Love Bites brings comedian Shane Daniel Byrne on a journey of discovery, as he goes on dates with influencer Conor Ryan, Drag Queen Davina Devine, comedian Michael Fry, and Miss Ireland Pamela Uba.
Through the medium of the chicken fillet roll, Shane’s dates will reveal who they are, and how they date. While some like it spicy, others like to keep things simple.
To celebrate the four-part series landing on RTÉ Player, we caught up with host Shane Daniel Byrne to discuss his dating red flags, green flags, and the importance of LGBTQ+ representation.
Did you enjoy your time on the dating scene?
"I was kind of the host on the date and I don't think there's usually a host, it's usually more of an equal thing, but it was nice! Some of those people I didn't really know, so I did actually feel like we were going on a real date except we were being watched by a camera crew. It did feel like we were getting to know each other over the course of the conversation, so it did have a date feel to it."
Going by some of the stories, it seems a little tricky to date when in the public eye.
"Yeah, particularly for Davina Devine because she's so well known among a section of the wider community, among the queer community. She's so well known that people assume they know everything about her because they see her on stage so regularly. She's been a fixture on the gay scene for so many years, so it was interesting to hear how people have to make adjustments to the normal way of dating."
"Even if you're someone on the internet or someone with a bit of following or a bit of fame, it's the same for everybody. It's the same difficulties in terms of it being a bit nerve wrecking, you have to get to know somebody new. and you want to be impressive. It's the same for everybody."
You and Davina spoke about how difficult it was to navigate your love lives growing up. How did it feel to be a gay man on a date with a Drag Queen on TV all these years later?
"It does feel good, and it also feels good that it's not a big deal. There's queer people on the show and it's not a big deal. Having Davina on as a guest isn't a big fuss, it's just like of course, why not? It's the same as it was for anyone else."
"That's what I think inclusion and representation is actually about: it's just having queer people, people of colour, people with disabilities - what ever it is - have them in the same thing as everyone else and nobody bats an eyelid."
It works well in this concept as you're on a date with people of all backgrounds including straight men and women.
"Conor is such a straight boy and such a 'Jack the Lad', and he didn't bat an eyelid that we were on this date or that there was jokey flirting. He didn't bat an eyelid. I think that's important to see as well, he doesn't give a s**t. He's like, yeah, of course, why not? The whole thing is fun and tongue in cheek."
What are your red flags for a romantic relationship?
"Oh my God, I was only talking about this recently, I don't know if I can say it... someone recently told me they were on a date and the person didn't know who Bruce Springsteen was. I would end it right there. Not that I'm a giant Bruce Springsteen fan, but where's your head at?"
"I think a red flag for me would be, like that, if something was very important to you and they had no idea about it. Somebody who didn't vote also, I would find that off putting."
"You know on First Dates when you see them making a fuss over who is going to pay, and the woman might be upset that the man isn't paying - I think any issue like that, I'd just say forget it. Pack it in. We're splitting the bill, don't be ridiculous. Or if someone started the carry on of 'I had this so I owe this'... get out of here. We're going 50/50, order what you want, that's part of the investment of a date."
"Oh and bad manners to the waiter or the staff? We're finished."
What are your green flags in dating?
"Somebody who isn't putting on a show for you. Obviously there's an element of having to wrap your self up a little bit, but somebody who is clearly being themselves, even if that means they're nervous or confident. You can be nervous and yourself at the same time. If you get a sense of who they really are, I love that."
Any dating advice for the singles out there?
"If you're going on a date, make it very casual like a 6pm coffee or an after work coffee. Then, when they come around and say 'are you ok for anything else?', if it's a good date, you can say 'actually we're probably going to go on for a drink' - that's very smooth and sexy - and if it's not a good date, you can say 'no, were going to leave it', and it's an easy way out."
"On the date with Michael Fry we said that a good way to get out of a bad date is to say: 'What are you doing after this?'. It's casual and just like, 'I'm flying off, I have somewhere else to be, nice to meet you'."
Any good date spots in Dublin?
"The Bray to Greystones cliff walk is lovely. Something like that, with a little bit of a journey can be fun because people get to know each other better when there's a journey."
Watch Love Bites on RTÉ Player now.