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Bar­man Cam Pas­coe of­fers ad­vice to can­di­dates on First Dates Aus­tralia.

Cam Pas­coe has gleaned a lot about dat­ing from his tele­vi­sion role. The ac­tor and hos­pi­tal­ity worker is the friendly bar­man in Aus­tralia’s First Dates restau­rant. First Dates Aus­tralia

is a re­al­ity show where sin­gle­tons en­joy – or in some cases en­dure – a sit-down meal with a stranger. The pro­gramme is filmed via hid­den cam­eras which cap­ture ev­ery­thing from awk­ward con­ver­sa­tions to flir­ta­tious be­hav­iour.

Pas­coe, who is into his sec­ond sea­son with the show, says he can tell straight away if there is chem­istry be­tween a cou­ple.

“You re­ally can see some sparks or lights go on par­tic­u­larly (from my) van­tage point where they see the per­son first walk into the restau­rant,” he says.

When Pas­coe serves re­fresh­ments on he tries to keep the con­ver­sa­tion light but also up­beat. “Sin­gle­tons gen­er­ally ap­proach the bar and I hold eye con­tact with them and gen­er­ally try to talk about their day,” he says. “The longer they sit there in si­lence the more ner­vous they be­come.” Pas­coe, who is dat­ing a New Zealand woman, has some good come­back lines for sin­gle­tons who set their sights on him. “One of the ladies in sea­son one asked if I was sin­gle and my re­ply to her was ‘I’m not on the menu, madam’ or ‘I’m sure there are fresher cuts of meat on the menu’ or some­thing like that,” he says. “They are af­ter a friendly face and flirt­ing is a great way to calm the nerves. I love flirt­ing. It’s a re­ally fun thing to do with other peo­ple, so yeah I flirt back. But I’m not in­volved in the date at all. “But it’s good to make peo­ple

“Flirt­ing is a great way to calm the nerves. I love flirt­ing. It’s a re­ally fun thing to do with other peo­ple.” – Cam Pas­coe

feel good. It’s re­ally nice to say to some­one ‘You look great’ or ‘Those are fantastic ear­rings’.”

Pas­coe be­lieves it is im­por­tant to re­main true to your­self while on a date.

“Don’t try to be the per­son that they want you to be,” he says.

“So if you’re a li­brar­ian who loves books and loves read­ing Os­car Wilde or Walt Whit­man ... if that’s what you love and he’s a per­sonal trainer, don’t try to change the way you are say­ing things like ‘Oh yeah I love go­ing to cross­fit’ be­cause that’s not you.

“Peo­ple see through those lies straight away. Just come out and say ‘I read when I’m at home. I read for plea­sure. That’s my bag’.”

How­ever, some­times be­ing hon­est can have a down­side.

“In the first sea­son, Loann told her date that she hates kids and that chil­dren are evil and the guy had a five-year-old child,” says Pas­coe.

“She had a few too many drinks and that’s what she blurted out. That’s the end of the date. There is no com­ing back from that.”

Pas­coe is part of a small team of hos­pi­tal­ity work­ers who en­sure things run smoothly at the First

Dates restau­rant. It’s a role he loves but was re­luc­tant to ac­cept.

“I work in a restau­rant here in Sydney called Felix and the pro­duc­ers of the show were walk­ing by one day,” he says.

“I’d had con­ver­sa­tions be­fore with them about do­ing it and it wasn’t re­ally in my mind but they came in for din­ner and just asked me to do it. I was pretty re­sis­tant at first to tell you the truth. But they turned out to be nice peo­ple and re­ally fun.”

Pas­coe, 34, who has a cou­ple of univer­sity de­grees un­der his belt was no stranger to be­ing on screen, hav­ing al­ready ap­peared in short films.

“I’m an ac­tor and re­al­ity TV wasn’t some­thing I con­sid­ered get­ting into but it was such a for­eign con­cept,” he says of the show’s for­mat.

In his own time, Pas­coe en­joys watch­ing First Dates on TV which he says makes him laugh.

He ad­mits he is full of ad­mi­ra­tion for sin­gle­tons who make the big de­ci­sion to ap­pear on it.

“There is a lot pres­sure on this show,” he says.

“I don’t think I could do it. They are pretty coura­geous to put them­selves out there.”

Cam Pas­coe pours drinks and tries to calm ner­vous sin­gle­tons on First Dates Aus­tralia. The re­al­ity show’s bar­man re­veals to Sarah Nealon what the pro­gramme has taught him about dat­ing.

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