We were feeling nostalgic. Longing for simpler, prereality TV times, when television dating games were not crude, voyeuristic freeforalls, but innocent affairs featuring giant daisies, ruffled shirts, and naughtily suggestive repartee. In short, we were longing for The Dating Game. So, with a little help from Fandango Events, we decided to create our own version of the popular 1970sera game show. We’d do it just like the show: Cheesy host, double entendre laden questions (written by the editors), and a partition separating the chooser from his or her potential dates. We’d play two rounds. First, the female chooser” would question three eligible bachelors. Then a male chooser” would question three eligible bachelorettes. The winning couples would get a $100 gift certificate to the Polo Grill. As for finding the contestants? That would be a snap—after all, we had a whole pool of Hot Singles to choose from. And with Bmag Copy Editor Alex Ball channeling his inner Chuck Woolery to play the host, we were all set.
Turns out, for the amateur Dating Game coordinator, the biggest challenge is keeping the contestants apart. You see, if the choosers were to see their potential dates, the whole raison d’être of the game would go down the tubes. So, while the folks on TV s The Dating Game probably kept their choosers sequestered in a lavish green room with a gourmet buffet spread, we had ours crouch in a tiny Fandango bathroom. Hey, it’s not MGM studios, but it’s the best we could do.
What follows is a (slightly edited for length and answer order) transcript of our games.
The Chooser: Paula Finkelstein, 27, a marketing/communications officer for a financial services company
Bachelor #1: Jason Bungori, 22, student, Villa Julie College
Bachelor #2: Chad Steele, 27, media relations manager, Baltimore Ravens
Bachelor #3: Brian McKew, 26, CEO, Camden Group and Home Networks
Paula: If I were an instrument, what would I be and how would you play me?
Jason: You’d be a flute and I would play you softly and gently.
Chad: You’d be a piano. And I’d play you a little hard and a little soft.
Brian: You’d be a fiddle. Because I like that country twang.
Paula: If we were marooned on a desert island, what’s the first thing you would do?
Jason: First, I’d make sure that you were okay. Had enough water and food. Then we would take off our clothes and lie naked on the beach. After all, no one else would be around!
Chad: In the afternoon, we would gather wood for a fire. I would build you a hut. Then we’d just enjoy the scenery and have fun together.
Brian: Scream for help? Ah, no, I’d find some coconuts and go spear fishing for our dinner. Then maybe after dark, we could take a midnight jog through the jungle.
Alex (our host): I, for one, would feel safe with all three of you.
Paula: If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
Jason: A sports model. Because I’m fast and I like to fly.
Chad: A Range Rover or a Lexus SUV. Because they’re pretty and you can take them anywhere.
Brian: A Cadillac with big bull horns.
Paula: Recite a poem that expresses your feelings for me.
Jason: Your voice is soft; it sounds so sexy; Pick me baby; so you can get next to me.
Chad: Sitting here on a rainy day; throw your choice my way; Number One has some rhyme; Number Three, I liked his answer a couple of times; But we’ll get together and have a great time.
Brian: How do I know thee? Let me count the ways. One, not at all. I’m sitting on this chair and I can fall; Two, how are you? I have no idea and the show is almost through; Three, you must pick me. The other bachelors are going to flee.
Paula: To win a date with me, what super power would you possess and how would you show it off?
Jason: I don’t think I’d need any super powers. You’d like me for who I am.
Chad: Teleportation. So I could find out what kind of flowers and wine you like and go around the world to get them for you.
Brian: The power of intuition. So I always knew what you wanted.
Paula: Pick a bachelor and tell me what you think his nickname was in high school.
Jason (on Brian): Boy genius. Not that he looks like a geek. He just seems well-educated.
Chad (on Jason): Sporty. He seems like a, “Hey guys, what are we doin’ tonight?” kind of guy.
Brian (on Chad): Champ. He seems like a great guy. Really motivated. I figure he won most of the games.
Alex (our host): And now for the moment of truth. What’s it going to be? Bachelor Number One, Bachelor Number Two, or Bachelor Number Three?
Paula (without hesitation): Bachelor Number One. I liked them all, but I liked his first answer, about the flute. And I think I heard him mumble that he was an English major at some point.
The chooser: J.P. Shilling, 30, Personal Trainer, Brick Bodies, and former Olympic speedskater
Bachelorette #1: Jamie Geller, 25, Advertising Account Planner
Bachelorette #2: Colleen Bergin, 30, Human Resources Software Consultant
Bachelorette #3: Whitney Hannon, 24, Marketing Manager, The Maryland Science Center
J.P.: If you were a dance, what kind of dance would you be?
Jamie: I’d be a salsa dance. It’s a sensual dance, filled with emotion. And you get to get close.
Colleen: A tap dance. I’m a dork at heart.
Whitney: An Irish ceili dance. Because you can drink while you do it!
J.P.: You see me at a bar. What pick up line do you use?
Jamie: I’m not the pickup line kind of girl. I’m pretty genuine. I’d probably just say, “Hey, how are you?”
Colleen: “Wanna dance? Uh, tap dance?”
Whitney: “Do you want a beer? I’m buying!”
J.P: Tell me why I should pick you in your best foreign accent.
Jamie: I zink zat you should pick me because I am veddy down to earth, varm, and affectionate. Vat country am I from? Ze country of your dreams!
Colleen: I’m not going to do an accent. But I love to travel and I’ll take you anywhere in the world you want to go.
Whitney (looking mortified): Oh God. I can’t remember how to do an Irish brogue.
J.P. (helpfully): Do you need a beer?
Whitney: Because I’ll have a bloody good time with you? (hiding her face in her hands)
J.P.: What’s the sexiest part of your body and why?
Jamie: My eyes. You can tell a lot about a person when you look into someone’s eyes. I’ve been told nice things when people look into mine.
Colleen: I’ve been told my neck. As for why, that’s not publicly shared!
Whitney (still trying to recover from the whole brogue debacle): My pretty blue eyes, I guess.
J.P.: If you had your own personal website, what would the address be?
J.P.: If you were a power tool, what would you be?
Jamie: I’m going to expand the definition of power tool and say an electric massager. Because everyone needs a great massage.
Colleen: An electric saw. Because I’m smart and quick and purposeful. (Cracks up.)
Whitney: We might be here for a while.
J.P. (again with the helpfulness): Do you know any power tools?
Whitney: I’m not that bad. Probably an electric drill. Because you can put things together with it? (Buries head in hands again.)
Alex (our host): Okay, we’ve come to the end of game. Have you made your decision, J.P.?
J.P.: It was hard, but yes.
Alex: Who’s it going to be, Bachelorette Number One, Bachelorette Number Two, or Bachelorette Number Three?
J.P.: Well, they all gave great answers.
I liked how everyone was honest. I can see myself being friends with each and every one of you. But it’s got to be Bachelorette Number One!
Seemingly, number one was the magic chair for today’s festivities. And with that, we sent our contestants into the night. Boy, we sure would like to be a fly on the wall for those dates and follow their every move with a surveillance camera. Hey, maybe reality TV isn’t so bad, after all.