Saturday 3 December 2016

Anna Nolan recalls her first ever date: 'We talked about family and friends, about jobs and being a nun'

Anna Nolan

Published 10/05/2016 | 10:27

Anna Nolan pictured at The Peter Mark Vip Style Awards 2014 at The Marker Hotel Dublin Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use
Anna Nolan
Anna Nolan presents The Great Irish Bake Off

Do you remember your first date? Your real first date, where you were sick with the nerves and changed your outfit 20 times?

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I was reminded of mine while watching Barry on the RTE2 series First Dates last week. Barry was 22 and he was out on his very first date with Jason. They were incredibly cute.

My first date was way back in 1992 and I was 22 too. I had been asked out by a woman in a bar. She had casually walked up to me and told me I looked nice. I said she looked nice too.

She then told me that she was sick of being single and was thinking of putting an ad in the singles page of a magazine. I told her best of luck with that. I was new to the whole chat up thing and didn’t realise she was flirting with me.

Anna Nolan
Anna Nolan

I turned back to my friends and she walked away. They were telling me that I had just been chatted up. It was completely alien to me and I simply didn’t get it. I had no idea of what this dating game involved and I had to learn quick.

She came back over at the end of the night and asked me out on a date – my first date. My sister Jane helped me get ready.

I was due to meet my date in The Bailey, off Grafton Street, so Jane said I needed to go quite casual. I wore jeans, a bright pink shirt and a black velvet jacket. 

I made my way to the pub that evening and I was dying. Dying because I didn’t know what to do, what to say, how to sit, how to react.

I had got the bus into town from Rialto and prepared bits of casual conversation, “Yeah, you know, I was a nun for two years, but I’m over that now...I love Cat Stevens, he’s so, you know, cool”.

Read more: Anna Nolan: 'Why I stood up to vile homophobic abuse on a Dublin street'

I had gone out with a couple of boys before, but never really on a proper date. Never with the feeling that I wanted to run away and run into the pub all at the same time.

I arrived at the Bailey, and she was there by the window. She looked gorgeous. Fit, tanned, pretty. I sat down and ordered a big dirty pint of lager – classy or what? We talked about family and friends, about jobs and being a nun (always a cracker of a talking point). 

Anna Nolan pictured at The Peter Mark Vip Style Awards 2014 at The Marker Hotel Dublin Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use
Anna Nolan pictured at The Peter Mark Vip Style Awards 2014 at The Marker Hotel Dublin Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use

We clicked and liked each other immediately. For the first time in my life, there were butterflies in my stomach. 

She walked me home that evening, and I remember it was still bright. The weather was warm. Perfect conditions to fall in love. She tried to give me a goodnight kiss and I said no, I’d like to take my time (I was good back then!)

We parted. We went on to be partners and I fell in love for the first time and eventually got my heart broken for the first time. But of course it was worth it.

The TV show First Dates is looking for people to take part in the second series. I was there when they filmed the show, and I could see all those emotions in the daters that I went through 20-odd years ago. 

There is something quite old fashioned about the first date experience on TV. Yes, I know there are cameras filming your every wink and pout, but everyone is taking a chance and sharing a meal with a potential partner.

If you are interested in appearing on the show you should go to www.cocotelevision.ie to apply. At the very least you will have a great evening. At the very most...who knows?

Herald

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