By Charly LesterFebruary 18 2015
In my new role as Time Out’s Head of Dating, I’ll be writing a regular blog each Wednesday – statistically, the best day of the week for a date – about the ins and outs of looking for lurve. And what better subject to start with than Time Out’s own global dating survey? Completed by over 11,000 people in 24 cities around the world, the answers provide an interesting, and at times surprising, overview of single life in 2015. Here are the findings that surprised me most.
SHOCK 1: New York isn’t the dating mecca we expected
For me, the most unexpected responses were from New York. Growing up, I always assumed it was the place to go for dating – that everyone played the field, and saw the experience as a fun, but necessary, rite of passage. But the answers from New York suggest anything but.
New Yorkers were the least happy with their single status, rather sadly earning the city the title ‘most desperate’, and daters were also quite conservative about the number of people they see at one time. Interestingly, Hong Kong men beat New Yorkers as the biggest global players! It just goes to show how much dating has changed around the world since the Sex and the City era.
SHOCK 2: Men are more willing to commit than they get credit for
I also found the differences between male and female responses really interesting. Whilst some stereotypes rang true – for example men in every city accept the idea of sex in a relationship more quickly than women – other preconceptions were clearly outdated.
When it came to commitment, men were definitely keener than women. The average man is ready to stop seeing other people after just five dates, and to become ‘official’ after eight, while the average female takes six dates to become exclusive, and 10 dates to formalise the relationship.
SHOCK 3: We all judge others far too quickly
41% of people say they know within just three minutes whether or not there will be a second date. In a world of Tinder, it’s no big surprise that people make superficial decisions, and that first impressions matter. But it’s worth taking a step back, and remembering your first impressions of your friends. How many of those impressions align with the person you now know?
It was also interesting to see that almost everyone rates their dates as less attractive than themselves! On average, respondents rated themselves 7.3 out of ten, and their average date just 6.5.
SHOCK 4: We kiss people we don’t want to date
Despite being so quick to judge their dates, daters in 2015 are far keener to end things with a kiss than with an awkward goodbye. While respondents admitted that only 40% of first dates end in a second one, they also said 53% of their dates end in a kiss. Which means at least a quarter of first date kisses happen out of sheer politeness!
SHOCK 5: Where you live does affect the way you date
The overwhelming message from the survey though, was that location does really affect the way you date, and that each city has its own take on what’s good, bad and just plain ugly.
Daters in American cities were far less happy with their single status than singles anywhere else in the world, and Parisians were the only ones still meeting more people in the real world than they do online.
Suggesting sex on a second date was an overwhelming norm in Paris, and yet in Kuala Lumpur daters take three times as long to bump uglies. All over the world, daters had very set ideas about the types of people not to date, answers which varied from bartenders in Chicago, to toll booth operators in Hong Kong, and actors in LA.
But wherever you are in the world, and whatever your relationship status, one thing is clear. If things aren’t working out for you – er, just move city…
See more from our global dating survey.