The Dating Games: Match.com’s Dating Olympics

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eHarmony did it, and now it's Match.com's turn to take on the Olympics. Inspired by the global games, Match conducted an international challenge of its own to see how singles from around the world stack up. Match surveyed over 3,000 singles from six countries - the US, the UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Canada - to learn more about each nation's unique take on the dating game.

Some countries, despite being separated by thousands of miles and massive bodies of water, proved to be remarkably similar in their dating habits. Other results revealed stark differences in cultural dating norms. Here's a look at the podium lineup:

  • The gold medal for most dates was awarded to the United States. 77% of American singles reported going on two or more dates in the past year, followed by Canada (71%) and the UK (67%). Australia came in last place, with 46%. Better luck at the next games, Australia!
  • The US also scored highly in the "Boldest Women" category, but Canadian ladies ultimately took the gold. 63% of Canadian women and 62% of American women reported taking the lead and asking men out on dates.
  • The gold for "Independent Thinking" went to France, where 74% of French singles said that their friends' opinions don't factor into their dating choices. In second place, after a wide gap, was Japan at 47%. North America came in at the opposite end of the spectrum, with 70% of Americans and 68% of Canadians reporting that friends' opinions are very important when it comes to choosing a mate.
  • The award for most egalitarian went to the UK, at least when it comes to finances. The majority of women in the UK (52%) said they offer to split the check 50/50 on alternating dates, far more than women in any other country. The ladies most averse to picking up the tab reside in France, where 27% of respondents said they would never pick up the check while on a date (they were followed by Australians at 20% and Americans at 17%).
  • Australia took home the gold for most PDA-friendly nation, where 22% of survey participants said the more PDA, the better. Other nations may be more reticent, but all expressed approval of low-key PDA, like hand-holding.
  • The French continued their winning privacy streak by earning the gold for "Least Likely To Kiss And Tell." 35% of French singles said they prefer not to share the details of their dates with friends, while a whopping 92% of US singles said they'd be happy to spill the beans to their friends.
  • Japan brought home the top awards for love and commitment. 82% said they believe in love at first sight, compared to more skeptical nations like the UK, where 58% reported believing in the phenomenon. Japanese singles are also the most likely to shack up after less than a year of dating (59%), with the US (34%) and Canada (31%) picking up the rear.

And who was victorious in the most competitive event of all? The gold for "Hottest Singles In The World" went to...everyone. Participants from every country surveyed overwhelmingly voted their own singles into the top spot.

To find out more about the service which brought you this survey you can check out our review of Match.com

MissTravel.com On ABC 20/20

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A lot of travel stories are about bad in-flight meals, sub-par hostel accommodations, and confusing cultural mix ups. But this travel story is about a couple who joined MissTravel.com, met for the first time in Cabo San Lucas, and fell in love.

Their story was featured on ABC 20/20's "Vacation Confidential" segment, alongside an interview with the site's founder and CEO, Brandon Wade. ABC is the first to document one of "the newest and wackiest vacation trends" via a reality travel dating show that isn't too far off from its travel-and-romance hits "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette."

MissTravel.com claims to be the first online dating site to blend travel with romance, by bringing together generous singles looking for travel companions with attractive singles who cannot afford to travel alone. The idea is proving to be a popular one: more than 100,000 members have joined and over 50,000 trips have been planned in the 3 months the site has been live.

MissTravel.com has stirred up its share of controversy with critics who have compared it to a travel escort agency, but Brandon Wade is on the defensive. "Most people are uncomfortable with the idea of taking any kind of risk," he said during his interview with ABC, "so they choose to look at all the things that could go wrong with MissTravel.com, meanwhile ignoring all its potential for greatness."

Sibel and Steven, the couple featured in the segment, are bound to agree. Sibel is a 27-year-old from New York who signed up for MissTravel.com with minimal expectations. Shortly after joining, she received a message for Steven, a 31-year-old financial planner from San Diego who was looking for company on his upcoming trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Sibel says she found the idea of joining a man she'd never met on a trip abroad daunting, but decided to give it a go after days of talks on Skype and over the phone. They met for the first time at Villa Marcella, a beachside mansion Steven rented out for a whopping $2500 a night. It was a weekend full of indulgences - dips in the Jacuzzi, fine dining, a private yacht, snorkeling, horseback riding, massages - and when it came to a close, Sibel and Steven kissed each other goodbye and returned to their homes.

A few weeks later, Steve traveled to New York to visit Sibel, and a few weeks after that, she traveled to San Diego to spend a weekend with him. The first success story of MissTravel.com is still being written: Sibel and Steve found what they were looking for on MissTravel.com, and the couple is still dating.

The Olympic Games, eHarmony Style

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The summer Olympics are finally here and in honor of the worldwide event, eHarmony has put together a few games of its own. To capture the spirit of the 2012 London games, eHarmony surveyed 2,012 men and women to find out exactly what games are being played in American love lives. The results of the Dating Games 2012 can be found in infographic form here, and here's the condensed version:

  • Rules are made to be broken, and the 3-Day Rule is now a thing of the past. 71% of men and 73% of women say that waiting three days before returning a phone call or following up after a date is "ridiculous."
  • That being said, playing hard to get is still in style, and women aren't the only ones who do it. 41% admit to intentionally being coy to maintain the mystery and up the attraction ante.
  • Pickup lines get a bad rap (and yeah...a lot of them are terrible), but 44% of women say they actually like pickup lines. As long as you stay away from the especially bad ones, they might give your love life a surprising boost.
  • Remember when looking up your date online was considered taboo? It's now becoming the norm. Nearly half of men and women admit to Googling dates before meeting up for the first time. Performing an amateur background check when meeting someone online isn't a bad idea, but be careful not to go overboard. If you don't save some of the getting-to-know-you process for the actual dates, you won't have anything to talk about!
  • These days people text so much that I've started to wonder why mobile phones still make phone calls at all, but apparently I've underestimated daters' love of the phone chat. Over 75% of men and women say they prefer a phone conversation to a text message.
  • Speaking of rules that are meant to be broken, The Rules are also meant to be broken. Faking popularity by appearing to be busy when you really aren't is no longer the popular thing to do. 89% of men and 77% of women say they would be happy to go on a same-day, last-minute date if they were available. In other words: no more pretending to have a date when they only date you actually have is with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, your sofa, and the latest episode of The Bachelorette.

Let the (dating) games commence!

To find out more about this popular dating site you can read our eHarmony review.

You’ve Heard Of Groupon – Now Meet Grouper

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Online dating has been a thing for a long time now, so I guess it's about time someone invented online group dating. After all, the double (or more!) date is a well-respected dating institution, and it deserves a virtual version just as much as one-on-one dating does.

Grouper brings together matchmaking, blind dating, and networking for a unique new experience that pairs two friend groups based on their Facebook profiles and their answers to a short survey. That all sounds pretty standard, but here's where it gets a little different: Grouper users never exchange emails or chat using an instant messenger. In fact, they don't interact virtually at all.

Here's how it works: 3 friends pay the $20-per-person registry fee, answer all required questions and emails, then meet at the assigned date, time, and bar. The meet and greet then occurs over a round of complimentary beverages (but drinkers take note: the "complimentary" thing only applies to well drinks and beers).

Michael Waxman, CEO and Founder of Grouper, came up with the idea for the "social experiment" and coded the website on a whim. A week later he launched his new venture from NYC, convinced that group dating "would be way better than a dating site."

But there were still plenty of questions for Waxman and the rest of the Grouper crew. Would people actually be willing to meet in person without ever contacting each other? No emails, phone calls, Skype calls, texts, chats, tweets, Facebook messages, carrier pigeons, or other communication of any kind...would any singles actually be brave enough to give it a shot?

The answer, it turns out, is yes. The site sparked interest right away, and thousands of Grouper meet-ups have been conducted since the first, in which Waxman set up two friends on a blind date. One couple, who met during the sixth Grouper, are still dating. Grouper even sent them a gift for their one-year anniversary.

Waxman believes the success of the Grouper model lies in its low-key atmosphere. “We’re not fond of labels, and we think that a lot of people nowadays want to meet more casually, more organically,” he says. “We find that by not throwing it in a bucket of ‘this is networking,’ ‘this is dating,’ ‘this is whatever,’ people just show up more open-minded and have a better time.”

How Dirty Laundry Could Help You Find Love

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Now there's a headline I never thought I'd write...

Nobody likes dirty laundry. We all wish our mothers would still do our laundry for us. In fact, some of our mothers may actually still be doing laundry for us.

But now you may want to give Mom a break, because a new event is in town that promises to use your dirty laundry to find the love of your life. The Pheromone Party is a gathering of adventurous singles who spend an evening sniffing t-shirts and letting their noses lead them to the perfect mate. Sure, it sounds a little crazy, but so did online dating when it first came out.

Judith Prays created The Pheromone Party to capitalize on nature's most basic instincts. Why put the emphasis on attractive features, dancing skills, and witty conversation when you could date based on primal attraction switches? Cut out the middle man!

To score an invite to the get-together, interested singles must apply by sending a picture...of their armpit. Then participants wear a t-shirt to bed for three days in a row, without using deodorant or perfume. On the evening of the party, each shirt is placed in a Ziploc bag, assigned a number, and color-coded by gender.

Most parties involve drinks, dancing, and dj-ing, but at a Pheromone Party guests spend the evening sniffing each other's 3-day-old shirts and mulling over the scents like sommeliers tasting a new vintage. Instead of "oakey," "crisp," and "tannic," however, Pheromone Party attendees use descriptions like "hint of onion" and "strange scent of Play-Doh."

When a particular scent tickles their fancy, a photographer snaps the sniffer holding up the shirt in question and the photo is projected on a wall. If you spot your shirt on the wall, it's a clear invitation to introduce yourself to the lucky lad or lass who found your odor so appealing.

Yeah, it all sounds a little insane, but there might be some actual science to back it up. Genetic researchers have found that humans use scent to weed out genetic combinations that could result in weaker offspring, so it stands to reason that scent could also be used to pick out partners who are ideal genetic matches.

So far the parties are only held in New York and Los Angeles, but if success is anything to go by, they may be expanding soon. Judith Prays says that 12 of the 40 people invited to the first party hooked up, and that half of those hook ups turned into long-term relationships

Forget about following your heart. Now it's time to follow your nose.

Using Facial Software To Find Your Mate

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Remember that lesson you learned about not judging a book by its cover? Throw it out the window. The latest dating site to join the fray is all about appearances.

The site in question is FindYourFaceMate.com, a new dating service that's set to launch on July 10. Researchers studying attraction have found that facial features play an integral role in mate selection. When someone has features similar to your own, you are naturally inclined to trust them. And we all know trust is the foundation of any good relationship, right?

The idea of “facially compatible” partners isn’t a new one, though this may be the first time it’s been used so consciously. Think of all the times you’ve seen a cute couple and thought “Wow, they look so alike!” That’s the science of attraction at work.

Kerri Johnson, an assistant psychology professor at UCLA, explains that "There is evidence that general liking improves when people look like you." In romantic relationships, compatible partners tend to be of a similar level of attractiveness.

"Across dimensions, people who are similar tend to be attracted to each other," Johnson says. "'Birds of a feather flock together' characterizes most aspects of interpersonal attraction," and “There's a long-standing pattern where a person's own level of attractiveness is matched in their partner.”

Face.com is the service behind the magic of Find Your FaceMate. The Israeli company has provided Face.com technology to Facebook for nearly two years, in the form of the tag suggestion tool which helps users identify their friends in photographs, and was recently acquired by Facebook.

The same technology will be used by Find Your FaceMate. The service examines 63 points of interest on the human face to determine whether the same person is featured in multiple photos. The software examines each of the facial features and compares them with other faces in an attempt to make a positive identification. On Facebook, it’s used to recognize the same person. On Find Your FaceMate, it will be used to find singles with similar features who could be potential dates.

But the face isn’t everything, so I guess what your parents taught you about judging books is true after all. “In the beginning, it’s the face,” says Christina Bloom, founder of Find Your FaceMate. “But there are other things at play. Do you have the same values? It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a successful relationship.”