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What singles thinks about dating

October 1998 Single Scene Newspaper, Phoenix Arizona

by Janet L. Jacobsen

As an "ice breaker" at a recent singles dance, we provided over 30 different survey questions, where people could take one, poll at least ten members of the opposite sex about the question, and then turn in the answers to be eligible for a drawing.

The questions mostly had to do with dating and relationship issues, and many people said they were interested in seeing the survey results. This is because most of us find it helpful to know what other people think, and how that might differ from what we think they think.

So here's our report on some of the dating-related questions. (Remember, this was not remotely scientific.) Not all questions got asked (or reported) of both sexes; some questions got asked by several people, others by only one. But for each of the following we had at least ten responses, many more in some cases.

HOW TO MEET

Men are more likely to have run a personal ad than women: 50% had placed a personal, compared to 20% of the women. But more women have answered ads than run them; 38% have answered a personal. Half the men had answered an ad.

Women seem to be getting away from needing to have a friend in tow in order to go out to meet people. When going out to meet people, how often do you go out alone? 30% of women never go out alone to meet new people; 10% said they go alone less than half the time, and 20% said about half the time. 10% go out alone more than half the time, and 30% said nearly always. (Unfortunately, no one turned in the men's responses to the question.)

MAKING A DATE

Should a person give their phone number to someone they don't want to date? Half the men said yes, half no. So apparently this group of men, at least, isn't feeling too "burned" about getting numbers from women who ultimately don't become dates. (No women's responses on the question.)

Do you think a woman should ask a man for his telephone number? 80% of the women said yes; no men's responses on the question.

Do you think a woman should ask a man for a date? 100% of the men said yes, but just 55% of the women agreed. Now here's an example of why in real research, you need a big sample. Two fellows asked this question: For one, just 20% of the women said no; for the other, 70% of the women said no.

Is it all right for a woman to ask a man on a date who she hasn't already dated? 100% of the men said yes, women should ask "new" men on dates. But only 55% of the women agreed.

ON THE DATE

When out on a date, it's normal to flirt a little with other people you encounter (waiter/waitress, etc). Only 5% of women agree with this one, so guys should generally figure this kind of behavior is not going to make them popular with the gals. (No men's responses received.)

WHO'S 'ATTRACTIVE'?

Men and women differ somewhat on whether they would date someone they did not find physically attractive. While 59% of the women would date the person, just 46% of the men said they would. Nevertheless, given many women's assumption that men "only" date "attractive" women, the fact that 46% of men say they would date someone they didn't find physically attractive should give heart to lots of gals.

Would you be interested in a relationship with someone who had their kids living with them? Four percent of the men and 20% of the women were undecided. But 40% of the women and 47% of the men said yes, with an equal percentage saying no.

What is most important to you in physical attraction? Personality was tops with 80% of the women, chemistry/vibes was most important to 20%; no women chose appearance. For the men, however, 21% chose appearance, 36% picked personality, and 43% said chemistry/vibes.

Would you prefer to date a smoker, a nonsmoker, or no preference? The women were split 50/50 between smokers and nonsmokers. While 10% of the men said they had no preference, the other 90% preferred a nonsmoker.

If the stereotype is that men are mostly interested in looks, the comparable assumption is that women are mostly interested in money. Generally in a relationship it's important that the man have the higher salary. 36% of the women strongly agree, compared to just 7% of the men. 33% of the men and 18% of the women agree. (So 40% of men and 54% of women agree or strongly agree.) While 7% of the men were undecided, none of the women were. But 36% of the women and 40% of the men said salary doesn't matter. And 13% of men and 9% of women disagreed that the man should have the higher salary. (No one "strongly disagreed.)

And how important is it that the man be taller than the woman in a relationship? While 11% of men and 10% of women said this was very important, and 20% of women and 22% of men said important, 30% of women and 44% of men were neutral on the subject. 10% of men and no women gave it a moderately unimportant, while 22% of women and 30% of men rated the man's height very unimportant.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER

How many days a week would you spend together in your ideal relationship? Time could be a big issue in a relationship, not so much because of differences between the sexes as the differences within the sexes, depending on who got matched with who. While 50% of both men and women said their ideal time together would be 7 days a week, 15% of women said 6 days, and 10% said 5 days. Four days was the choice for 20% of the men and 10% of the women and three days was best for 30% of the men and 10% of the women. The final 10% of women would prefer a relationship of two days a week.

By the way, if you go with averages, men and women would seem a fairly close match: women's preference averages 5.7 days a week, compared to men's 5.2. But if a two-days-a-week lady matches up with one of the seven-days-a-week guys, things aren't likely to go smoothly, no matter what the averages indicate.

Arizona has implemented "covenant marriages," where it is more difficult to divorce. If you were to marry in Arizona, would you choose the convenant marriage option? While 29% of the men said yes to convenant marriage, two-third said no, and about 5% were undecided. (Unfortunately, no one turned in the women's response.)