What do Singapore women really want?

Rahimah Rashith
Rahimah Rashith
Violet Lim, chief executive of Lunch Actually releases the results of a regional dating survey at a media conference on Thursday. (Photo by Lunch Actually Group)

You heard before, you’ll probably hear it again -- women are complicated.

A recent regional survey conducted by Singapore-based dating agency, Lunch Actually revealed that character and confidence are the factors that instantly attract women to men.

“In fact, there has been no change of this instant appeal of character and confidence in the past four years”, said Violet Lim, chief executive of Lunch Actually, at a media conference on Thursday.

A total of 1,900 people in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia were asked a series of dating questions in the biennial survey. Of those questioned, 788 were in Singapore. 

Men in Singapore were brutally honest. For 28 per cent of them, a pretty face first attracts their attention, mostly. Being gentle and non-aggressive was appealing to 17 per cent of men surveyed.

For women, however, character and confidence was their instant magnet at 27 per cent, though other survey questions reveal that some men may be struck off the list if they don’t meet other requirements.

The painful truth

Digging deeper into the Singapore stats reveals that while “character and confidence” in men was the biggest draw, 46 per cent of local women polled admitted they would not date men who earned less than them.  Only 21 per cent of women were open to dating a man with a lower income. The rest were undecided.

Men however were more open to dating women who earned more --  78 per cent of the men surveyed said they would give it a chance.

While 80 per cent of Singapore men surveyed were adventurous enough to date women with a higher educational level, their counterparts were less willing to date men who were less educated than them.

Only 29 per cent of Singapore women agreed to dating men regardless of their lower education level.

Love apparently also cannot take off if the men are shorter. 67 per cent of the women admitted that they would not date a shorter man.  When asked, 43 per cent of the men said they were confident enough to date a taller woman.

Rise of e-stalking

While it's questionable if Facebook stalking can expose a person’s “character and confidence”, it sure can show you what someone looks like.

E-stalking has been on the rise with the infiltration of social media enabled smartphones in our back pockets and hand bags at all times. Over 70 per cent of Singaporeans surveyed admitted tracking the digital footprint of their potential dates.

Most of the detective work happens on Facebook, with 36 per cent of the women and 33 per cent of the men admitting to combing through Facebook profiles of potential dates.

“What is interesting is whilst many are e-stalking their potential dates, many are not conscious that they are also being e-stalked as well,” said Lim. “It is quite common and we are generally quite curious, but sometimes we tend to be very quick to judge.”

People have also been increasingly using online dating to find love.  Survey results showed that 51 per cent of those surveyed in Singapore already use various dating websites such as eSynchrony, one of the online dating services provided under Lunch Actually Group.

Tech savvy but traditional

Though men and women embrace technology to spice up their dating routine, both still go back to basics when it comes to paying for the first date. A unanimous 87 per cent of Singapore men surveyed -- the highest percentage in all three Asian countries surveyed -- believed that they should pay for the first date.  At 75 per cent, most of the Singapore women also thought that men should foot the bill for their first date.

Singaporeans are also less likely to date someone from another racial group. A minority 37 per cent of the women and 33 per cent of the men are open to inter-racial dating. They were more willing to date someone from another country or nationality though with 63 per cent and 68 percent of the women and men saying yes to cross-border love respectively.

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