Video ecstasy is a turn-off: Dream dates may be the ultimate in safe sex, but they leave Tammy Cohen cold
Monday 01 February 1993
It all sounds rather inviting. All I have to do is plug my copy of Dream Dates into the video, settle back, and enjoy an evening of passion and romance with two handsome men - all in the comfort of my own living room and without any actual exchanging of bodily fluids.
The ultimate in safe sex, Dream Dates does not even require a man - all you need is a video, a little imagination, and a sense of humour as strong as your stomach.
The blurb on the video jacket sets the scene: 'Two of the hunkiest and most beautiful men take you on wild dates. It's you they desire. It's you they seduce. It's you they ravish.
'Be Lady Chatterley as the rugged gamekeeper takes you nude picnicking, takes you skinny dipping, and then just takes you.
'Live like a Queen as the handsome Hollywood movie star gives you a dinner and two unforgettable rides - one on his motorcycle.'
The Dream Dates video takes you on two sexual encounters. Your 'dates' - an 18th-century gamekeeper and Hollywood film star - stare into your eyes. They ask you questions about yourself and wait for the response. They compliment you on your clothing and figure. They even writhe around gratifyingly because of your amazing sexual powers. What more could a girl want?
The answer, sadly, is quite a lot.
My first date is with the gamekeeper - a great slab of a man with a fake Les Dawson accent and dialogue that sounds like Arthur Scargill meets Barbara Cartland. I first encounter him methodically rubbing his torso with water. It's supposed to be erotic. It reminds me of my grandad and his Vicks chest ointment.
'As ah neew yew was coomin', ah thawt ah'd better freshen oop a bit - ah mean, ah want t'look mah best for the gentreh, dawn't ah?' he drawls unintelligibly.
I feel sexual ecstasy receding with every elongated vowel, but I decide to persevere.
After some banter on the theme of the class structure in 18th-century society, the gamekeeper and I row over a lake. All of a sudden, he notices I've torn my clothing.
'Eh oop]' he exclaims expressively. 'Where did ya do that? Ye'd better take that off and ah'll mend it when we get back.'
Evidently I do as I am bidden, because before long he is staring down just below the camera's eye with an attempt at a lascivious look. 'Well, well. That's mighty find oonderwear ya've got there,' he leers. 'Ah bet that'd cost me three moonths' wages that'd'
Finally, we have a picnic. Out come the inevitable hunks of bread and cheese. But he suddenly appears to notice the fact that we are both 'neked' and the possibilities start grinding slowly through his peasant brain. 'D'ye wont me? Ah want yew,' he says.
I obviously do want him, because before you can say 'ecky thoomp' he's lying back against a pile of straw throwing his head about in a simulation of sexual frenzy that has little going for it apart from its brevity.
At this stage, I suspect I'm supposed to be so aroused myself by our sexual bantering that I join him in his passionate throes, but instead I freeze the picture and go off to the kitchen to make myself a nice cup of tea.
So far, so disappointing. But perhaps the next dream date, the Hollywood film star, will be more to my taste.
The first thing I ask myself when I fast-forward to my next session of sexual ecstasy is what the film star is doing living in a flat that looks like something you would find above a sweet shop in the local high street.
The second thing I ask myself is why he comes to the door wearing a hair-band around his chest? While the former remains unexplained, the latter mystery is cleared up when it transpires that he is in the middle of 'working out' and the hair-band is actually an acutely cropped T-shirt.
'I think it's so important to keep fit,' he drawls. 'You obviously do, too - you're in terrific shape.'
As this is possibly the first time anyone has told me this, the film star gains a few brownie points here, but these are lost during the subsequent shower scene in which he soaps himself in an adoring fashion for a tediously long time.
A few minutes later, dressed in a rather alarming see-through shirt, he joins me at the dinner table. His butler (the predictably named Fortesque) has prepared a meal.
'Well, you certainly don't have that effect on me,' leers the film star as he picks up a drooping piece of asparagus.
While I am muttering to myself about the effect he's having on me, Fortesque makes his entrance carrying a videotape.
'Sir, your rushes have arrived,' he announces. And, blow me, if we don't have to abandon our asparagus and repair to the sitting room to watch the film star's latest movie. 'I hope you won't be shocked. I did have to remove my clothes once or twice,' he smiles coquettishly.
Shocked, no. Bored, yes, I muse as I fast-forward through endless slow-motion shots of the film star thrashing around on rumpled sheets in various states of undress.
It is at this stage that I begin to feel distinctly queasy (could it be the asparagus?). I clutch the remote control as if it were a lifeline. Fast forward. We're on his motorbike (or his 'beast' as he likes to call it). Fast forward. We're back in his flat. Fast forward. He's lying on his back naked, throwing his head from side to side . . . Deja vu]
I decide to give up. I've been here for almost an hour and the sexual experience of my life looks farther away than ever. As I rewind the video, I notice advertisements for future dream dates - the construction worker, the footballer, the lifeguard.
They say there is the right man out there for every girl. I won't be holding my breath.
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