Once a year, we carry out an online survey amongst our Lovestruckers to learn more about what’s important when it comes to dating and relationships. Over 2,700 of our London members completed the survey. Here are the key statistics from the survey accompanied by a few tips to maximise your chances for a successful first date and beyond!
When presented with the options of ‘coffee’, ‘lunch’, ‘after-work’ or ‘evening’ dates, 67% of Lovestruckers still prefer the traditional evening date. That said, the older daters (35+) are twice as likely to agree to a lunch date. 30% more women than men prefer to meet straight after work, suggesting that women tend to have a ‘checklist’ that, if not met, means their whole evening is not wasted.
The traditional evening date can be a major time and financial sacrifice. If there’s no spark (you can’t test chemistry over the internet – yet) then three gruelling hours lay ahead. Try a lunch date – in theory they can save time, money and are arguably safer.
Who pays and how much?
When presented with the options of ‘£10 or less’, ‘£30’, ‘£50’, ‘£100’ or more than £100, over 40% chose £30 as the amount that they are prepared to spend on a first date. Just pipping ‘£50’ to second place, 19% suggested going dutch (but women were almost three times more likely to say that). So it appears that even in an age of equality, the vast majority of men expect to pay and the vast majority of women expect men to pay for the first date. The older dates (35+) are 3 times more likely to spend £100+ than under 35s.
Who said chivalry is dead? Even though a quarter of women we surveyed would be happy to go dutch, it appears that men still like to pay for the first date. So gents, don’t conveniently forget your wallets and make sure you have at least £50 to hand.
When presented with the options ‘Instantly’, ‘Within 3 minutes’, ‘10 minutes’, ‘30 mins’ or ‘at the end of the date’, an astonishing 50% can tell if the chemistry is there within 10 minutes – 75% within half an hour. Plus, women are twice as likely to be able to tell instantly! The ability to tell instantly also increases with age – 35+s are three times more likely to be able to tell instantly.
First impressions count, so make it work in your favour by whatever means necessary. And with over three quarters of Lovestruckers able to gauge the attraction within 30 minutes, the advice here is definitely to agree to keep first dates short. You can always extend it there and then if you know the feeling’s mutual, so go for the after-work drink over the evening date.
Personal hygiene (93%), a sense of humour (85%) and good manners (81%) are essential for all ages – but far more so for women. In addition, far more things matter to women when choosing a partner – good shoes, success, wealth, kindness, generosity and height. In fact, women are four times more likely to consider height an issue than men. That said, men are three times more likely to find a good face essential (almost 50%, women 19%) and FIVE times more likely to find a gorgeous body essential (31% men to 6% women). Being successful/rich and/or ambitious declines in importance with age, and being clever is more important for women but declines with age.
According to our survey, it appears that the stereotypes still prevail – men are primarily concerned with the appearance of their partner, whilst women look for far more in a man. Our advice is not to eschew the above statistics and aim to improve every element in your power in order to improve your chances.
Body odour (92%), bad breath (90%) and rudeness (93%) are, unsurprisingly, key deal breakers on first dates. Nose-picking (86%) and constant phone-checking (75%) are not far behind. It appears that daters are willing to forgive the inability to dance (7%), bill-splitting tendencies (21%) and lack of confidence (34%) the most. Younger age groups are happier to split the bill, whereas any tolerance for lateness declines with age. Men were more far more tolerant in each category – apart from a funny voice (58%), when they’ll order a taxi straightaway. Men are also much more likely to forgive a hideous laugh, a bad kisser, lack of confidence, bill-splitting tendencies and lateness.
Put simply, there are far more potential pitfalls for the male of the species. Men, turn up clean, fresh, polite and phone-free! And even if you can’t dance, any effort to do so will be appreciated. If you feel the need to split the bill, then your chances of success decline with age. Of course, being nervous is quite normal on first dates, but do your best to mask it. Be early, hold open doors and pull back chairs. Offer a compliment: women spend longer than men realise to look that attractive, so notice something that’s not too personal: ‘you smell nice’, ‘you look nice’. Don’t boast. Woman can’t stand a show-off. It’s the wrong side of confidence. If you’re great, they’ll quickly work that out for themselves.
Three is the magic number – over 36% expect to sleep together on the first date, with 62% having done it by the third date. Under 30s are likely do it sooner than over 30s.
The stats say it all – if you like each other, then the third date is your best chance to get together. If, of course, the woman wants to wait a little longer, then so be it –Gentlemen, patience is a virtue! That said, the longer someone remains in the ‘friend zone’ the more likely they’ll stay in the ‘friend zone’.
It’s not you, it’s me
When it came to letting the date know that they’re not interested, our survey said that texting (33%) or a face-to-face explanation (32%) were the most popular ways. The cold shoulder (14%) – ignore all texts, emails, phone calls, etc. was third most common tactic. Men prefer face-to-face but no explanation (35%), whereas women prefer the text route (39%). 35s+ are far more likely to say it face-to-face or email, whereas 42% of under 30s are more likely to let someone down via the text. Under 30s are three times more likely to ignore them completely.
Whilst the general consensus is that a text is sufficient to tell the other person, be respectful of their feelings and, like Billy Beane in Moneyball, make it as quick and painless as possible. Although more and more of the younger daters are opting for the ‘freeze-out’, it should not be encouraged as what goes around comes around.
Hopefully that’s provided you with a few useful tips to maximise your chances on a first date. However, all of this is in vain if you don’t ask the person out, so carpe diem and make the first move! As ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said ‘I miss 100% of the shots I don’t take.’