Dating in the Dark Australia is a reality television show that proclaims to ‘test that age-old question “is love blind?”’ Hosted by former Miss Australia, Laura Dundonovik, contestants take looks out of the equation in their search for love by going on a series of dates in total darkness.
Each week a new crop of failed Big Brother applicants (or in one case an actual Big Brother contestant) excitedly enter the Dating in the Dark house. At the ripe average age of 21, the contestants are apparently tired of the dating game and claim they are looking for “something real”, whatever that means.
The first date is a ‘group’ date. And it’s definitely not as fun as it sounds. In complete darkness three guys and three girls sit across from each other at the most awkward of singles tables. They learn each others name and job and then spend the minutes following passing judgement based on this information. “Oh, you’re a yoga instructor?” (Excited tone). “Oh, you’re an accountant?” (Fake excited tone).
Back in their respective parts of the house, the contestants de-brief about the group date and discuss who they’ll choose for their first individual date. They deliberate the important issues: “If he’s a personal trainer, he’d have a hot body”. Often two people will go for the same person. To break the tension of this moment one contestant will nervously add “all’s fair in love and war” or another boring cliché. This is often met with a single glance that is universally understood to mean “game on mole”.
Individual dates are spent trying to gauge compatibility and whether the couple has a ‘spark’. This ‘spark’ is usually determined by how close they are sitting on the couch/beanbag/bathtub and how much of a feel they cop. Props are often brought along to the date and can include alcoholic drinks, food that they may rub on each other’s face, and stripper costumes. To be fair, the stripper outfits are usually saved till the third date.
The 1 hour show builds towards the ‘light reveal’. This is the moment when they stand awkwardly in a dark room and have a light shone on them in all their unironed shirt glory. They can’t see the other person so have no idea of their reaction.
Before the ‘reveal’ the contestants are interviewed and usually say something like this:
Women: “it doesn’t matter what he looks like, we had such a great connection I think I’ll like him no matter what”
Men: “I hope she’s hot”
Within one second of the reveal you can tell whether they’re attracted or not. A glance down or hands covering their face = ‘no’. A slow appreciative nod and big smile = ‘yes, I want to bone you’.
After they have seen their crush in the flesh, their tune has usually changed somewhat.
Women: “I’m not too sure I can see him fitting in with my life” “I’m a little bit mortified that I kissed him”
Men: “she’s a good-looking girl (in that high-pitched lying way)” “She hasn’t got the body type I’d normally go for”
So low and behold, they reach the brain-bending conclusion that looks do matter after all. “I guess what this has taught me is that looks matter… a lot…” said one of the more articulate contestants.
The final stage to the show is the “meet” on the balcony. Meeting up with someone on the balcony effectively says “I saw you in the light and still like you”. If both contestants show up they are whisked happily away in a car while producers take close-up footage of them kissing. Where they’re headed is unclear, but does that really matter when they’ve found true love?
However, if they were horrified by the sight of the person they pashed in the darkness they simply walk out the front door. It’s important to know that the door is conveniently situated underneath said balcony. This means the rejected can watch in clear view as the rejecter wheels their little suitcase of sexy underwear away. Or that’s what I assume is in the bag as that is all you ever see them packing.
As a dating show it has it all: excitement of new beginnings, devastating heartbreak, and a huge dose of blind groping.
You may think watching it once would be enough. But no. Each week brings a fresh crop of genuine people looking for love, TV hopefuls looking for their big break and others just wanting to be felt up in the dark. There is something so addictive about this show. Don’t be left in the dark and catch an episode if you can.