I have been watching a lot of telly lately (who hasn’t?) and while I deeply love reality TV (Made In Chelsea is my favourite, TOWIE is still great), it has occurred to me that TV producers seem to live in a bizarre parallel universe that I don’t live in. Ergo, here is my conclusive list of things that reality TV producers think exist but nobody else does:
1 Cute Nerds
These slightly awkward, shy boys with two day stubble and glasses and maybe a Star Wars t shirt, being overly polite and talking about how much they care about their mums, then suddenly making some kind of Never Been Kissed type transformation into a beautiful man in a tuxedo. This doesn’t happen. Real life nerds either stay in their small select friendship groups and marry their version of Hermione Granger or they spend their entire lives in their bedrooms playing weird online space games and sending creepy messages to girls on Tinder.
2 Chance Encounters
I.e. bumping into your ex walking along the river, possibly on a date with your best friend: unless you live in a tiny village in the outer Hebrides, this never happens. I live in London. I don’t see anyone unless I’ve prearranged it. If I do bump into someone, it’s probably someone I went to primary school with and hardly know, and we will politely ignore each other to avoid the obligatory awkward conversation that neither of us want to have, followed by the promise of a catch up that will thankfully never occur. If I did see my ex boyfriend walking towards me down my road, I’d just turn around and walk swiftly in the opposite direction to avoid him. Which leads onto…
3 Troublesome ex boyfriends
The kind that keep popping up (sometimes literally, in the street in front of you), going to the same parties as you, sleeping with your mates and causing drama. No. Either you break up and never speak again or you keep sleeping with each other for so long that it’s not really even awkward anymore. And all your friends hate him anyway because he never texts back and he used your flatmate’s Crème de la Mer face cream as soap.
With people you hardly know. To things like crazy golf or to an ice skating rink. Why have reality TV producers based life on a 50s film? All dates I have ever been on involve going to the pub and drinking five glasses of wine, listing all the pets I’ve ever had, snogging them right after saying ‘I don’t normally kiss on a first date,’ then realising I’ve missed the last tube home, falling asleep on a night bus and ending up in Shepherd’s Bush.
5 Bad Weather
Everybody pops into cafés and bars looking like they’ve just stepped out of the hairdresser’s, not like they’ve just fallen out of a hedge or with their hair plastered to their head in the manner of a 90’s boyband member. Girls wear vest tops and cashmere cardigans and delicate ballet slippers with reckless abandon, when in reality we are all bundled up in out of fashion Ugg boots and coats that resemble sleeping bags, mascara halfway down our faces and only one glove on because the other has mysteriously vanished. And why don’t they ever wear tights? Everybody in England always wears tights all the time.
6 Dating in your friendship group
‘I was dating Steve, but now I’m dating Freddie, you know, who used to date Anna? I know I’ve known him since school but like, who else would I date?’ Err, how about literally anyone else?
If you get to 25 and there’s a boy in your friendship group you haven’t dated, it’s either because the idea repulses you, or because he was dating your best friend for two years and THERE ARE RULES. You certainly don’t all merrily swap partners every ten minutes like a boring dating version of a swinger’s party, excluding anybody you didn’t go to school with as if in an exclusive neo Nazi cult. If anything, the second everyone went to uni they realised ‘oh, thank god, there are OTHER MEN in the world,’ and never spoke to a boy from school ever again.
7 ‘Leaving town’
If I broke up with my boyfriend and then told my friends that I needed to ‘get away for a while’ and headed off to the airport in a cab, staring wistfully out of the window as I went, they’d think I had gone completely insane. Let alone if I then came home two weeks later and it turned out I had actually just gone on holiday with my Mum.
‘What are we doing this weekend?’
Which answer sounds most like your life?
‘Oh, Jenny is having a dinner party in an old country mansion, in aid of parrots, it’s like, such a good cause? And we all have to dress up like it’s the 1920s. All your ex boyfriends will be there, and that girl nobody likes will be there too with a friend that no one has ever mentioned before. Nobody will seem to be drinking or dancing or actually having a good time. It’s going to be amazing!’
‘Well, I’m probably just going to be in the pub, with our friends – the ones we mostly actually like – and getting drunk.’