A case of you:
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.