Celebs Go Dating’s Tom Read Wilson: “My worst date? I had to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on myself against the wash basin”
As a nation addicted to TV dating shows, we’re always on the lookout for our next fix.
That’s why the impending return of Celebs Go Dating will make most people’s eyes and ears light up with joy.
For those not in the know, Celebs Go Dating is a TV show designed to match celebs with irl members of Joe Public.
But it’s not just prying into celebrities personal lives that makes the show — it’s the charming and effervescent receptionist Tom Read Wilson.
First charming the nation on The Voice in 2016, the actor joined the dating programme as the charismatic receptionist who charms and calms the guests who enter the agency’s doors.
As Celebs Go Dating returns for a third series, we spoke to Tom Read Wilson about why editing out your best bits can harm your romantic prospects, and how choking on a lamb shank made for the worst date he’s ever had.
Although the series has only resulted in “mini romances” so far, Tom is convinced that the fifth time’s a charm for the show’s plucky celebrity guests.
“As you know, I’m a huge cheerleader for love,” he told PinkNews.
“I’m so hortatory with our people who come through our threshold. I want a great, great love story. We’ve had mini romances, but this time around I really feel this series will welcome a huge love story that will last and last.”
“Funnily enough, in the earlier days of dating for me – because I am a serial dater – I was a terrible self-editor. Later on in my dating life, I realised what I was attracted to in other people were often the curiosities and idiosyncracies and the nuances.
“It will always be the times that I look like the wreck of the hesperus that I will bump into the most delicious man in the world”
“I thought, “why on earth am I trying to censor myself, or edit myself to get rid of those? Those should be the bits I’m celebrating.” That’s the most liberating notion. The person that’s going to fall for you is going to fall for all of those delicious curiosities.”
Although Tom must be a dating expert by now, he’s had his fair share of dating disasters.
“I certainly have had nightmare dating experiences,” he told PinkNews.
“The worst of all is when I went on a date with a very taciturn gentleman. We suddenly realised that we went foolishly for a meal – a first date faux pas – and I ordered a lamb shank. I realised I was going to have to do the lion’s share of the talking, and I just saw this lamb shank getting colder and colder and colder.
“I was going from anecdote to anecdote, and I hit on something that fascinated him and he launched into an extended anecdote. I thought “yes, I can eat!”. Curiously, this anecdote stopped abruptly, and he asked my a question. I swallowed the hunk of lamb, and it lodged in my gullet.
“I swallowed the hunk of lamb, and it lodged in my gullet”
“I was too proud to ask for help – I couldn’t speak anyway – and by the time I had arrived at the toilet I was puce with a vein about to burst on my forehead. There was no-one in the loo so I had to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on myself against the wash basin. I regurgitated this piece of lamb. It was simply ghastly.”
“I lived to tell the tale, but I kept on thinking, “Oh my god, he’s going to have to call my parents and he won’t even be able to make my death exciting.”
Over his years at Celebs Go Dating’s much-loved receptionist, Tom has a dating tip or three for those hoping to be lucky in love.
“Number one, absolutely celebrate your idiosyncracies. Celebrate all of your absolutely different, eccentric and wonderful nuances,” he begins.
“I want my partner to be different to me on every possible level”
“Number two is listen. Listen intently. It’s amazing what you’ll discover. Curiously, in a rotten date – well, a date where you have no chemistry – you could still find the person endlessly fascinating.”
“And finally, always be prepared. It will always be the times I look like the wreck of the hesperus that I will bump into the most delicious man in the world. It’s one of those awful truths. So of course after you’ve learnt that, the only way forward is to never look like the wreck of the hesperus.”
Speaking about his experiences as a proud gay man, Tom said that he wouldn’t “trade [being gay] for anything.”
“If you have ever belonged to any marginalised group, it does make you more empathetic. I’d never trade it for anything, because it’s informed the way I am with everybody, really. I think that it’s something that exists in all of us – the community is naturally empathetic because of experience. Perhaps we’re inclined to be more empathetic with our partners. You might have more luck keeping a degree of cordiality with your partner.”
Tom himself is looking for love.
A self-confessed romantic, the star of Celebs Go Dating is looking for someone who is “radically different” to him “on every possible level.”
“I want my partner to be radically different to me on every possible level. I always say I don’t physically have a type except radically different to me because I always think two-thirds of beauty lies in fascination. I think there’s something beautiful in that post-coital moment where you look at someone and think “How are you put together? I could spend the rest of my life mapping your face because it’s so different to my own.'”
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Although Tom is still in the dark when it comes to who will appear on the next series, he is “quite sure” that there’ll be a member of the community making an appearance.
“I wish with all my heart I knew, but I don’t know a single name. I’m a vociferous campaigner for having an LGBTQ element to the series. They know that. I’m quite sure there’ll be a representative other than me.”
Tom appeared at the longest date of the year in partnership with Badoo, the dating app that’s all about getting you real life dates, not just matches.
Celebs Go Dating will return for its next series in October 2018.