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Cherry Goes Dating: My Dating Stories

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Cherry Healey Cherry Healey | 13:29 UK time, Monday, 27 September 2010

Recently I dived headlong into the world of dating for Cherry Goes Dating. But the truth is I've never been in a less dating place as I have both a baby and a hubbie! So why on earth did I make a programme about dating?!

Dating has been a huge part of my life. I hopped onto the love rollercoaster at 16 and I have (mostly) really enjoyed the crazy ups and downs. And when it comes to types of dating, you name it, I've tried it. Technically, I've been researching for this film for over a decade. If this was a subject in school, I would get an A* for effort.

Cherry Goes Dating (Cherry Healey and Katie McDonald)

Cherry Healey and Katie McDonald in Cherry Goes Dating

In some sense, this was a way of making peace with that chapter of my life coming to a close, perhaps forever. No more amazing first dates, no more first kisses, no more hilarious bad-date stories. So after such extensive research what have I learnt along the way?

Blind dating
This is perhaps my favourite type of dating! Most likely, the date has been set up by friends who really know you and the other person. So, if the spark of love doth not fly, at least there is a good chance it won't be horrendous.

Online dating
Some people say it lacks old school romance. But for many people this is a small price to pay for meeting someone in a comfortable environment. Sometimes it's also considered dangerous. But as one person commented, is it any more dangerous than picking someone up in a bar? And there are now enough amazing success stories to convince anyone of it's effectiveness. However, online dating requires a close following of the dating rules (see below) but once I'd clocked onto these, I found it brilliant fun.

Cherry Goes Dating (Cherry Healey and Madeleine Amber)

Speed dating
My experience of this was miserable. There is just no way on earth I could tell if they were lovely or not in two minutes! And it's incredibly cut-throat. You find out via an online form whether people liked you or not. I'm sure for some people it's worked wonders but this really didn't tickle my fancy.

Public transport
This is less dodgy than it sounds. I found two boyfriends on public transport. One on the Eurostar (yes he was a saucy Frenchman) and the other on the underground (the relationship was short and sweet, just like him). I think this is such a romantic way to meet someone - if it worked, what a great story to tell your grandchildren. However, the downside is that you are going in totally blind - you know nothing about them and if you're going to hook up again, make sure you follow the safe-dating rules!

This might seem like the perfect place to hook up with someone BUT I slowly learnt that you need to be be really, really sure it's worth the risk. If it doesn't work out, you have to see them EVERY DAY! Yikes.

When I was making Cherry Goes Dating I met Madeleine, a lady who's got loads of experience of going on dates. Watch this to see what she thinks men really want:

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During my dating odyssey I created a few dating rules. After years and years of dating I realised that there were ways of minimising disappointment/heartbreak/embarrassment. (F.Y.I. they don't always work!!!)


1. For a first date, only meet for a drink. If it goes well you can suggest dinner but if it's not going well you can say you're meeting friends and leg it without hurting their feelings!

2. Don't meet too close to where either of you live. Meet half way so there's less chance of bumping into each other afterwards!

3. Tell three of your mates/members of family where you are going and what you are doing.

4. Sounds a bit extreme but ask a friend to call you an hour after the date has started - not only is it super safe but if the date is really bad you have an excuse to leave! Be warned that if you do this it's pretty obvious!

5. Don't buy anything new for the first date. If it's a wet squid you will feel really annoyed at having spent the money. Save the hot new LBD for date no.2.

6. Just be yourself. Don't try and impress with white lies - better to find out if he likes the real you, right at the start.

7. If you didn't like your date, let them know gently the next day. Always practise good dating karma as one day it might be you on the receiving end!

8. If a guy has the courage to ask you out - be kind!! Boys might be the ones that often do the asking but it's just as scary for them.

9. If you're online dating, be picky about who you actually go on a date with. It's easy to run out of enthusiasm after the 10th bad date.

10. Enjoy the process! You'll be in a relationship arguing about socks and bills quicker than you can say 'it's not you, it's me.'

Cherry Healey presents Cherry Goes Dating tonight at 9pm on BBC Three.

Got a good dating story? Share yours now.

Add your comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    I love these shows, I wish I had made them myself. Having a baby, getting married, now dating. Mostly though I love Cherry's jewellery! The gold chain and silver tiger - where can I get it from?
    Keep these programmes coming, love them.

  • Comment number 2.

    Aghhhh all 3 programs were superb!!!

    Well doneee i loved all 3 of themm x

    Are you planning animore programs? I hope you do!! You dont hold back on any questions and yuu very honest about your veiws on all 3 subjectsss x

    Wb x

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh I loved this programme! Though it did make me feel glad I'm out of the dating game (fingers crossed!) for good. The couple at the end looked so good together.

    And I love Cherry, she's spot on with the interviews. I hope more programmes will follow soon!

  • Comment number 4.

    I have just finished watching 'Cherry Goes Dating' and I fail to see what it has to do with the real life dating world. I am a 25 year old single girl with many single friends, and I could not relate to anyone featured in the show. I felt as though it was patronising towards single woman, and made us seem unhinged and desperate.

  • Comment number 5.

    I totally agree with Claudia's comment above. Found the show condescending to all single woman. I am a 29 year old single lady and definitely do not relate to those interviewed on "Cherry goes Dating". Found it extremely embarrassing to watch.

  • Comment number 6.

    I too have just finished watching "Cherry goes Dating" which should probably be remnamed to "Smug Cherry goes Mocking". I have to agree with the comment by Claudia that the programme was most patronising towards singletons. Speaking for my friends and I, we all felt that the programme was a total misrepresentaion of the reality of a 30 something singleton. It totally made single women appear totally unhinged self help addicts! Just for the record, this is far from the truth!

    Being three attractive, successful and intelligent women, my friends and I were all most annoyed at the totally inaccurate portrayal of the single world. I expected to watch something which explores the real realities of the single world. This programme was totally condescending and highly irritating. Cherry, no disrespect but probably not the right person for the job. You were right when you said at the start that you have no idea about the single world as u are married and have a hubbie!

    With all due respect, this is highly disrespectful to the majority of the single ladies who choose to be single because they have a good life style and don't feel the need to settle for second best or just because of the biological clock, but rather would like to settle for the right match for them.

    There is nothing wrong with having standards, it doesn't make single people freaks or mean that they should be shunned for being single. The truth is that most people in relationships stay in unhappy relationships because they either have a fear of being alone or are not strong enough to get out of the unhappy relationship. It takes a much stronger person to do admit their relationship is a sham and do something about than one who just stays with someone for the sake of it. The reality is that there are so many people out there married and having affairs. Even those who know their husbands/wives are having affairs are too scared to admit it and do something about it. Perhaps Cherry should look at the extra marital affairs next time...there's a thought for you BBC.

    My friends and I were so mad after the programme that they urged me to comment on this on their behalf as well as my own!

    What a total let down. Very disappointing BBCThree.

  • Comment number 7.

    Claudia , just because you couldnt relate to any of the girls doesnt mean its lyk dating in the real world all diffrent girls of diffrent coultures and from diffrent places have diffrent approaches to dating if cherry was to go arourd all the girls with diffrent dating methods it would take a million episodes!!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    If I was a man - it would send me running ! it just showed extremes, not the reality...lets have one on men next time...and then a genuine one, how we want respect, and trust and intelligence - we are not desperate!

    I agree with Claudia and Singlenotdesperate...

    And there WAS actually a program on TV tonight about 'extra marital affairs as well.

    It's about time television took some responsibility for view the truth not just sensationism to put the viewings up!

  • Comment number 9.

    Yup, Cherry Goes Dating was frustrating, faux-naive, toe-curling/entertaining as ghoulish voyeurism (hey, that's what TV does these days). Maybe the point was to show why some women find dating difficult (Cherry started by asking why). Her case studies certainly gave some clues...although I have to agree with Claudia, Vanessa above, and can see why the majority of single women would be put out if they felt they were being typified. What took the biscuit for me was the one who was indignant at a put down from a guy set up for sacharine overload 14 feb, she was the one who was trying to make 5 contacts a week for 6 months for goodness sake! Quite why he didn't fall helplessly for her learning that he was the number 1 rosette winner I'm sure dumbfounded the watching nation. Well, if not perhaps the watching poodles. A hint of an answer as to why some women find the route to true romance elusive? One case study did find a match, arguably not just through physical chemistry but because of a positive, balanced and pro-active personality, and recognising some empathy with a guy rather than just defining what he should be like on a list or chart.

    Cherry certainly proved herself ill-suited to solving these riddles. Difficult to avoid observing she's a very attractive woman and probably hasn't ever had to try particularly hard (and that's given away in her top tips above, they are all about what to do on a date, not how to get one if you're struggling, she seems to assume guys will be queuing to ask, with a sympathetic nod to a gentle put-down for the ones that don't appeal). Still, a bit surprising the programme couldn't muster something more meaningful for less fortunate sisters. Or indeed brothers.

    And that has to have been the biggest weakness of the programme, even if it was designed exclusively for straight females, it utterly failed in considering what it feels like on the guy side. Even if the point was centuries of sexism deserve revenge and males should be treated like fodder, a bit more investigation of what the guys felt like could have helped these exceptional ladies understand how to bag their catch more effectively, so important in these desperately straitened times with so few men good enough to match up to the women available.

    So if you haven't worked it out already, I'm male, modesty suggests I shouldn't guess how may "tick boxes" I satisfy (major criteria on the programme), but Cherry I am very kind, really kind, and single for more than 10 years now, friends don't understand why blah blah. I was hoping Cherry Goes Dating would give me a bit better insight into what goes on in womens minds...thing is it left me wondering if I was better off without!

    PS the ladies reacting above have done something to repair my view of women looking to date, OK I guess I wouldn't have taken the programme that seriously, but Claudia, Vannessa, singlenotdesperate, you may yet be the best hope of keeping single eligible guys from running a mile after watching - good for you!

  • Comment number 10.

    Comment from a man here. I found this programme fascinating, but probably not necessarily very representative, but then it would be difficult with such a small sample.

    I think Cherry was trying to build an extreme case, to represent a wider truth. What I took away from this was the extent that careerist and consumerist values suffuse our lives to the extent that they can poison our personal lives. I doubt that men would be exempt from this. The concept of consumer choice, and the schemes we devise for finding partners, mean we will only get what we want, not what we would never have thought of, and we live by the dreams implanted in us by our peers and the media. Love, above all things, is an art, and not a science.

  • Comment number 11.

    I thought that Cherry goes dating was hilarious ... I only watched the last 10 mins and plan on watching the rest tonight and have told my girlfriends to watch as well. This was of course extreme and not really reflective of the “single gal”. Why that woman thought that surprising a man whom she had only met once was a good idea I will never know ! My question is Where are her friends ? I would never allow a friend of mine to do that and if I ever got so desperate I would hope that my friends would slap me !

    Most of us single men and woman are searching for love albeit, via internet, speed dating, supermarkets and even by meeting someone naturally (perish the thought !) I have been guilty if using them all ! It will happen when it happens ! Thank god I have several friends ranging from 27-57 who are all single, we all keep our feet on the ground and certainly wouldn’t settle for anything less that we are worth. The dating world is very hard for over 30s as most of us women are independent and successful and won’t put up with crap and men are frighten out of their minds as they don’t understand their “role” anymore.

  • Comment number 12.

    I've only watched Cherry Goes Dating and it hit home big time. I'm an MD not living in the UK, but considering a move. Where I am and my race, I'm considered very attractive, but have not had a boyfriend in the last 10 years. I get offers which to me are alittle'different' such as bustop offers, airport offers, grocery store offers...the funniest was on an escalator! One guy recently drove across the road, parked his car, got out and asked me out since he didn't know how else to 'find me.' To this day, I'm still entertained by this. I did go on a date with him, and he was sweet.He has asked for more dates, but I declined. (At the time, an internet friend, whom I later discovered was wasting my time for the last 4 years, had wanted us to see where things would go..., so, I put the younger guy 'on the bench.' He's 7 years younger than me and unemployed! We're now just friends eventhough he's still very enthusiastic about 'us.' hmmmmm

    Another guy at my previous work place asked me out in 'text' but then disappeared. So, that has been interesting too.

    I've decided to take some time out and really get to 'love me,' and find out who I've been repeatedly getting weirdly entangled with -seeking what attracted to me to them in the first place, their personalities and what's similar about them. Maybe, just maybe I'll see what's going on.:)

    I personally don't read the Love and Relationship books on the market since everyone has an opinion and you get confused with too many. I've had the self belief that even if I did do silly things, the guy who would want me, wouldn't let that get in the way. So, why should we conform to someone's right/wrong thinking - it may be right for them, but not for you.

    I felt sorry for the girl in the program who told that man she dated that he was her first choice. I mean, he hadn't been seeking after her during the 3 months nor calling for another date. It's unfortunate, but I think a guy has to REALLY want to be with the girl. If he likes talking with her, doesn't mean he wants to date her, but she needs to let him in when she feels it's ok -not just because HE MAY ask her to be his! He may NEVER! What I see is that one has to allow a man to be enthusiastic for you. He may be a quiet, slow guy, but keep on the contact. It's when the girl feels the need to call and keep it going, then, that's already a red flag.

    Start with you, first. Be happy in your skin, in your life, your job - all components of you. Then, accept the man in.:)

  • Comment number 13.

    Midori_no_saru, I like what you say, but it's idealistic. Even those of us who are open to many cultures since our families do not impose certain regulations, the other party may well be accepting of their family's ways. I feel it really depends on both parties willing to make it work. I suppose, you'll know by the way the person is with you.

  • Comment number 14.

    What a refreshing programme. I have learnt something. 1) No matter how awful a woman is, she will always think she is entitled to the perfect man and 2) It has encouraged me to actively seek the company of prostitues.

  • Comment number 15.

    I know one of the ladies who appeared in this programme and can say that the way the programme portrayed her was not honest.The events and situations that happened to her were partly arranged by the programme makers and also paid for by them, and not by her as was inferred. My friend is a lovely girl, who through the art of editing and a smug Cherry (who has no problem in hurting peoples' feelings for the sake of her career) was made out to be someone she isn't. I think it's time tv learnt to entertain the good old fashioned way and not by constantly intruding on others' personal lives and ripping them apart in front of an audience that doesn't know or understand the victims at all.
    And does Cherry have a degree or Phd in philophosy or psychiatry or social studies to make these random and speedy judgements on people and give advice?
    I didn't think so

  • Comment number 16.

    Loved this programme, in fact loved all 3 in the series, and as others have mentioned, lets hope for some more!
    I'm not so sure though that this programme should have been taken quite so seriously, it was entertainment not a documentary :)

  • Comment number 17.

    As a single man, I actually enjoyed it and could almost even relate to some of the things. I for one have no idea how Esther has stayed single, she really seems like a brilliant lady.

  • Comment number 18.

    Simon - how right are you? If I were a man with bonkers Esther after me I would run straight into the arms of the first hooker I could find...just to get the imprint of pink heart iced cookies out of my mind.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hey Cherry,
    Really enjoyed your Dating episode.

    I'm not sure how it made me feel. I am soon turning 25 and I am still a virgin. Am I optimistic that I'll meet someone? Really not sure. I have never been in a relationship (not without trying) and I have gone so long without a bloke that I cant actually imagine me with someone.

    Help! What would you suggest? :/

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Cherry, Loved your dating program. After spending two years searching for true love, I can summerise the whole dating process.

    Love is like a set of car keys, when you go looking for them, you will never find them.
    Forget about the keys, go and do something else and then "BANG" suddenly you will find them.

    If you go looking for love, in my humble opinion, you will never find it. Forget about it, and it will find you.Tony

  • Comment number 21.

    Everyone will have there own different views and i think thats fine. In my opinion Esther was not loopy, she was just very insecure. I found her to be quite sweet.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hey, I have just finsihed watching the program, I appreciate it was probably aimed at women, but I found it really interesting to see how the other gender copes with being single. I am single, I am 29 and i too are watching all my friends get married, none have any children yet but i'm sure it's just a matter of time. Problem I have and I am sure others can relate to this is no one goes out anymore now that there married, which is fine, only problem is it makes my chances of finding someone far less!
    That last girl in the program, the one who set up her room for Valentines day!! Jeeeese!! What was she doing! Felt sorry for the guy, thought he handled it really well though! No wonder she is single!!

  • Comment number 23.

    This programme made the shy and even fairly unromantic male types like myself, feel good about themselves. Instead of the somewhat extreme and unusual behaviours exhibited in the programme, have we not overlooked the fact that the basis of personal attraction belongs by and large to the model by which we make friends, whether of the oppposite sex or not. THe question I ask is 'do i really want to spend time hanging out with this person. As one person on a dating site i read recently put it ' i am looking for someone who would like to spend time (in my company)! Couldn't really be simpler could it? I say this even though i have few friends myself and don't find it easy to make them, of either sex. Nevertheless, perhaps this means i am not quite so easily fooled by the short-circuits or perversions or infidelities of the heart.

  • Comment number 24.

    What I would like to know is why people are taking this programme so seriously? in fact, that's the fundamental problem. I can't believe I'm the only person who watched it that realised the whole Valentine's thing was supposed to be a bit of fun. Even Cherry completely missed the point and the editing and her serious comments ended up painting a completely unrepresentative picture. I think Esther came across as lovely and great fun. For me, it demonstrated that she had a lucky escape as that bloke was clearly not good enough for her and everyone deserves to be with someone who thinks they are fantastic. Far too many people settle for less.

  • Comment number 25.

    As a man, it was refreshing to see this light hearted romp that demonstrated how selective women can be in their choice of partners..usually by going for men with highly redeemable qualities such as being 'geezers, square jawed macho, arrogant rich' etc and thus, why they're all single! A bit of advice that Cherry never dispensed: 'Girls, this type of man is hard wired not to stick around with one partner. You cannot 'change' him. You will find yourself being mucked around or perhaps up the duff and a single mum, but hey, if that's what you want. You've always got your career after all.
    The lady in the mee-jah who will only date men who wear those horrid white plimsole type shoes, claiming it's an indicator that a man has a sense of style. Sheeesh... about 5 years too late there love.
    Essentially, Cherry (no doubt attractive in her dating days and who could afford to be selective) is utterly useless at playing cupid. Fixing up dates with Rugger B()ger types who are obviously never going to stick around.
    She only says one sensible thing in the entire episode- the moment she realised her boyfriend (now husband) didn't posess the looks/type she was after but was 'kind' towards her. The fact that it was such a life
    changing moment for her to realise she wanted to be with someone who is 'kind' to her I found quite sad - but that what happens if you date square-jawed Dark Triad men all your life..
    Whatever you do though ladies, don't ever stick an award winning rosette on a man...actually on anything other than a horse...or a pig..

  • Comment number 26.

    Darling Cherry, I do hope you read your blog. .As one of the participants in the show I just want to say how much I enjoyed working with you for the two days. Any one who enters into the realms of reality tv however it is marketed must surely realise for you, and the rest of your crew and media company it is a job. Extremes sell, create interest and reaction, and for my part I understood that, in any event it is for fun, and I always try to remember the words 'spin' and 'editing'.

    It is so funny, since the show has been aired I have had the same reaction from men in the village with regards my edited comment 'I have been through all the men in the village'.....and that is....'well you haven't been through me' and no, i havent, the village as you pointed out is very small, and you were right...'there are no men in the village' thats because they are all either married, or in a relationship or waiting for a rest home. So for me there were never any men to go through lol, thats how I managed to do funny

    I expected you to feature the toy boy club, which is quite funny, I am making butterfly cakes for number two for his birthday next week bless him he asks me to every year, but as I said to you, I would not go down any other route with men that young because I would hate to feel I might damage a young mind that being given a number in a club is a good way out of it lol.

    Thank you all for brightening up a rather cold january and making me laugh

    love Katie

  • Comment number 27.

    I found this fascinating as a man who is more than happy NOT to be in a relationship having had many and been married.

    What I was dying to ask all of these women (except the 51 year old who has obviously come through the so-called 'fairytale' stage, and the schoolgirls of course) was 'Why are you so desperate to get married?'.

    If you are a VERY VERY lucky couple (I stress couple because it has to work equally for both parties not just one of them) marriage can work but the vast majority don't and that's an irrefutable fact yet they were all hell bent on marriage as the solution to all their future happiness issues and they are so wrong.

    It seems to me that any relationship has a natural shelf-life, with varying time spans depending on who the people are, and being married and having kids can make that sell-by-date become excrutiating and lead to many years of unhappiness (if they stick it out).

    Marriage is an out-dated concept and as someone once said to me, and they are dead right, it isn't that easy to get divorced but you can get married in 5 minutes if you really want to so why should it so easy to get into and hard to get out of? If anything it should be the other way around.

    I tell my daughter that she should look to be independent both financially and emotionally and never have to rely on anyone for either of those things, that way she may be able to enjoy her life without too many problems, however I guess she will end up doing what everyone else seems to do, we are lemmings after all!

  • Comment number 28.

    P.S. 'Singlenotdesperate' where do you and your friends live as I am looking for an independent attractive woman!!! ;-)

    Of course I agree with your comments (by and large) but unfortunately it seems to me from my experience that women like you are very few and far between, but it's comforting to know that you really do exist and aren't unicorns.


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