I am a very poor example of a woman.
I do not sew. I get no satisfaction out of cleaning. I have zero interest in gardening, flower arranging or drawing (unless it’s a large cock on a steamed up window).
I still find farts hilarious and am perpetually told off by my parents for ‘poo talk at the dinner table’.
Shopping bores me. Babies scare me.
I don’t watch rom coms, unless they are worthy of a good perv.
(For example, in Pride and Prejudice when Colin Firth emerges all hot and bothered from the lake with his shirt stuck to him- episode 4, 32 minutes in).
I have the alcohol tolerance of an ox and the mouth of a fishwife. I shall never forget the look on my friends face when I casually described a guys penis as his ‘raging bell end’.
However, the one area where I truly fall short in womanhood is the cookery department.
I hate cooking. I simply do not see the joy in it. My few optimistic attempts have resulted in me tearfully smacking the hob with a rolling pin and having to retire to my bed with smelling salts.
Having grown such a complex about my arch nemesis- THE OVEN- that I had started throwing it dirty looks and muttering ‘bitch’ under my breath every time I walked past, I decided it was time to do something about it.
Did I buy a beginners recipe book? No.
Book myself onto a crash cookery course, perhaps? No, no.
I decided that the only logical solution to my problem would be to ENTER A COOKERY COMPETITION ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.
The premise of the programme is simple.
A woman is set up on a blind date with a man and must cook him a three course meal, winning him over with her sparkling wit and dazzling culinary talents.
Oh that man. That poor, poor man.
The thing is, I never expected to get through.
When filling in my application form (fortified by several gins and an uncooked pop tart) I made very clear that the sum total of my cooking experience amounted to that of opening a tin of Chappie for my dog.
And that my last date (in a very posh Japanese restaurant) had resulted in me drunkenly flinging a piece of sushi over my shoulder and tying my napkin round my head to do my impression of Mother Teresa.
But they bloody lapped it up.
During my audition, the cameraman laughed so hard that he actually shot tea out his nose and had to retire to the balcony for some fresh air.
Admittedly, I was a little candid with my answers:
‘Describe your ideal man in two words?’
‘What is your favourite dish?’
‘Fruit salad. But just the grapes. That have been fermented into wine’.
I think it was the final question that finished him off:
‘How far would you be prepared to go for a first date?’
‘Oh gosh I’m not sure, ummm… A kiss and a cheeky finger perhaps?’
‘…. I meant travel wise’
And so I was shortlisted for the programme.
My first task was to compose a winning menu.
‘I’M GOING TO DO A MEXICAN THEME!’ I announced to my friends at the pub, triumphantly slamming my gin down on the table.
‘Good god, think of the possibilities! Sombrero’s, tequila, pinata’s, comedy moustache’s… What’s not to love?’
‘But Gabby, what food are you going to-‘
‘I could even perform an authentic Mexican dance! WITH MARACA’S!’
Blindly ignoring everyone’s protestations, I proceeded to draw up my menu.
Now if there’s one thing I love, it’s a sexual innuendo. I have the body of a young woman paired with the brain of a pervy Uncle.
One of my most mortifying memories is at a job interview to work as a part time receptionist.
‘Now then’ the manager explained ‘Everyone who works here is extremely busy. I won’t be able to be on top of you 24/7’.
‘SAID THE TART TO THE VICAR! HA HA HA’ I nervously blurted out.
Needless to say, I did not receive the job.
And so, sat with a large glass of wine, I proceeded to write the most perverted menu known to mankind. Which was promptly sent back for being ‘too explicit’.
‘How on earth could you think ‘stick your churro in my chocolate sauce’ would be ok?’ my horrified friend asked. ‘And ‘stuff my piñata?!’
Yet by some miracle, after some hasty editing, my sordid little menu was selected.
I WAS GOING ON THE SHOW.
‘You know what?’ I smiled to my housemate ‘This programme could be the making of me. Not only am I FINALLY going to learn how to cook but there’s a slight chance that I might actually meet the man of my dreams. I think this is the best decision that I have ever made’.
Cue one month later.
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAVE I AGREED TO?!!!
It is the night before filming and I am about to have a panic attack.
I have not practised a single dish.
I still don’t know what the fuck a quesadilla is.
The sum total of my ingredients amounts to a bottle of tequila, a piñata and lifesize cut out Mexican man.
The only way that I can stop myself from having a complete nervous breakdown is by watching re-runs of Family Guy, whilst rhythmically stuffing jelly babies up the piñata’s arse.
After a hasty ASDA shop and a fitful nights sleep, where I dreamt that my arms turned into giant burritos, the dreaded morning came.
To start with, I kept it together pretty well.
I confidently arranged all my saucepans on the counter and weighed out the ingredients as if I had a clue as to what the hell I was doing.
Then things got a little… feverish.
With three large lights trained on me and all the windows shut in the flat (to drown out the noise of the sailing club opposite blaring out ‘YMCA’) the temperature in the flat had risen to about 30 degrees. And I was getting a little flustered.
‘I will start by getting my chicken out the fridge’ I smiled confidently at the camera, sticking my head inside for a moments blessed relief.
The thing is, I had never actually handled a raw chicken before.
And it REPULSED me.
I felt my stomach do a worrying flip.
‘I’m going to be cutting the chicken into bite-size chunks for my fajita mix’ I explained, trying to ignore the assortment of black spots appearing in front of my eyes.
I shakily layed out the wobbling monstrosity on the chopping board and stared at it for a few seconds, breathing deeply.
A dark fog started to descend.
‘And now’ I smiled deliriously at the cameraman through chattering teeth ‘I shall slice the chicken with my trusty carving knife!’
The next thing I remember is being hauled up from the chopping board by the director, with a chunk of raw chicken swinging jauntily from my fringe.
The lovely camera team then proceeded to carry me to my bedroom, with a cold flannel.
This is where the further embarrassment lay.
I normally keep my bedroom in reasonably good shape.
But lately, things had got a little ‘slack’. To the point where Stig of the Dump would not have been seen dead in it.
‘JESUS’ the cameraman swore, skidding on an old plate of spaghetti.
Another stifled a small scream at the sight of the very life-like stuffed gorilla sat in the corner of the room.
‘Oh, don’t mind Nigel!’ I smiled, hastily shoving a packet of Wind-Eaze into my bedside draw and turning over a framed photo of me cradling our prized family pig.
I never got to meet my date.
I was instead driven in the back of the film van to the nearest walk in clinic to get my head looked at. (By that, I mean the bump on my head. Not my mental state. Although that is probably something that I should also look into).
I have taken three things away from this experience.
1. I must never again attempt to cook a raw chicken. I am going to stick to what I know- cuddling them, brushing them and thinking up hilarious pet names for them, such as Princess Layer.
2. I am quite possibly a sexual pervert and need to seek professional help.
3. I must hastily retract my application to appear on Masterchef.