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Jason is contentedly, inoffensively juvenile, operating an Instagram account, for instance, called the Happiest Arse in Ireland, whose pictures suggest not only an interest in guerilla naturism but also, in the implied presence of a photographer, the suspicion that his needs for intimacy might already be someway met.Sophie is three years single but otherwise committed to a cat named Mafia, which sounds like a double-braced protection against any kind of romantic inquiry. Sophie’s mother, Andrea, relishes the task of profiling potential suitors, listing her non-negotiables: “They have to be respectful, kind, generous, caring…” But reality can be coarse, even for those who find themselves cat ladies prematurely.“I’m a bit disappointed in him.” You couldn’t say that Sophie, who answers someone’s infantilising come-ons with the words “Yes, daddy”, is much more sophisticated.Nor is the show, exactly, punctuating its footage with cascading aubergine and peach emojis, the cutesy-crude grocery of suggestion that has become the vocabulary of contemporary wooing.“Look at his tattoos,” her granny, an early adopter of ink herself, says approvingly of another date.“Oh, I’m very impressed with his tattoos.” And thus, with the meddling hands of those who propagated them, these chronic singletons each find themselves set up with likely matches, both averred animal lovers who, presumably, also have a thing for earpieces. Most dating apps have pretty strict age restrictions, though, so it can be hard to find one that’s actually geared towards teens.
At least that’s the case with the first two guinea pigs, Jason, a 30-year-old scientist, fitness fanatic and evident man-child, and Sophie, a woman in her late 20s who initially seems old before her time.Will those relationships flourish unassisted or simply revert to an exchange of peaches and aubergines? Online dating definitely has its perks — it makes it way less intimidating to approach someone you’re into, especially if you’re on the shy side.RTÉ’s new dating show, Pulling with My Parents, would like to be watched through splayed fingers.“Our worst nightmare come true,” Emmet Kirwan’s voiceover begins, as though this invitation of “the parental unit” into the most private part of their grown-up children’s souls – which is to say their dating apps – will be a case of cringe at first sight.