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‘I was on Married At First Sight and this is what it’s ACTUALLY like’

Married At First Sight, the Channel 4 show which aims to match people on their scientific compatibility, is the nation’s current obsession.Clark met – and married – Melissa for the first time, surrounded by family and friends (and a camera crew!) in June 2016, when taking part in series two.

Although the general public were rooting for their relationship, Clarissa didn’t quite get their happily ever after. In fact, following their honeymoon in Ibiza, a six-week stint in an Airbnb in East Finchley (paid for by Channel 4), and a month move to Milton Keynes, Clark asked for a divorce at the end of September 2016.

18-months on, he looks back on the experience, and reveals what it’s ACTUALLY like to be on Married At First Sight

‘The advert for a social experiment came up on Tinder’ “I was hungover and flicking through Tinder, and something popped up that said, ‘Do you want to be part of a social experiment with Channel 4?’ On a whim I emailed across a photo, my age, all those standard formalities, and thought nothing of it when I received a response that said, ‘Due to high volumes of applications you probably won’t hear anything, but thank you for responding’. “9am the following Monday, I got a phone call saying ‘Clark, we’re really interested in your profile.

Can you talk us through your story, who you are, all that kind of stuff’.” ‘I didn’t know it was Married At First Sight until I was deep in the process’ “When they asked me the questions, they said, ‘We’re a production company.

We’re doing a screening for a Channel 4 programme. We want to talk to you about you, your dating history, that’s what it’s going to revolve around’. I didn’t know what it was for until after they had tested me for video screening.

You’re far enough into the process not to turn back when they tell you it’s Married At First Sight. “Nobody’s forcing you to go through with the process, but there are definitely pressures. You feel like you’re too far in to back out.

I would talk to people about it and nine times out of 10 they thought it was a terrible idea.” MORE: HOW COUPLES GETTING MARRIED ON THE SAME DAY AS THE ROYAL WEDDING REALLY FEEL ABOUT IT

‘Producers never really explain what the scientific tests are for’ “The science day was, if I’m honest, pretty pointless. I understand it probably all makes sense, but it was never explained to us how it makes sense and how we were matched on the scientific perspective.

They measure your height, your shoulder to waist ratio, the size of your index fingers, all of that, but I kind of felt like, ‘OK, how does this actually have any impact on a future relationship in this day and age?'” ‘The questionnaire that you’re matched on is incredibly detailed’ “It was a 500 question questionnaire that goes through your likes, your don’t likes, all the intricate pieces of information about you.

Your religious views, your political views, what you find attractive, your sexual history, are you sexually active. If you want to match with someone of the same ilk as you, you’d like to think they match you on the same morals and what you’ve said when you’re doing it.” ‘Your social media is hidden during the build up to the show’

“I had no interest in getting to know the other couples. You never meet anyone else in the process – during the science day you meet a couple of other people, but you never meet any of the other couples throughout the whole programme. There’s no crossover.

All your social media is hidden, there’s no way you can find anyone. I had no interest in it, though, because once I watched the programme I knew for a fact I wouldn’t get on with these people and they wouldn’t be my friends – that’s not horrible to them, we’re just very different people.” ‘There’s a small budget for the wedding dress, and stag-dos’

“But there’s no financial gain from going on the show. There’s budget for things – her wedding dress, a small budget for the suits. There’s some money for hen-do and stag-dos, but it was mainly out of my pocket.

I think they put money towards travel or something. But there was genuinely no monetary gain. Lots of people think, ‘No one would do that for free’, but actually I spent quite a lot of money on the process.”

‘You choose the wedding you want from a powerpoint presentation of options’ “There are six options of lots of different things – type of food, music, style and theme of wedding.

Everything that I chose didn’t get picked! Everything was chosen by her. None of my decisions were considered.

From what I understand, Melissa got what she wanted for the wedding – but I believe the wedding day is about the woman anyway, so it was fine.” ‘You can only invite a limited number of people’ “You also have a guest limit – I was only allowed to invite 20 people.

It definitely caused some friction with some of the family members! The whole day for me was a bit of a blur, it happened quickly but not memorably. It’s really hard to explain.

The day started at 9am with my groomsmen getting ready, it didn’t sink in until the taxi on the way there. I was nervous standing in the room waiting to meet her family; my side was packed out with friends and family as much as possible.”

MORE: THIS IS THE NEW FAVOURITE NAME FOR THE DUKE AND DUCHESS’S THIRD CHILD, ACCORDING TO BOOKMAKERS ‘We had to say ‘I Do’ twice for different camera angles’ “Obviously there were production people giving you directions of where to sit, where to stand, where to go on the wedding day.

We had to repeat our lines – our vows to each other – a couple of times, and say ‘I Do’ for different camera angles. “It didn’t ever feel forced, though. I had a great team and camera crew from Channel 4.

They were fantastic. There were times when we got frustrated with each other when they were getting heavily involved when I was trying to chill out for the afternoon, but actually I struck up a friendship with them. After the show, I realised that they were doing it for the show.

They were just doing their jobs.” ‘We both think we were matched with other people before each other’ “They asked me in the questionnaire to define ‘my type’, and you have to detail the height you like, body type, tattoos, all these sorts of things.

I put high on my criteria that they had to be at least 5ft 5″ to 6ft, and Melissa is 5ft. I’m 6ft3″. So I did feel like they hadn’t really matched us on my criteria.

“We both think we were matched with other people before and they pulled out half way through the process. We spoke about it, I genuinely believe that’s the case. When I decided I didn’t want to be with her anymore, it became quite apparent that we weren’t meant to be a match.”

‘You were meant to live in London to apply for the process’ “I think you were meant to live in London to be part of the process, but Melissa didn’t say she was moving back to Milton Keynes in her application. One of the guys was from Bournemouth, one of the guys was from Bromley.

There was no real thought behind where we were living. I think Channel 4 massively messed up because our lives were never going to work together.” ‘We had Skype counselling with the relationship advisor from the show, but it wasn’t very good’

“When we had our first big issue, we did a Skype counselling session with Channel 4’s relationship advisor, Jo. And we talked through and explained the situation to her, and I just didn’t feel supported. I didn’t feel like it was worthwhile, it was rubbish.

It didn’t have any positive impact on the marriage – if anything it made me resent the situation more.” ‘I hadn’t seen her for a year when we got a divorce’

“The divorce was an easy process. I went in to sign a couple of papers in June 2017, and then I had to sign some more in September, and then the divorce went through on November 13th 2017. I didn’t see her in that time at all – the last time I saw her was in October 2016, when she left me in the flat in Milton Keynes.”

‘Channel 4 set budget aside for the divorce’ “You have to let producers know when you want a divorce – budget was already set aside for it. The money was already in place when they put the bid in for the programme.

“You have to legally be married for a year before you can apply for a divorce, so I had to wait until June 19 2017 before I could apply for a divorce. When I sat down with the production crew and explained to them why I was making my decision, they understood, they apologised, they said they were sorry they didn’t support me. There was some support from the relationship counsellor Jo in the beginning, and that was it.”

‘They asked me to go through the ins and outs of the break up on camera’ “During the series, there’s an episode where I was in a pub with my best friend, and before filming started I just lost it and reeled through everything [that had gone wrong in the relationship], and the camera man was like, ‘You need to say this on camera’, and I was like, ‘There’s no way in hell I’m saying all of this on camera.

One, it’ll make me look like an arsehole, and two, I would never want to put Melissa in a situation where it has an impact on her’.” ‘The process never felt fake, but it was very full on for six months up until the wedding, and then no support afterwards’ “It was 100 per cent real.

It was very straight lace. Everything had a process, everything was being done, but as soon as you were married, you were left to your own devices as a married couple for a few weeks. You go on honeymoon, you move back to the apartment they rent for you.

You’re now living with a complete and utter stranger, which is fine, and the camera crew pop in once, twice, three times a week to talk to you to see how everything’s going, but that’s it. “I felt like there should be more to it. I felt like there should be more actions around helping develop the relationship – there was no support [from production] in helping to develop the relationship.”

Married At First Sight Series 3 continues every Thursday at 9pm. MORE: CORONATION STREET STAR ALAN HALSALL SHARES HIS AMAZING HAIR TRANSFORMATION (Via Cosmopolitan UK)

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Asda is ‘now putting Perfect for Proposal’ stickers on its avocados for new trend

Has the world finally taken their love affair with the humble avocado a step too far? Following reports that millennials are popping the question with an engagement ring stuck inside the centre of the creamy fruit, Asda Clapham has introduced a new ‘Perfect for Proposal’ avocado sticker system for select avocados.The proposal trend – which involves cutting an avocado in half to look like a box and then hiding an engagement ring inside – has prompted Asda’s new proposal sticker system which will help Brits to pick the ideal proposal fruit by clearly displaying the perfect avocados to help guide loved-up Brits down the [fruit and veg?] aisle.

The avocados, selected by Adrian Kurzynski, Asda Clapham’s Avocado Expert, are chosen based on an avocado-friendly ‘Four Cs’, designed to reflect the guide diamond experts follow when it comes to ring shopping:

Colour – hue is key. If you’re looking for an avocado to propose with immediately, pick one with dark green to purple-y or brown skin Complexion – firm but malleable outer-casing, free from scratches or blemishes, with a bumpy alligator-like skin will look the part.

Use the thumbprint test to determine firmness MORE: AN EASY TRICK TO LINE YOUR CAKE TIN LIKE A PRO Cut – choose a perfect pear-shaped avocado to slice vertically straight down each side through the middle until you hit the pit, making a symmetrical cut.

To extract the pit, slide a spoon between the seed and the fruit, and gently work it out of the flesh, leaving a perfect circle for the ring to take centre-stage Creaminess – a soft, smashable flesh, but not over-ripe, as it will risk mess on the ring. Best to opt for a firm feel to cushion the ring in place and keep it standing proudly

Mr Kurzynski added: “We want to help ready-to-propose customers find the perfect avocado to make loved ones say, ‘I avocaDO’. Whilst all our avocados are of a high quality and perfect for smashing on toast, it takes a keen eye to identify those that embody the Four Cs, so our new labelling system aims to help make the proposal process that much easier for those following the trend.

“From a soft, yet firm avocado to keep the ring in place, to a perfect pear-shape that allows for symmetrical slicing, our ‘Perfect for Proposal’ sticker system will help the increasing number of avocado proposals go as smoothly as the flesh of the fruit they’re holding.”

Asda’s ‘Perfect for Proposal’ avocados will roll-out from today in its Clapham Junction superstore, with prices starting from the usual price of 50p for a single avocado. We just hope they’re still being eaten afterwards.

MORE: NESTLE ARE LAUNCHING A LUXURY KITKAT

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Airbnb is getting all fancy

CEO Brian Chesky announced several new Airbnb features at an event at San Francisco’s Masonic theater.

James Martin/CNET

Airbnb wants to have more than 1 billion people staying in its rentals by 2028. That’s one-seventh of the world’s population — or the populations of the US and Europe combined. To get there, the lodgings company is doing a major overhaul, which it unveiled at an event in San Francisco’s Masonic theater on Thursday.

Along with making its website more user friendly, it’s adding four new types of rentals, high-end tiers for wealthier travelers, and more rental categories to choose from. “Over the last 10 years a lot has changed,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky told the crowd at the Masonic. “Airbnb is still an alternative, but it’s still not for everyone … Today we will show you our road map: Airbnb for everyone.”

Now Playing: Watch this: Airbnb wants to be a place for ‘everyone’

4:41

Airbnb has gone from a website for couch surfers to having a massive online presence in just under a decade.

It lists roughly 4.5 million homes for rent in more than 81,000 cities. But that growth has come with increasing scrutiny from city regulators. The company has battled local governments from San Francisco to New York to London.

Though it’s worked out deals with many of those regulators, it’s had to scale down its offerings and adjust to rules that require hosts to register with cities and that curb how many nights a year people can rent out a home. That means Airbnb has needed to rethink its business to stay competitive with hotels and similar sites like VRBO vacation rentals. Over the past couple of years, it’s expanded from offering homes for short-term rentals to letting travelers book day trips and restaurant reservations.

It’s also partnered with major landlords in California and Florida that allow for Airbnb rentals through their buildings. The company’s newest revamp includes several features. It’s specifying four new property types: vacation home, unique space, B&B and boutique hotel.

Unique spaces include things like tree houses, yurts and Airstream trailers, while boutique hotels would be nonchain hotels. Airbnb said it’s differentiating these listings so people will be able to more easily choose the best match for their preferences.

Airbnb Plus is one of the company’s new high-end types of rentals.

James Martin/CNET

The company is also adding two new high-end tiers: Airbnb Plus and “Beyond by Airbnb.” Chesky said Plus is for guests “looking for beautiful homes” that have “exceptional hosts.” All of these listings are verified by the company. “Beyond by Airbnb” goes one level higher, with full-on luxury stays that include “some of the world’s nicest homes,” Chesky said.

These include everything from villas in Tuscany to ski-in, ski-out lodges in Aspen. Jennifer King, who was in the audience at Thursday’s event, said she listed her two high-end homes in San Francisco and Maine on Airbnb Plus. She said that when Airbnb verified her homes, “they came and literally opened every drawer.” They made sure she had the right pots and pans and carbon monoxide detectors.

“It was to the nth degree,” she said. “For the creme de la creme.” Finally, Airbnb announced at its event that it’s redesigning its website to include more personalized collections for travelers to choose from. Currently people need to scroll through listings to find what’s right for them, but with more collections they’ll be able to choose from categories like weddings, travel for work, group getaways and dinner parties.

“We think we finally do have a home for everyone,” Chesky said. “I’m really excited to see what the next 10 years look like.” First published Feb.

22, 9:31 a.m. PT. Update, 2:31 p.m.

PT: Adds more details about the event and background information.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition. Life, disrupted: In Europe, millions of refugees are still searching for a safe place to settle. Tech should be part of the solution.

But is it?

From horror fests to shoot-’em-ups, here are the 20 best Oculus Rift games

The Oculus Rift had a tough go of it out of the gate. Delayed shipments and a sparse library of games made its first six months on the market rocky, to say the least. Then, in late 2016, the delayed Oculus Touch controllers arrived, upping the impressiveness of most games by giving players full motion control with each hand.

Now, well into its second year of life, the Oculus Rift continues to impress with a steady stream of solid experiences. From first-person shooters to frightful psychological horror games to quirky puzzlers to co-op games, the platform has something for everyone. We’ve combed through its library to compile the best Oculus Rift games available on the VR headset today.

Lone Echo

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Numerous VR experiences have attempted to capture the feeling of floating in space, but the Oculus exclusive title Lone Echo is the only one to do it in a way that feels accurate.

In reality, most of your actions involve simple maintenance fixes to a space station, but through the excellent Oculus Touch controllers, all of your movements have an immersion to them that few VR games have been able to replicate thus far. With a strong sci-fi story and a wonderfully realized space setting, Lone Echo‘s several hours of play are the best way to visit space from your living room. Amazon

Wilson’s Heart

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One of the more ambitious Oculus Rift games to date, Wilson’s Heart serves up psychological horror through the immersive experience of VR.

Set in the 1940s, the game follows hospital patient Robert Wilson, who wakes up only to realize that his heart has been replaced by a perplexing device. You play as Wilson, but you’re not the only one with disturbing woes. As you make your way down spooky, tight corridors, you’ll meet an eccentric cast of characters, all of whom want to find out how and why they have been poked and prodded by the dastardly hospital staff.

Full of jump scares and eerie realizations, Wilson’s Heart makes great use of the Touch controllers to get you into the thick of its mind-altering horrors. Amazon

Superhot VR

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Conceived as an alternate expression of experimental first-person shooter Superhot, Superhot VR adapts the stop-motion mechanic to your arms as you wield Oculus Touch controllers. When you move your hands around, the bullets rain in from enemies, but if you stop to consider your next move, you’ll receive a welcome bullet remission.

The goal remains the same — to advance to the exit in each room — but in VR, the intensity is amplified. Dismembering foes in VR will get your blood pumping. You must move your hands methodically to succeed, but Superhot VR‘s ingenious design makes it a constant delight.

Amazon

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

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A testament to how VR excels at turning menial tasks into engaging, even sometimes transformative experiences, Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives pretty much plays as advertised. Yet, the mundane becomes fascinating in VR. Who would have thought?

The year is 2050, and humans have automated every job. To spice up your unburdened human life, you can now use a VR headset to simulate what “honest work” was all about. You can ring up chips and drinks as a convenience store clerk, fix cars as a mechanic, man the griddle as a short-order cook, or process paperwork as a run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 office worker.

Of course, this is what robots thought work was like, so it may be different and much funnier than you remember. Amazon

The Unspoken

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This is the closest you can get to being a wizard at home. Oculus exclusive The Unspoken from heralded developer Insomniac Games does an exceedingly impressive job of making you feel like you’re doing a lot of wizarding work without demanding much of you. The Unspoken is an urban fantasy filled with customizable wizards and spell casters, and you just happen to be one of them.

The wide array of spells deployed via Oculus Touch controllers almost feel as if they are truly being guided from your fingertips. There’s some exploration here and a dreary game world, but the meat of the experience comes from the duels that help you advance through the ranks of a wizard fight club. Unlike the fight club you’re thinking of, it’s okay to talk about this one.

We recommend you play it, too. Amazon

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

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Quite possibly the best multiplayer VR experience to date, Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets users play out their childhood fantasies of joining the likes of James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov as a member of a Starfleet crew.

Players work in teams of four, with each person in one of four roles — pilot, engineer, tactician, or captain. Each job — best acted out with an Oculus Touch controller, but playable with an Xbox One controller — asks players to tinker with a computer panel. Bridge Crew excels as a cooperative game due to the need to work together to find success. It really does feel like you’re living inside an episode of Star Trek.

Simply put, if you have a group to play with, Bridge Crew should be at the top of your wish list. Amazon

Robo Recall

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Originally designed as a pack-in game for the Oculus Touch controllers, Robo Recall is a frantic shoot-em-up designed to make it easy for you to look cool while blowing robots to bits. You play as Agent 34 of the robot manufacturing company RoboReady.

Your job at the company is to remove defective units from the production line, but a virus has turned the robots against their creators, and now you must take them out. While Robo Recall boils down to a series of timed shooting galleries, it’s much more interesting than your average on rails FPS. You can pick up enemies and fling them into other robots with a swipe of your hand, and you can even catch bullets in the air and whirl them back to turn the infected robots into nothing more than a pile of parts. Robo Recall shows off the brilliance of the Oculus Touch controllers.

Best of all, it’s free-to-play. Oculus

Arizona Sunshine

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One of the only full-fledged first person shooters available in VR, Arizona Sunshine drops you into the smoldering heat of an American Southwest that is currently littered with zombies. Using the Oculus Touch, you can aim, shoot, and reload dozens of weapons.

More open than other shooters in VR, Arizona Sunshine has a campaign mode that lets players explore the deserts and caves in search of an escape. After the campaign is finished, there are both single- and multiplayer horde modes, which force you to fight off hordes of the undead. Arizona Sunshine is a fast-paced gore-fest filled with bloodied, hungry zombies. It’s slick and demonstrates how the Oculus Rift can deliver complete packages with multiple game modes.

Amazon

Chronos

For people used to playing traditional video games and looking to ease into the world of VR, Chronos is a great option. An easy comparison is Dark Souls. It’s a game full of pitched sword duels in which you have to carefully land blows and defend against the attacks of your foes to stay alive. Chronos eschews the usual VR approach of the first-person viewpoint — in which you see the game through the eyes of the character you’re playing as — in favor of the third-person view, where you watch and control the action from a separate perspective, much like a camera recording an event. Oculus

Edge of Nowhere

Insomniac Games took a stab at doing horror in virtual reality in a way that’s different from nearly every other game of that genre on the platform.

Rather than go the usual route, using a first-person perspective that has you playing as if you’re in the shoes (and seeing through the eyes) of the protagonist, it puts the camera behind the main character, just like in Chronos.

The result is a more psychological, stealthy take on horror. Edge of Nowhere is another of those VR games that feels like it could easily exist as a more traditional game, but it does some experimentation with the platform to find new ways to scare players.

Oculus

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