I hope we weren’t the only people glued to Love Trap, a Channel Four series which finished yesterday evening but which you can watch again on the internet in the UK on Four on Demand. Five unsuspecting men thought they were all being filmed on a blind date with a gorgeous Swedish girl, Carolina. What they didn’t know is that they were part of an “experiment” to determine whether men from different cultures did loving and wooing differently, and that the same Swedish girl was putting all five through the same tests. She wanted them to be chivalrous, good cooks, polite to her parents, brave when her bag was attached, romantic in the park, trustworthy when she wouldn’t let them see risqué pictures of her and then left the room, game – when she took them to a nude mixed sauna or got them roller blading round Regents Park, caring and considerate – when her heel broke, and so on.
The Brit won – couldn’t put a foot wrong. He was closely followed by the German. The Ugandan came nowhere despite having carried her all the way home when her heel broke, possibly because she watched him on a secret camera talking on the phone to his girlfriend back home and using exactly the same language he had just used to her. The Italian was a big disappointment all round until the bag was snatched and then he grew giant-like in stature and a white charger appeared out of nowhere.
As for the Australian … all the others had brought over a “love adviser” who was a best friend, and well versed in the ways of the fairer sex if not womanising. The Australian brought his grandfather, and butchered Waltzing Matilda in front of her parents, thought wearing her pink tights on his head was a good fashion move, that “belly full of grub” was ripe for inclusion in a love sonnet, and got so excited about the thought of those risqué pictures that he will forever live in shame if he ever sees his performance.
The “experiment” proved nothing at all except that there are good men and bad men, funny men and stupid men, boring men, brave men and cowards, imaginative men and half-hearted men, but that – with the exception of Italians apparently, they all love Swedish blondes unconditionally.
Here’s my preferred version of Waltzing Matilda. I still remember hearing Tom Waits’ growl for the first time almost thirty years ago … and I still can’t think of anybody I’d prefer to listen to late at night.