I 've never been a fan of reality shows but Taranaki on a Date often felt like one.
Playing the dating game in the public eye always meant there was going to be lovers and haters and a thick skin was a prerequisite of taking part.
I have a lot of respect for the six guys that put their hand up for Taranaki on a Date and if anything I hope they enjoyed the experience.
The idea of Taranaki on a Date came about on a trip back from Stratford one day with Daily News photographer Cameron Burnell.
During some light-hearted banter Cam raised the issue of how my love life was going and by the time we reached the office Taranaki on a Date was born.
There were about a dozen replies to the original launch and I lost a few along the way with bachelors heading off-shore or pulling the pin after seeing the pre-date video process.
From the outset I said money wasn't the key to a good date and some took that on board while others gave expensive romance a whirl. Yes, a girl loves to be wined and dined but on some dates I felt like it was being seen as a competition and that was never the aim.
My gut instinct is a guy putting in a bit of effort outside their comfort zone is guaranteed success.
A good example of this was date number two, Troy, who prepared a picnic for our date.
A guy cooking will win over a fancy dinner every time and I think a lot of girls would agree. Being yourself is a big thing as well no matter how big the bats in your stomach are.
On a first date you just have to get over the nerves and be 100 per cent you. If you blow it the first time around chances are you won't get a second go.
Keeping things simple is important as well and keep things like personal space in check when you're with someone you barely know.
I'm no expert when it comes to dating and everyone enjoys a different brew but if I had one piece of advice it would be to go with your gut instinct.
Date six, Stephen, mentioned to me he thought about taking me cycling because he's passionate about it.
Stephen should have gone with that feeling because I would have enjoyed it and it would have been a point of difference. Gut instinct is almost always bang on the money.
So with six dates down and Taranaki on a Date signing off one last time the lesson learnt is that Taranaki is full of riches, both places and people, so don't knock the dating game until you've tried it.
I leave Taranaki on a Date single but totally convinced dating is the way forward.
- Taranaki Daily News
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