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Arts & Culture
Southwest Orange Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 3 years ago

“Next! The Search for My Last First Date” by Robert James

Local author, Bob Thwaites, wrote a book about his online dating experiences, which is now in the process of being turned into a film
by: Brittany Gaines Reporter

DR. PHILLIPS Bob Thwaites never imagined he would re-enter the dating world as a 50-plus-year-old man. Not knowing where else to turn, he delved into the world of online dating and discovered that dating was anything but easy.

Every few weeks, it seemed like he had a new, bizarre dating story to share with his assistant at work. After listening to Thwaites’ hilarious dating fiascoes for weeks on end, his assistant suggested that he start writing his experiences down.

So he did. 

That was several years ago, and now he’s not only published his book, “Next! The Search for My Last First Date,” but it’s been picked up by producers in Hollywood and is in the process of being adapted into a film.

“I’ve got to keep pinching myself,” said Thwaites, who lives in Bay Hill.


The Book

For nearly three years, Thwaites endured the online dating realm, and after every bad date, he wrote down his experiences. 

“I thought that dating now would be like dating back then,” he said. “How things have changed.”

As he filled page after page with his stories, he realized he could easily turn his scribblings into a book.

“I never planned on writing a book,” he said.

He picked his favorite anecdotes - the dates that were funny, the ones that were embarrassing, even the ones that ended badly - and easily filled 60 chapters. Thwaites described the book as a series of short stories on dating from the man’s perspective.

One of his favorite chapters is Irish Pub. 

After his date was a no-show at a local Irish pub, Thwaites went to a quieter bar across the street for a glass of wine. When his date texted she was at the pub, he walked back to the restaurant to find his date. After finding her in the lobby, he recognized her - he had seen her when he had initially arrived but she was making out with someone else.

At her insistence, they sat at the bar and ordered beers, but when he excused himself to go to the bathroom, the woman - and the beers - vanished. 

“As I was driving off, I see her and her make-out buddy sitting on a bench drinking the two beers,” Thwaites said.

Looking back, Thwaites can laugh about his experiences, about the lady who talked to spirits or the one who turned their date into a babysitting session.

“You can’t read it without laughing out loud,” Thwaites said. “It’s funny.”

He self-published under a pseudonym, Robert James, and donates all the proceeds to Kids Beating Cancer.

Eventually, he did find the right person and get married again. It’s all about timing and chemistry, Thwaites said.


The Movie

During a charity event last year, Thwaites ran into a Hollywood producer and the two started chatting about Thwaites’ book. The producer expressed his interest in the story and told Thwaites to give him a call.

In a matter of weeks, the producer, screenwriter and Thwaites had met and began working on a screenplay. Thwaites, wanting to be involved in the process, made several trips to California.

Over the course of several months, Thwaites discovered that Hollywood works very differently than the rest of the world.

“It’s hurry up and wait,” Thwaites said. “Our time is very different from Hollywood time.”

The screenplay recently was completed, and although it is based on Thwaites’ book, he said the storyline is slightly different.

Since then, he’s been told that they’ve started casting for the roles and filming is expected to begin in spring 2018.

And if the movie does well, Thwaites said he plans to write a sequel.

For now, he’s just enjoying the experience and excited to see what Hollywood does with his story.

“I’m looking forward to walking the red carpet with all the actors and actresses,” he said.


Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].

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