The dating game

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am

Dating is a strange game. Within the first five minutes, you can usually tell whether the evening is going to be a success.

I once went on a blind date arranged by colleagues who thought they had found the perfect man for me. 'Oh, he's tall, dark, handsome, rich and charming?' I asked, agreeing to go on the basis that he was apparently a great laugh.

'Well, he's certainly tall,' said one colleague. 'He's one of those bear-like men with hands like shovels.' I should have heard the warning bells in their collective silence. I decided to arrive early and not wear the identifying outfit I had told him on the phone so I could make a quick escape if a man in a bear costume turned up.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance. I had been seated for two minutes in a dark corner when this hulking man came out of the toilet and walked straight up to me.

'You must be Deborah,' he said. 'I recognised you straight away.' 'Yes,' I said, wondering what description he had been given. 'I recognised you, too.' He then explained he had been in the toilet peeing because he was so nervous and he always pees when he's nervous.

And so I found out; in the two long hours that our date lasted he went to the toilet six times.

The next day, fortuitously, I was going on holiday to Peru for a month and didn't have to go through the embarrassment of making excuses not to see him again.

I did, of course, call my colleagues to give them a post mortem of the evening and to ask quite why they had thought he was the man for me. I never got a straight answer.

Mystery Date (Pearl, 9.30pm) takes the disasters of dating to extremes.

Ethan Hawke (the student who stood on a desk to yell 'oh captain, my captain' in Dead Poets Society and who recently trekked over the Andes to save his stranded rugby mates in Alive ) plays a young man, Tom, with a crush on a pretty neighbour, Geena (Lori Polo).

Spying on her through his telescope, Tom fantasises about a lusty liaison on a tropical beach. Tom is too shy to call Geena but when his idolised older brother, Craig (Brian McNamara), turns up he arranges a date and gallantly lets his inexperienced sibling borrow his name, identity and credit card to wine and dine the woman. What Tom doesn't realise is there's something in the boot of the car he's driving that will have the FBI, police and Chinese gangsters chasing the couple all over town.

There's more spin in this movie than the average teen outing, with some intensely funny and unusually sick moments.

Hawke provides his usual convincing performance and B D Wong is a hoot as a criminal rival in McNamara's high-stakes scheme.

The moral of the story is never let anyone arrange a date for you.

I am not a fan of Movie Watch (Pearl, 8pm).

We have all seen the week's forthcoming films often enough and in numerous trailers without the show's hosts, Gloria Wu Fontaine and Fiona Carver, running through them again.

What's more, they're hardly going to give objective reviews.

Why don't they spend more time on new releases, in which viewers are actually interested? Incidentally, I received a call this week about Movie Watch but it had nothing to do with the movies.

The caller asked whether I had noticed that Wu Fontaine never wears a dress.

I never wear trousers, I had to reply.

Maybe it's irrelevant what she wears, but, then again, someone once wrote an entire column about her colleague's hairstyle.