes to dating, to always go as you may well meet the barman even if the date goes badly. Sadly, Matt is actually a barman so it looks like I’ve been knocked back from all angles, though as ever, every shit dating situation makes for a great story to tell.

Looks like I need to re-download Tinder and hand it over to my friends the next time we’re in the pub as surely they can’t do a worse job than me, right?

What do you think? Was the casting a mistake or are you hoping that my online application gets accepted? Let me know in the comments.


  1. This is a really interesting story! Thinking about it, going on the pull at a First Dates casting call isn't such a bad idea. I mean, everyone there is single and looking to meet someone, and most people would probably go alone so it's easy to chat to new people. It's a shame things didn't work out with Matt, but hopefully someone will come up soon.

    Alice | Alice In Wonderlust

  2. Dude, sounds like they wasted your time a bit with that casting, if they only wanted women of a certain age group they should have specified that. You got the chance to meet and bond with strangers though which is always lovely.

  3. I'm glad you went along for the experience regardless - although the organisation sounds piss poor and who can ever tell what they're looking for on TV? It reminds me of the day my sister auditioned for Pop Stars: The Rivals and we were pretty much just sitting around all day.

    Anyway, you got a funny post out of it and it will make an excellent "first date" story next time around!

    Lis / last year's girl x