Jodie Batey, the lesbian bachelor who stole hearts on “First Dates”

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Jodie Batey is a 29-year-old tattooed and pierced “postie” (or mail carrier, as we might say in the U.S.) and she’s looking for love. On Season 3 of UK reality series First Dates, Jodie tries her luck in finding a girl with “good eyebrows” when she’s set up with Laura, a 28-year-old gay woman who not only has great brows (Jodie approves) but a piercing of her own. Superficially, these two could be a match, especially when Laura says she likes tomboys and Jodie notes that her mom always saw her as “cowboy rather than a cowgirl.” 

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It may be voyeuristic (what reality TV isn’t?) but First Dates is cool in that it feels way less scripted than other matchmaking shows. Watching Jodie and Laura discuss their coming outs, their relationships with their families and their cats over dinner and drinks is endearing and relatable for any queer woman who has ever been set up with a stranger. There are awkward moments but then there are moments of connection, laughs and mutual understandings over growing up gay and how it inevitably makes you different from most of the world around you. (Especially for Jodie, who grew up in a small district called Byker located in Newcastle, England.)

Despite their getting on well, Laura says “We’ll probably get on as mates,” which crushes any romantic hopes for Jodie, who clearly wanted more. “There was more banter than flirting,” Laura explains, and the moment is all too real for any queer lady who has ever gotten friend zoned.

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Producers of First Dates brought Jodie back for a second go, and this week, she went on a date with Louise, another beautiful pierced femme. 

“I purposely made an effort to ask her questions and compliment her and do all the things I fucked up on the last date,” Jodie says.

Louise says she like tomboys and Jodie likes Louise’s eyebrows, so things seem to be going well. Jodie thinks Louise is out of her league and gets a big surprise (and huge smile) when Louise says she’d like to see her again. They go out for a drink even after their date is supposedly over, and they kiss (off-camera). Sadly, an update with Jodie since lets us know they are “still in touch, as friends.” 

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Since appearing on the show (twice), Jodie has become kind of a star. 

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” she told The Chronicle. “Who knew me getting drunk and swearing a lot would be so popular, especially I didn’t even set out to be on it!”

Jodie said she applied for the show on a whim while drinking with some friends and now she’s gotten all kinds of messages and new friends on social media.

“I’m still going through them all. Bar about seven things I’ve read, everyone has been so supportive and I have loads of people messaging me to say they hope I find the one,” she said. “The one that really shocked me was on I got on Facebook from a lady whose daughter came out as lesbian last year. She said seeing me had given her daughter a bit more confidence to talk about things–who knew me going on TV, getting drunk and trying to chat people up would have such a positive impact.”

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As much as people love to loathe reality television, it’s become a part of our social fabric, for better or for worse. There’s a plethora of dating shows on air, but it’s still very rare that they focus on dates between two women. (Even First Dates only does a lesbian pairing every once in a while.) Shows in the U.S. like Millionaire Matchmaker are set-up from the get-go, which means the conversations and courtship are not true depictions of what it’s like to actually be a gay woman trying to find her match. Watching Jodie on her two First Dates was much more honest, from the cute to the the cringe-worthy. That’s dating! Dinner and a drink vs. a competition with other women for the heart of someone that has been selected as winnable.

Perhaps that’s why Jodie has become a sensation in the UK, for opening herself up in a real way on national TV. Despite the progress we’ve made in entertainment and media, depictions of tomboyish lesbians are still few and far between, so seeing Jodie become a recognizable face for that kind of real woman is still a radical kind of act. Because of that, she’ll likely have no issues finding dates in the near future.

Follow Jodie on Twitter and Instagram.

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