Cat lady, meet the Happiest Arse in Ireland | #tinder | #pof


RTÉ’s new dating show, Pulling with My Parents, would like to be watched through splayed fingers. “Our worst nightmare come true,” Emmet Kirwan’s voiceover begins, as though this invitation of “the parental unit” into the most private part of their grown-up children’s souls – which is to say their dating apps – will be a case of cringe at first sight.

But despite the programme’s ceaseless nudgings in the direction (“What could possibly go wrong!” “Oh, the very thought of it!”) the show’s true nature is both sweeter and sadder, because it recognises that modern dating is so weird and warped that it isn’t an outrageous suggestion to do it under adult supervision.

At least that’s the case with the first two guinea pigs, Jason, a 30-year-old scientist, fitness fanatic and evident man-child, and Sophie, a woman in her late 20s who initially seems old before her time.

Jason is contentedly, inoffensively juvenile, operating an Instagram account, for instance, called the Happiest Arse in Ireland, whose pictures suggest not only an interest in guerilla naturism but also, in the implied presence of a photographer, the suspicion that his needs for intimacy might already be someway met. Sophie is three years single but otherwise committed to a cat named Mafia, which sounds like a double-braced protection against any kind of romantic inquiry.

Parents are not so easily dissuaded, though. Sophie’s mother, Andrea, relishes the task of profiling potential suitors, listing her non-negotiables: “They have to be respectful, kind, generous, caring…”

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