Channel 4’s First Dates used to be a bit of light-hearted fun of a weekday evening – but this series has made a point of introducing us to incredible people with stories that truly make us think. Over the past few weeks, we’ve met alopecia sufferer Eve, lonely pensioner Raymon, domestic abuse victim Bonnie, and cancer survivor Sarah.
And last night’s episode (16 May) was no different, as 63-year-old Maggie took centre stage to talk about how the Iraq/Iran war tore her away from her first love.
Sitting down for dinner with 70-year-old detective, Alistair, Maggie appeared confident, relaxed, and well within her element. And, when her date probed her about her past, the violinist said confidingly: “Some years ago, I was working as an international secretary out in the Middle East.”
Noting his surprise, Maggie wryly added: “I had many different lives, Alistair, in many different countries.”
Alistair smiled at her comment, before gesturing that she should continue with her story. And the tale she shared left the 70-year-old detective – and viewers watching at home – completely floored.
“I fell in love with an Iranian, and lived as an Iranian wife,” said Maggie.
“We weren't allowed [to marry]. His family was Jewish and I wasn't.”
Smiling as she recalled her first love, Maggie continued: “When you’re in your twenties, you’re so idealistic and you’ll do anything for love. Only his close family knew that we weren’t married, because it was against the law.
“To the neighbours, we had to say that we were married. He was my showhar, my husband.”
Tragically, however, Maggie’s story had an unhappy ending.
“After the revolution started and they shot up the British Embassy, he came to London and we lived in London for about six months,” she explained. “And then he had to go back, and then it was the Iran/Iraq war.”
Visibly emotional, Maggie continued: “Knowing how unstable everything was, I took the decision to stay in London. It broke his heart, it broke my heart – it took me decades to get over it.
“I put up this façade for everyone else, but inside I was dead, and dying, and cracked.”
When quizzed by Alistair as to why she had made the decision to appear on the Channel 4 show, Maggie continued: “I’m looking for someone to share my life, to share the things I do.”
While Maggie and Alistair decided that they weren’t a match, viewers at home completely lost their hearts to the outspoken violinist – with many insisting that they would love nothing more than to “be” her when they grew older.
I want to be Maggie when I'm older #FirstDates— Hayley Ellis (@Hayleyellis91) May 16, 2017
Maggie is everything I hope to be... #firstdates— Aimee Lauren James (@Aimus_Jamus) May 16, 2017
I want to be Maggie. She is the woman I one day want to be. She is my life goal. #FirstDates— Morven MacDonald ✨ (@morvmacd) May 16, 2017
Others, however, balked at the idea of a woman who knows her own mind – and insisted that she was “arrogant” and “in love with herself”.
“Not sure anyone could love Maggie as much as Maggie loves Maggie,” wrote one.
This epic response to the ‘haters’ pretty much sums up our feelings on the matter:
Anyone who thinks Maggie is arrogant is simply insecure- she's simply a woman who knows what she wants. Haters gonna hate! #FirstDates— Ash (@The_Luopean) May 16, 2017
“Anyone who thinks Maggie is arrogant is simply insecure,” they wrote. “She’s simply a woman who knows what she wants.”
And then, because it wouldn’t be worth tweeting without a catchy one-liner, they added: “Haters gonna hate!”
Images: Channel 4