The Savoir Vivre of First Dates

By Christos Zampounis

Those who wonder about the end of civilization don’t need to read Fukuyama, just watch the reality show “First Dates”. It is a British-originated television program that has been thriving on Channel 4 for 9 seasons! In Greece, STAR bought the rights, and probably made the right choice, judging by the ratings. The start was sluggish, against “beasts” like “Survivor” or “Don’t start mumbling”. But when various “fiddlers”, such as “Mama’s Boy”, made their appearance, the A.G.B. machines “caught fire”. Panagiotis, 35, went viral by calling his mother, in the middle of a romantic dinner with 25-year-old Erofili, to ask her if he could eat fresh basil, due to a history of allergies. “There’s no such thing, 35 year old castrato,” his partner commented, thus showing a relative disrespect for the traditional mother-son relationship.

In another episode, 70-year-old Nikos asked Melina to share the bill. To her annoyance, he responded by “patching”. “I did it because it was a few. Next time I’ll pay it all myself. I thought I’d give you the pleasure of your participation.” Let readers forgive me for not quoting other dialogues, because according to a basic principle of manners of good behavior, we communicate by example and not by criticizing others. Knowing also the disarming response of the producers, “it’s a recreational game”, I will not indulge in blaming the casting and coaching (tutoring) of the players. However, the Greece we want, where civility and respect for others are fundamental values of society, is not lost in the above TV product.