Is lack of savoir faire – or simply bad behaviour – crushing the romantic hopes of British singles?
What’s the worst thing you’ve done on a first date? Turned up late? Talked about your ex? Brought a friend or your mother along? Well, according to a new survey you wouldn’t be alone. At least one in three first dates ends in disaster as a consequence of a dating faux pas – or even plain bad manners.
Eight million singles in the UK are looking for love, and they’ll go on a staggering 18 million first dates this year – but at least six million of those will end in disaster, and even fewer will lead to something special. And it seems it could be simply bad dating manners that are nipping hopes of romance in the bud.
Of the 1,300 singles polled by online dating firm PARSHIP.co.uk, the UK arm of Europe’s largest premium online matchmaker, which pioneered the use of a scientific compatibility test in Europe to match potential couples: 40% admitted to turning up late for a first date – or not showing at all; 28% talked about their ex and past sexual experiences, 14% confessed to over-indulging in alcohol, and 6% said they’d been chaperoned by a friend, their mother -- or even a pet.
Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and PARSHIP’s dating exert, commented
“For some, a first date can be more like negotiating through a minefield. People can feel under an enormous amount of pressure to make a good impression on a date. Dating faux pas can be put down to several factors, including bad manners, nerves, inexperience or lack of compatibility. Action can be taken to improve bad manners or to calm nerves. On the other hand, if two people have little in common or their personalities clash, it's never going to be a match made in heaven -- but there's still no harm in behaving in a dignified manner."
Unlike other dating websites, PARSHIP.co.uk has been created to take the pot luck out of first dates. It matches its members by means of a scientific personality test, rather than leaving them to judge each other purely on self-descriptions and photographs. This ensures that PARSHIP members who meet on a first date are more likely to feel at ease which each other, which is a pre-requisite for a successful long-term relationship.”
Top 10 bad dating behaviour
1. Entrances & Exits. On average, 30% of men and 48% of women admitted to turning up late for a first date, with one in ten women keeping the man waiting for 30 minutes or more, However, 12% of women and 6% of men admitted to taking advantage of their date’s absence at the bar or in the loo, and leaving without saying goodbye. Some dates never even got that far: a total of 5% of men and women said they had turned up to a date, not liked what they saw and then made a speedy exit.
2. The Ex. Most people know they shouldn’t talk about their ex on a first date, but for one in five men and women (27%) the urge has proved too great. In a similar vein, 12% of men and 6% of women admitted to talking about previous sexual experiences.
3. Drinking. A more disturbing set of statistics: 11% of men and 14% of women say they’ve drunk so much alcohol on a first date that they’ve felt they weren't fully in control of themselves. 25% of men and 20% of women say they’ve drunk 9 units or more on a date. (The recommended weekly maximum intake is 21 units for men and 14 for women, with a two day break.)
4. Yours or mine? 30% of men and 20% of women admitted to going home with their date, with one in four men (26%) and one in five women (20%) claiming it led to sex.
5. The Bill. Credit-crunched Brits are now more likely to keep their hands firmly in their pockets, particularly if the date isn’t going well. One in four women (19%) and 4% of men say they’ve purposely not offered to contribute financially towards the evening, leaving it to their date to pick up the bill.
6. Lies and more lies. 8% of singles say they’ve lied about their age on a first date; 6% pretend that they’re not dating other people, 4% lie about their job and salary, 3% that they still live with their parents – and 2% have conveniently forgotten that they’re not in fact single.
7. What’s in a name? 10% of men and 3% of women say they’ve even forgotten their date’s name.
8. Three’s company. 5% of women and 3% of men say they’ve been chaperoned by a friend or even their mother – on a first date. 1% thought it acceptable to bring a pet, maybe named Gooseberry.
9. Arguments. With all these bad manners going on, maybe it’s surprising that just 3% of singles say they’ve (further) spoiled the evening by arguing.
10. Text, please! 4% of women and 2% of men say they’ve called or texted another potential date in the course of a first date.
Dr Victoria Lukats, continued
“Safety on a first date, especially if it's a blind date, cannot be over-emphasised. It's really concerning that 14% of women surveyed admitted to drinking so much on a first date that they felt out of control. Drinking this much puts women in a vulnerable position and it means they're taking unnecessary risks.”
"When it comes to manners and first dates, it's quite staggering to see the proportion of people in the survey who had disappeared during a date or who stood their date up before even saying hello. If a woman feels her safety may be at risk during a date, this is an entirely different matter all together. But generally, if it's just down to personal taste and preference, it really does break all the rules of social etiquette -- let alone dating etiquette -- to abandon your date during a trip to the toilets. Whatever happened to treating other people how you would want to be treated yourself?"
Blondes may have more fun, but are they better on a date?
Call it a cliché, but blondes are 25% more likely to misbehave on a first date than their brunette sisters. In fact, blondes are the most likely of anyone to have reminisced about an ex (32%), drunk enough alcohol to impair their judgement (19%), to go home with their date (23%) or even forget their date’s name (6%).
Men behaving badly
Men from the North are the most likely to pretend they’re single when they’re in fact in a relationship: one in ten admitted to having pretended to be single. Londoners, however, have a time management problem – 55% of the capital’s males had turned up late for a date, and 20% had kept a lady waiting for more than 30 minutes. It seems follically challenged men are the most likely to suggest a late night drink back at their place: four in ten bald men say they’ve had sex on a first date, compared to just 20% of redheads, so perhaps all that excess testosterone is paying off.
- ENDS –
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PARSHIP.com, the largest premium online matchmaking service in the UK, is specifically for people who are serious about forming a lasting relationship and is built on a rigorous personality profiling test that determines compatibility. It is the British subsidiary of Europe’s most successful serious online dating service, now with millions of members, predominantly affluent, educated men and women between 28 and 55 years old.
Since its launch in 2001, PARSHIP has successfully matched tens of thousands of couples, and it now operates in 14 countries of Western Europe and also in Mexico
PARSHIP GmbH is headquartered in Hamburg and is 87%-owned by Holtzbrinck networXs AG, part of the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group, one of Germany’s largest publishing companies with financial interests in more than 80 companies, including the Macmillan Group.
About the PARSHIP Survey
To establish the faux pas made by singles on first dates, PARSHIP surveyed a random sample of 1,300 members in May 2009. The respondents were aged between 18 and 70, split equally between male and female, and based in the UK
About Dr Victoria Lukats, MBBS MRCPsych MSc
As well as working as a dating expert for PARSHIP, Dr Victoria Lukats is a specialist registrar within the NHS. She graduated with a medicine degree from King's College London in 1998, is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has a Masters Degree in Mental health from King's College London. In addition, she writes an agony aunt column on relationships and dating for a national newspaper and is a spokesperson for Psychologies magazine. Dr Lukats is regularly asked to comment and provide advice on large range of relationship topics in the media and her expert opinion often draws on her medical background and therefore combines both science and psychology to provide clarity and greater understanding to the audience.
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